Today I’m honored to share a guest post by Claire Ragozzino, who is an amazing plant-based chef, holistic nutrition coach and blogger over at Vidya Living. Her chai recipe below is wonderful for this time of year, when we’re feeling the effects of spring’s arrival. Enjoy!
I’m writing you with a mug of chai in hand, wrapped cozy in a blanket while a fierce rain falls outside. We’re going on day 4 of April showers here in the great plains of Oklahoma, and while the land dearly needs this water, my body is swimming in what we Ayurvedic yogis call Kapha energy (ie. lethargic, heavy, slow, sleepy).
Ayurveda, which translates to the science of life, is the study of our health in relation to the elements and the cyclical rhythms of the earth – think seasons and moon cycles. In Ayurveda, everything in nature, including ourselves, can be categorized by three primal energies, known as doshas, which consist of the five elements. We seek inner harmony through balancing these elements within us in accordance to what elements are showing up around us. Through self-study, we begin to apply this science as a way to align with the beautiful cyclical dance of nature. Kapha dosha, the element of earth and water, governs the late winter and early spring, and regulates the water in the tissues and lymphatic system. When an abundance of Kapha is present, it can mean emotional and physical stagnation, slower digestion, excess mucous, and overall congestion showing up in body and mind.
Keeping a balance of cooked foods, fresh astringent greens, and warming pungent spices like ginger, clove, black pepper, cinnamon and cardamom (think Chai spices) can help to balance out the presence of slow moving Kapha in the body. These food habits paired with a more active asana practice and purifying pranayama practices, like Kapalabhati and Bastrika, will begin reawaken a dormant body and mind after a long winter of hibernation. But while it’s still raining, curl up with a big mug of this springtime herbal chai and your favorite journal where you can write, reflect and usher in the new life, creativity and joy that comes with this new season of rebirth and awakening.
6 cups water
2 cinnamon sticks
2 tbsp fresh grated ginger
2 tbsp fresh grated turmeric
10 cardamom pods
1 tsp whole cloves
5 black peppercorns
4 star anise pods
½ tsp whole allspice
Optional: ¼ cup dried tulsi leaves (holy basil)
Bring the water to boil on the stove top. Add the spices and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add the dried tulsi, let steep for 3-5 more minutes. Remove from heat and strain the liquid. To serve, pour the hot concentrate into a mug about ½ to ¾ of the way full, then top your favorite nut or seed milk. Sweeten with a spoonful of raw honey. Makes 2 cups concentrate.