If you’re a heavy coffee drinker, consider trading it for tea instead. Tea can provide a huge array of health benefits and, if it’s the caffeine you must have, may be a more “mild” substitute. Here’s a recipe for a favorite of mine, a vegan friendly, iced chai latte I enjoy having instead of coffee. It’s delicious, try it!
Ingredient 1: Pu-Erh Tea
Pu-Erh tea is a Chinese tea and its use dates back to the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220 CE). Pu-Erh tea production is highly regulated to ensure quality and authenticity, only tea from Yunnan province may be called Pu-Erh tea. There are a number of estates that produce Pu-Erh and each has its own types of leaves from plants and trees that grow wild, some of which may be over 1,000 years old. After harvesting, each manufacturer blends the leaves to their own specifications. Producing black Pu-Erh tea involves a fermentation process where the natural enzymatic breakdown creates heat and “cooks” the leaves. This adds complexity, depth, and smoothness to the tea. 
Pu-Erh Tea is thought to support healthy blood sugar levels and have an anti obesity effect, and, like other teas, Pu-Erh is high in antioxidants.    When evaluated for antioxidant potential, Pu-Erh tea was found to have higher antioxidant activity than green tea, oolong tea, and boack tea.  In traditional Chinese medicine, Pu-Erh tea is believed to:
- Support digestion
- Support the immune system and heart health
- Provide high levels of absorbable vitamin C
Ingredient 2: Chai Spice Yerba Mate
Yerba mate is a South American tea and one of the world’s most popular beverages. Yerba mate is believed to provide a number of health benefits because of its vitamin, mineral, antioxidant, polyphenol, and amino acid content. What are the health benefits of yerba mate?
1. Supports Weight Loss
Research shows that yerba mate keeps your appetite feeling satisifed and can help overweight persons achieve weight loss. 
2. Supports Heart Health
Some studies suggest that yerba mate tea may help prevent hardening of the arteries and reduce artery blockage, which may help reduce incidence of heart attack and stroke. 
3. Boosts Energy
Yerba mate contains theobromine, theophylline and caffeine which help to stimulate your nervous system and sharpen your focus. Although caffeine should be enjoyed in moderation, most yerba mate drinkers report fewer negative side effects from yerba mate than coffee.
4. Enhances Digestive Function
Yerba mate tea helps your intestines absorb nutrients and digest food more efficiently. 
5. Contains Antioxidants
Yerba mate is a rich source of antioxidants, even more than green tea.  
Ingredient 3: Raw Almond Milk
Raw almond milk is a fantastic substitute for dairy milk. In addition to coconut and hemp milk, raw almond milk is the only vegetable based milk product I personally use or recommend; soy milk is best avoided. Here’s an easy recipe to make your own:
- 1 cup raw organic almonds
- 3 cups purified water
- 2 dates (optional)
- 1/2 tsp organic vanilla (optional)
Soak the almonds in water overnight. Drain and discard the water. Blend the almonds and optional dates and vanilla with three cups of water until well blended and almost smooth. Strain using a cheesecloth or strainer. Store in the refrigerator where it will last 3-4 days. 
Iced Chai Latte Directions
- Steep 1 bag of Pu-erh tea and 1 bag of Chai Spice Mate in a cup of hot water for 3-5 minutes.
- Pour over ice (optional).
- Add raw almond milk to taste!
-Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DABFM
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