As I sit on the deck of a log cabin in Blue Ridge, Georgia, with bright yellow and orange leaves falling around me, I am craving a hot mug of anything. Being an avid tea drinker, I have started to expand my choices this winter to include drinks that are more beneficial to my health. I have been on a cleanse for three weeks and haven’t had sugar or honey. This has limited my tea time to herbal teas, mostly.
Herbal tea doesn’t have to be boring. There is no need to just dip a tea bag in hot water. Get creative with blends, frothing milk, and natural sweeteners to make tea time an experience. I researched a few hot, delicious, creamy drinks and I’m excited to share them with you. Try out some of the recipes below to add to your repertoire of warming drinks this winter season.
Golden Milk is a winter favorite of mine. Drink your medicine with this delicious, creamy blend of spices and warm milk. The benefits are plentiful and include: reducing inflammation, lowering the risk of heart disease, boosting immunity, improving mood, lowering blood sugar levels, and improving cell damage.
I mix turmeric, cardamom, and cinnamon. After I steam my milk, I add one teaspoon and mix very well. I then add maple syrup for some bold sweetness. When you are not having sugars, try coconut sugar. You can store these powdered herbs together in a mason jar for ease or prepare one cup at a time. Experiment with your favorite herbs and amounts to come up with what’s best for you.
Herbal Tea Latte
If you are living caffeine-free as a temporary health goal or a forever way of life, you can enjoy a creamy, hot tea latte that will inspire the feeling of a cup of caffeine without the guilt. The addition of steamed milk will add extra protein and will fill you up. Experiment with different milk varieties even if you are a dairy fan. Oat and coconut milk (from a carton) do not whip up as well as almond and dairy milk. So if you enjoy a thick foamy milk topping, choose wisely. Unsweetened milk can benefit from a touch of sweetness. Choose your favorite sweetener to add to your tea latte.
Meditative State of Mind contains moringa and is delicious!Moringa leaves contain anti-inflammatory properties and can decrease fat formation in the body, as well as improving fat breakdown. This tea is delicious and refreshing and it will also help to relax you before bed as it is infused with chamomile and lavender. Know Your Gut, Trust Your Gut will help with bloating, and when you have eaten too much. Drink this tea as a digestive aid after meals and before bed. It contains red clover blossom, comfrey, dandelion, and cornflower petal.
Chai is perhaps the most popular tea latte in all the world. Depending on where you consume this creamy, sweet, hot beverage, the flavor will differ. Most Americans are used to the sugary sweet chai that comes in a premade cartons at coffee shops. If you have never had homemade chai with fresh tea and spices, you are in for a treat. Adding steamed milk and a sweetener will give you a similar taste as a premade chai. For a caffeine-free chai, steam milk and add cloves, ginger, cardamom, and cinnamon. Maple syrup is a delicious choice for chai with its bold flavor. Chai tea bags come in several varieties. Some include black pepper for more spice. Tumeric is a great addition to chai and will add more warmth to your drink, as well as immune-boosting and anti-inflammation benefits.
Depending on where you order this hot alcoholic beverage, you will get something different each time. It is an easy drink to make and is sure to be a hit during the holidays if you live in a cold climate. I’ve had this drink with a black tea bag and without tea altogether. Experiment with herbal teas to avoid caffeine and add some health benefits. Know Your Gut, Trust Your Gut is a wonderful choice for this after-dinner drink.
Hot Toddy Recipe (simple)
- 1 oz bourbon
- 1 Tbsp honey
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- ¼ cup boiling water
Stir together bourbon, honey, and lemon juice in a mug and add boiling water. *Alternative recipe: Prepare Know Your Gut, Trust Your Gut tea and strain after steeping for 5-10 minutes. If it’s cold, warm on the stove and add to your hot toddy instead of water.
Spicy Hot Chocolate
Rev up your hot cocoa this season by adding more spice to this classic warm drink. Mayan hot chocolate includes cinnamon and cayenne. Some spicy hot chocolate recipes contain vanilla and chili powder. Try out different recipes to find your favorites. Cinnamon is warming and is a way to add a kick to hot cocoa for those who do not enjoy too much spice.
Mexican Hot Chocolate Recipe (simple)
- One packet of sweetened hot cocoa mix
- One cup of milk of choice
- One teaspoon ground cinnamon
- One pinch of cayenne pepper
Mix all spices with hot cocoa and place it in a mug.
Heat milk on the stove or in the microwave.
Pour over spices and mix well
Mexican Hot Cocoa from scratch – serves four
- Four cups milk
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- ¼ cup sugar – white, raw, or coconut sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ¾ tsp cayenne powder
Heat one cup of milk on the stove. Add all spices and sugar and combine well. Add the remaining three cups of milk to the pot and heat until the desired temperature. Serve in mugs and enjoy.
Cow’s milk is still a valid choice for tea and coffee lattes. Choose from organic, 1%, 2%, and full-fat varieties. You can also purchase unpasteurized milk from local farms and farmer’s markets. For the dairy-free lovers and vegans, try:
- Almond milk
- Oat milk
- Coconut milk
- Soy milk
- Cashew milk
- Hemp milk
*If frothing milk to add to a latte, avoid coconut milk from a carton and oat milk as they do not form foam very well.
Sweetener choices are endless these days. You can choose from raw organic sugar, local honey, pure maple syrup, agave syrup, stevia, several artificial sweeteners, basic white sugar, and coconut sugar. There are also many flavors of syrups to add to tea. Make your own or buy from specialty shops. We all know too much sugar is not a healthy lifestyle choice. Diets high in sugar can contribute to heart disease, type 2 diabetes, fatty liver, and obesity. However, in moderation, most people can tolerate sugar in small doses. Experimenting with healthy sugar alternatives can give you more options when you want to live as clean as possible. Dr. Christiane Northrup shares in Goddesses Never Age that belly fat is generally from sugar consumption. High amounts of sugar can lead to increased cortisol levels, increasing our stress levels, and lowers our ability to handle stress. So, choose your sweets wisely and stop mindless eating your sugar. Savor every bite and make sure it’s worth it!
Warm yourself up with a hot cup of (fill in the blank) tonight!
Anastacia Elizabeth Walden is a writer, editor and the owner of Walden Writes For Women.