Warming Drinks: When it’s cold, a warm mug in your hands feels good, but make sure what’s in that mug will make you feel good inside too!
This time of your body just yearns for a warm drink in hand. Going for an herbal tea is always a safe and comforting option, but sometimes you want or desire a little more whether it’s something sweet, stimulating, more filling, or just overall flavorful.
With coffee shops flourishing on every corner of the city it’s hard not to want to grab an indulgent warm infusion. However, be cautious as that great pick-me-up could be lurking with excess calories and other ingredients that are not so great at really picking you up.
Let’s look at four very common warm drink this time of year: Coffee, Chai Tea, Apple Cider and Hot Chocolate. How can we make better choices while still enjoying our favorite beverages?
What to watch out for:
Caffeine – the caffeine in coffee and black tea can contribute to unwanted stress. Excess caffeine throughout the day acts as a diuretic, which can lead to dehydration and overall fluid loss.
Making a better choice:
Not all coffee beans are the same. Make sure you are getting high quality, organic, fair trade or alkaline sources of coffee.
Instead of having 2–3 cups of coffee a day, try for one. Instead of adding cream, sugar, or milk – opt for it black only. Or gradually make the transition to green tea. You can also use Dandy Blend, which is a natural coffee alternative, for those looking to come off of coffee completely. It is from dandelion root, is very grounding, and tastes just like coffee without the jitters!
What to watch out for:
Sugar and concentrates – these are found in hot chocolate, apple cider, and chai tea. Unfortunately most coffee shops offer these drinks to you in the form of a powder or syrup, which are loaded with refined sugars and other preservatives. So if you think you are getting something pure, think again. Also note that most apple ciders are pasteurized, which means it is robbed of all its nutrients like vitamin C.
Making a better choice:
Buy fresh-pressed apple cider at your local farmers market. Brew it up at home and carry it around in your reusable mug. Add a stick of cinnamon for some extra spice.
For hot chocolate get your hands on some pure cacao and stir it up with some rice or almond milk. Add a drop of honey, and you will have the best hot chocolate in town.
Pure cacao is full of magnesium, calcium, and antioxidants.
To take your hot chocolate to the next level, try adding in superherbs like chaga, or reishi, which are healing medicinal mushrooms that have superior immune benefits. This is something you definitely want to consider in the fall. In addition, superfoods like maca or mesquite can also add a unique flavor to your blend.
Otherwise you can opt for spices such as cinnamon, turmeric, ginger or nutmeg to give your beverage a warming and nourishing boost.
The ultimate choice is to, of course, make your own warming beverage at home. I like to call the art of making homemade brews with lots of quality ingredients elixirs.
These are medicinal healing beverages that not only warm you, but also nourish you from the inside out. You can use any variation of herbs, spices, and superfoods along with healthy fats from coconut oil, cashews, or almonds. All of these can help to almost make your drink into a mini meal.
Here are two warming beverage recipes to get you started at home. These are easy enough to make, and once you brew these up, you are going to want them over and over. Just think of how much money you will save from not going to the coffee shop and how good you will start to feel using real ingredients!
Cozy Chai Latte
Homemade chai tea with a base of rooibos (African red tea) instead of black tea is an amazing alternative loaded with antioxidants and is also caffeine free!
- 1 cup pure water
- 1 cup rice or almond milk
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 4 pieces of cloves
- 1/3 inch fresh ginger root, sliced
- 1/3 teaspoon whole fennel seeds
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon whole cardamom seeds
- 2 teaspoons rooibos tea
- Honey or maple syrup to sweeten
Simmer all spices in 1 cup of pure water in a covered pot for 30 minutes.
Add the rooibos tea and milk and bring to a rolling boil.
Reduce the heat and simmer for additional 5 minutes.
Remove from heat, cool slightly to comfortable drinking temperature and serve with a sweetener of your choice or as is.
Upgraded Hot Chocolate Elixir
- 1–2 cups warm herbal tea of choice (chaga or rooibos)
- 1–2 tablespoons cacao powder
- 1 tablespoon chocolate Sunwarrior Protein (Blend or Classic)
- 1 tablespoon dandy blend (coffee alternative) optional
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon maca powder
- 1 tablespoon honey or coconut nectar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1–2 tablespoon cashews
Place all ingredients in a high speed blender for up to a minute or until thick, creamy and smooth. Serve in a big mug and enjoy!