I cannot function these days without caffeine. I run two businesses, have a crazy-busy toddler, and am a certified (and sometimes certifiable) insomniac. Caffeine is necessary. But it doesn’t have to be evil. Coffee gets a bad rap. It actually boasts some very notable health properties, such as protecting against Parkinson’s disease, Type 2 diabetes, and liver cancer. The problem for me is that, although I LOVE coffee, coffee doesn’t love me! So much so that I was forced to give it up 14 long and fatigue-filled years ago. I still miss it…the smell of freshly-roasted beans, that first bitter-rich sip….(especially in the “wee small hours, when the whole wide world is fast asleep,” except for me…but I digress.)
Rather than crying over steamed milk, I decided to treat my taste buds to the tantalizing world of tea. And there are so many varieties to choose from. Black teas, white teas, green teas, rice teas, pu’erhs, herbals (although let’s face it…unless there’s caffeine in it, I’m not buying). The list goes on and on. And the health benefits for regular tea drinkers are nothing to sniff at: lower cancer rates, reduced cholesterol, and fewer heart attacks. Sold.
Now, I would never encourage ANYONE to give up the decadence of coffee unless they absolutely must; however, if you’ve been trying to cut down, or would like to diversify your beverage options, here are two of my favourite tea recipes to try. A perfect way to take the chill out of your day.
1 1/2 teaspoons (or bag) good chai tea
1/8 cup rice/coconut/almond/cow milk
1 teaspoon agave nectar
pinch of cinnamon
Bring both water and milk to a boil, in separate vessels. Combine over tea, adding agave and cinnamon. Let steep, covered for 5 minutes. Enjoy in a pretty bowl or mug.
1 1/2 teaspoons (or bag) good green tea
1 teaspoon freshly pressed ginger
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon farm-fresh honey
Bring water to a boil and pour over all ingredients in a small teapot. Let steep 5-8 minutes. Enjoy in a Japanese tea cup or mason jar, wrapped in cloth napkin.