As part of my 2017 health goals, I embarked on the journey with Whole 30. It’s a method based on elimination of common culprits of food-related health issues in most people and replacing processed sugars with whole foods. I’ve had the pleasure of doing this with colleagues and friends and am halfway through my second round. It has been inspiring and eye-opening and, lately, my cravings for sugar have been pretty minimal.
But there are times when someone is nibbling or sipping on just the right thing to make me daydream of knocking it out of their hands and into my mouth. And one of those things was my husband’s Starbucks chai concentrate. Oooh, it smelled so good, with it’s cinnamon and pepper and kiss of vanilla! I could not get it out of my mind! And I prefer a sweet, rather than spicy, chai so a tea bag version to which I added my coconut milk was not going to cut it. So I went on a hunting expedition for one that had no added sugar and no dairy. No such luck.
Then I spied this pot of gold high on a shelf. No sweeteners, no milk powder, no artificial anything. As I was holding it, I had a burst of inspiration. What if I used dates as my sweetener, rolled in coconut for a textural treat, and incorporated it with an immersion blender?
The result was orgasmic, which is not too much of an exaggeration. Especially for someone who has not had processed sugar for six weeks. It was decadent and rich and satisfied that gnawing craving handily. And it was splendid hot and cold and those little bits of coconut with each sip were so delicious. Success!
I usually drink about 6 ounces in a given day because, despite it being sweetened with fruit, it’s still sugar and should still be savored in moderation.
This recipe is an approximation of how I make it. One could add more dates for a sweeter chai or less for a spicier one. Or add more chai powder for a bigger kick. The clean-eating world is your oyster! Let me know if you try it! (Recipe to follow)
4 cups dairy, carrageenan and sugar free milk of your choice (my favorite is Califia Farms)
1/3 cup full fat canned coconut milk (optional)
4-5 date logs rolled in coconut
4 heaping spoonfuls (included with tea) chai tea powder
Variation: add 1/2-3/4 cup pumpkin puree for an even more autumnal cup
In a medium pot, combine all the ingredients. Watching closely so it does not over-boil, bring to a boil on medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for about 1 minute. VERY CAREFULLY, use an immersion blender to blend the dates into the milk. If you need to transfer the liquid into a large jar to reduce the risk of splashing hot liquid all over the place, then go ahead and do that. It take probably less than 2 minutes to process the dates but blending longer will not hurt and will thicken it a little (yum!). If you have not already, transfer into your storage container and/or serve! Makes about 4-6 servings, depending on how generous your pours are.