This Anti-Inflammatory Drink Replaced My Afternoon Coffee Habit
If you're anything like me, 3 p.m. is not your favorite hour. By then, the morning vigor has worn off, and the rest of the afternoon seems a little daunting. This is usually around the time when I reach for my second (or third) cup of coffee. Even if I'm not necessarily that tired, I find that having something to sip on is comforting and it breaks up the day.
Lately, I've been looking for other late-afternoon beverages that will have the same rallying effects—without totally ruining my sleep. Enter: this Chai Latte Powder Mix, a spicy-creamy blend that's the perfect fall pick-me-up.
How the mix tastes upon first sip.
Formulated by double board-certified doctor and integrative medicine expert Amy Shah, M.D., the chai powder mix is packed with cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, cloves, and ginger root. These are the seasonal spices that many of us crave once fall rolls around. Warming, punchy, and earthy, they taste like a stroll through crispy leaves on a sunny day.
They also happen to be really good for us. Shah herself sips on these spices daily for their gut-healthy benefits1 and anti-inflammatory effects2. It's no wonder that chai lattes have been a popular functional tonic in Ayurveda for thousands of years, Shah notes. While traditional chai gets its sweet and creamy flavor from milk and sugar, the integrative M.D.'s modern twist uses coconut oil powder, black tea powder, and a hint of stevia for a healthier indulgence that comes together in minutes.
When I plopped my first spoonful into a mug and added hot water (you guessed it, right around 3 p.m.), I was surprised by how deliciously flavorful it was all on its own. I didn't need to supplement with any honey or milk to make a drink that was tasty enough to satisfy afternoon cravings. The mix was spicy, rich, and warming—like a nice hug to carry me through the rest of the afternoon sans sugar or caffeine.
How I plan to make it part of my routine.
Since that first mug, I've experimented with adding the chai mix to a few other drinks to up their health benefits in a tasty way. And here's what I can report: It takes seasonal fall smoothies (like this pumpkin acai treat developed by mbg editor Hannah Frye) over the edge with spicy goodness. And on afternoons when a second coffee is nonnegotiable, the mix makes for the most flavorful dirty chai you've ever tried. I appreciate that it also comes in an unsweetened version, sans stevia, that pairs really nicely with other drinks that already have enough natural sweetness.
I'm excited to keep adding the versatile mix to more drinks this fall and beyond. And I'm grateful to have found something that can fulfill the craving for a specialty coffeehouse beverage—for way less cash. "I think now, in the time of a recession, we must think deeper about what brings us joy," Shah tells mbg. "You can still enjoy luxuries like a hot steaming chai—yet save so much money and your health by choosing a healthy alternative like this one."
If you're ready to sip yourself through 3 p.m. with a smile (and a happy gut), try the Chai Latte Powder Mix out for 15% off with the code MINDBODYGREEN15.
Emma Loewe is the Sustainability and Health Director at mindbodygreen and the author of Return to Nature: The New Science of How Natural Landscapes Restore Us. She is also the co-author of The Spirit Almanac: A Modern Guide To Ancient Self Care, which she wrote alongside Lindsay Kellner.
Emma received her B.A. in Environmental Science & Policy with a specialty in environmental communications from Duke University. In addition to penning over 1,000 mbg articles on topics from the water crisis in California to the rise of urban beekeeping, her work has appeared on Grist, Bloomberg News, Bustle, and Forbes. She's spoken about the intersection of self-care and sustainability on podcasts and live events alongside environmental thought leaders like Marci Zaroff, Gay Browne, and Summer Rayne Oakes.