My Inner Alchemist #2: Chai Latte


18 days left to get The Alchemist’s Theorem on my Kickstarter!

Today’s alchemy secret is a chai concoction I make, especially during the colder seasons. There are many recipes for chai lattes out there I’m sure, but I can’t drink those because of my Crohn’s disease. For anyone who doesn’t know what Crohn’s disease is, it’s an autoimmune disease where my immune system likes to freak out on my digestive system (a couple of disgruntled, petty systems). I have a more severe form of the disease so my diet is highly restricted, though I have been able to add a few things back into my diet this past year.

I can’t eat dairy, I can’t eat soy, and I definitely can’t handle too much sugar. Coconut milk is my all-purpose friend. And the SO Delicious brand offers an unsweetened, unflavored kind (without added crap) that works great for me. Because I live in Seattle, I can get local, organic honey, which is a healthier form of sugar I can handle in moderate amounts. At the co-op I shop at, they have this magical alchemy corner with wooden shelves lined with bulk canisters of organic spices and tea. As people unscrew lids and scoop powder and seeds into cans and jars, the corner takes on the quiet, organic noises of an apothecary. I love it.

So here is my simple, digestive-system-friendly chai latte recipe: Put about a tablespoon or so of honey in your favorite over-sized mug, add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of ginger powder, clove powder, cardamom powder, coriander powder, cinnamon powder, and nutmeg powder. I don’t actually measure because grabbing one spice bottle after another from the cupboard and tapping in eyeball measurements in an industrious manner makes me feel like an alchemist. Then I mix the spices and honey together with a chopstick. The clinking sound of the chopstick also makes me feel like an alchemist. After it forms a lovely dark paste, I boil coconut milk and dump it into the mug and stir. Voila!

A little bit of spice sludge forms at the bottom. How you deal with it is your business.

When I first came up with this recipe, I was just trying to find myself a lovely treat. The eventual health benefit caught me by surprise. Because of my Crohn’s disease, other systems in my body have suffered. My urinary track has been rather unimpressive for years now (talking about the workings of my internal organs might make you uncomfortable, but I don’t care). I used to envy women in public restrooms because of their impressive, whooshing urine streams that I could easily hear over my own sad little trickle of a urine stream.

After two weeks of drinking my chai latte every night, I started to notice my improved, whooshing urine stream. I messaged my sisters and mother about it, I was so excited. I did some research and found out how beneficial all of those spices are to the urinary track, especially cardamom and coriander. I’ve started adding them to my morning smoothie since I stopped drinking the chai lattes when summer began.

And that’s another alchemy secret!



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