Natural Living Made Simple

MANDI MAKES

Natural Living Made Simple

MANDI MAKES

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I'M A TEACHER AND NATURAL LIVING ENTHUSAIST ON A QUEST FOR A SIMPLE, FRUGAL LIFESTYLE.

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HOMEMADE STICKY CHAI


There is nothing quite like the warming and soothing spices of a good chai mix to warm the body, mind and soul. I'm not sure about you, but I find most store bought chai mixes to be really sweet, not to mention all the crazy additives in there. I've tried both powdered mixes and syrups, and have never really found "the one". You know the one...the perfect combination of spices and sweetness. Most chai tea mixes are also made using a base of black tea, which I'm not a fan of. I don't really like the taste, and I prefer to go caffeine free for health reasons, and so I can have a chai at night and sleep well :)


I was first introduced to the concept of "sticky chai" only very recently and had to try and create my own version. If you are new to the idea, it is essential a chai mixture made with some wet ingredients.


In this blog post you will find:

1. health benefits of each ingredient

2. the recipe

3. video


NOTE: Not everyone's tastebuds are the same, so you will probably want to adjust my recipe to get it just right for you.

 

1. HEALTH BENEFITS


Rooibos Tea

This is a red tea that comes from a plant native to South Africa. It has an earthy flavour and is a great alternative to black tea. It comes from the fermentation of the leaves, which gives it its green colour. There is also a green tea version of Rooibos, which is not fermented.


First of all, I choose to use Rooibos tea instead of black tea, which most chai recipes use, because it is caffeine free. That means I enjoy a nice warm cup of chai in the evening and not worry about not being able to sleep :)


Plus, this tea has a host of really great nutritional benefits:

• rich in antioxidants

• helps with weight management

• great for people with diabetes as it helps to regulate blood sugar levels

• reduces cholesterol


For more information on the benefits of rooibos you can check out the following websites: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323637#7-potential-health-benefits https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/rooibos-tea-benefits#section2

 

Cinnamon

Cinnamon has to be one of my favourite spices. It is amazing in so many recipes for its flavour and health benefits, and it also provides many benefits to the skin when applied topically.

Cinnamon is the inner bark of trees known as Cinnamomum and there are two main types of cinnamon: Ceylon, also known as “true” cinnamon, and cassia cinnamon which is the common variety we just refer to as cinnamon. Ceylon cinnamon is the recommended version to use as it contains far more beneficial properties.

This amazing spice has been used for medicinal properties for hundreds, if not thousands of years. And here’s what makes it so amazing:

· full of antioxidants, which help to protect our body against environmental pollutants.

· Can be used as a natural food preservative

· Anti-inflammatory, which helps to heal the body and fight infections

· Helps to protect the heart by reducing bad cholesterol

· Can help to reduce blood pressure

· Helps to lower blood sugar levels and encourages the body to respond to natural insulin

· Potential to help with brain function and prevent degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

· Can help to reduce growth of cancer cells

· Antibacterial

· Antimicrobial benefits which can help to prevent bad breath and fight tooth decay


For more scientific information take a look at the link below which provides information for studies done on the use of cinnamon and its benefits:

https://badgut.org/information-centre/health-nutrition/cinnamon/

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-proven-benefits-of-cinnamon#section12

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/266069#benefits

 

Cardamom

This is a really versatile spice that can be used in both sweet and savoury dishes. It originates from India and comprises of small seeds inside a pod. It has been described as having an intense and slightly sweet taste.


Benefits:

• antioxidant

• can help to reduce blood pressure

• may help to reduce cancer cells

• anti-inflammatory

• helps with digestion

• helps to improve oral health

• antibacterial


For more scientific information take a look at the link below which provides information for studies done on the use of cardamom and its benefits:

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/cardamom-benefits#section9

 

Star Anise

This has to be the most amazing and prettiest looking spice! It has an amazing liquorice scent and flavour that I think is really under-rated. It comes from a Chinese evergreen tree called Illicium verum.

As with most spices, it contains antioxidants as well as antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Further to that, star anise also has the following benefits: • antiviral due to shikimic acid, which makes it helpful in fighting colds and flu

• anti fungal

• rich in vitamin A and C

• helps promote good digestion

• is known to help settle nerves and promote a restful sleep

• can help to encourage the production of breast milk


For more scientific information take a look at the link below:

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/336825719_Star_Anise_A_review_on_benefits_biological_activities_and_potential_uses

 

Ginger


This is another really ancient member of the plant family date back thousands of years. Did you know that ginger is one of the most popular condiments in the world? It can used in many different forms from fresh, to crystallised, dried, pickled, preserved, candied and ground. Most people know ginger as being helpful for settling your stomach and reducing nausea.


It also contains many other benefits for your overall health from its bioactive compounds:

• reduces cold and flu symptom

• contains anti-inflammatory properties known to help ease arthritis

• eases migraine pain

• can reduce high blood pressure • can help to prevent and reduce growth of cancer cells

• helps to promote a healthy cardiovascular system


For a scientific journal article detailing more of its benefits and studies to show its effectiveness, take a look at the link below:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92775/

 

Turmeric

This is one of my favourite anti-inflammatory spices, and alongside cinnamon, one of the most used spices in my home. It is not only great for the inside of your body, but also has great benefits when used on the skin.


It comes from India and other parts of South-East Asia and is another spice that has been used medicinally for centuries. Turmeric is a root and can be used fresh and dried. It contains curcummin which is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent. In order to help your body absorb the curcummin, turmeric should always be paired with black pepper. They are BFF's and should always be together.


Further to that, turmeric also boasts the following benefits:

• can slow effects of ageing

• antibacterial

• full of antioxidants

• known to help prevent Alzheimers and potentially depression

• can help treat bowel disease due to anti-inflammatory properties

• can improve cardiovascular health

• potentially treat and prevent cancer

• can ease symptoms of osteoathritis

• can help prevent and treat diabetes

• can improve overall skin health


For more scientific information take a look at the link below which provides information for studies done on the use of turmeric and its benefits:

https://www.everydayhealth.com/diet-nutrition/diet/scientific-health-benefits-turmeric-curcumin/

 

Vanilla

Mmmm, one of my favourite smells and tastes. You really can't bet vanilla. When it comes to buying vanilla, there are many poor quality imitation options. Yes, it can be expensive to buy the real deal, but you just can't beat a real vanilla bean pod, or real vanilla bean paste for flavour and health benefits.

Aside from the amazing smell and taste, it also provides the following: • lowers cholesterol

• provides anti-inflammatory properties

• full of antioxidants to help fight free radicals

• contains the minerals calcium, manganese, magnesium, potassium, iron and zinc

• contains the B-group vitamins: thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5) and pyridoxine (B6). These help to regulate metabolism,

• can alleviate fever

• promotes healthy gut


For more scientific information take a look at the link below which provides information for studies done on the use of vanilla and its benefits:

https://journals.lww.com/nutritiontodayonline/fulltext/2020/07000/vanilla__potential_health_benefits.10.aspx

https://www.prohealth.com/library/why-vanilla-beans-are-absolutely-worth-it-46016

 

Honey

When it comes to honey there is vast array of different types and not all is made equal. It is beneficial to always try and purchase local honey, as it obviously contains local pollen, which will provide you with the most benefits. If you can buy locally, always then aim for a reputable company which is at least made in your country. Manuka honey is the gold standard when it comes to health benefits, but as it is native to New Zealand, it can be rather expensive.


In general, honey can provide you with the following good stuff:

• antibacterial

• antiviral

• high in antioxidants

• can help to treat and reduce cancer cells

• known to help heal ulcers

• can ease constipation

• regulates blood sugar

• can ease asthma

• promotes healthy cardiovascular system

• promotes healthy gastrointestinal tract


For more scientific information take a look at the link below which provides information for studies done on the use of honey and its benefits:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5424551/

 

Orange juice and rind

When you think health benefits of oranges, you probably automatically think vitamin C. But, there are many other reasons to love oranges:

• source of fibre (one good size orange can give you 18% of your recommended daily intake)

• contain thiamine and folate

• antioxidant

• good source of potassium, which can help to reduce blood pressure and risk of heart disease

• the citric acid can help prevent kidney stones

• can increase your body's ability to absorb iron thanks to the vitamin C and citric acid


Eating a whole orange is definitely the way to go to get most nutrients, rather than drinking orange juice, especially if it is store bought and reconstituted (avoid that stuff!). The orange peel is also highly nutritious and is a great addition to baked goods. Always make sure you soak your fruit in baking soda and water, and scrub well to help remove any herbicides and pesticides that may be on the skin of the fruit before using the peel.


Using the orange peel will also give you the following benefits: • 1 tbsp can provide 14% of your daily amount of vitamin C (nearly 3 times that of the inside fruit)

• it contains provitamin A, folate, riboflavin, thiamine, vitamin B6, and calcium

• rich in polyphony's which are known to help with chronic conditions such as obesity and diabetes

• contains limonene which is known to help fight cancer


For more scientific information take a look at the link below which provides information for studies done on the use of oranges and their peel:

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/foods/oranges#bottom-line

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/can-you-eat-orange-peels#benefits

 

Black Pepper

We don't really associate black pepper with being good for us, but merely a flavour enhances. As mentioned above, it is the BFF to turmeric as it helps the body to absorb the beneficial curcummin.


Surprisingly, there is more to this tiny black peppercorn. It has been deemed the "king of spices" due to numerous beneficial plant compounds it contains:

• high in antioxidants

• anti-inflammatory

• has shown to improve brain function in animals (not studied in humans yet)

• can improve blood sugar metabolism

• can help to lower cholesterol levels

• it could potentially help to fight cancer (again, not studied enough yet to be scientifically proven)

• boosts the absorption of calcium and selenium

• promotes health gut


For more scientific information take a look at the link below which provides information for studies done on the use of black pepper and its benefits:

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/black-pepper-benefits#The-bottom-line

 

2. THE RECIPE

It's time! If you skipped over all the benefits of the ingredients in this recipe, the bottomline is that it is jammed packed with antioxidants and provides anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and antibacterial properties as well as a lot of vitamins and minerals. It is a health tonic in a cup, that tastes delicious!


INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup red rooibos tea

4 tbsp ground cinnamon (ceylon is best if you can find it)

4 star anise (ground in a mortar and pestle)

1 tbsp of cardamon pods

1 tsp turmeric (freshly grated is best or ground)

1 tsp minced ginger (or freshly grated)

2 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice

1 1/2 tbsp orange rind

1 tbsp honey

1 tsp vanilla bean paste or seeds from 1 vanilla bean pod

ground black pepper


  1. Add the tea and cinnamon to a small bowl.

  2. Using a mortar and pestle, grind the star anise and seeds from the cardamom pods. Add to tea and cinnamon.

  3. Add remaining ingredients and mix well.

  4. Store in a sealed jar in the fridge.

  5. To use, place 2 heaped teaspoons in a tea strainer. Fill cup with 1/4 hot water and let steep for 3 - 4 minutes. Add warm, frothed milk. Sprinkle with a little cinnamon.

 

3. VIDEO

See how I make this recipe on the video below: