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Warm Up with Caffeine-Free Hot Drinks

When it’s chilly outside, a hot drink is a delicious way to warm up. Although caffeinated teas and coffee are popular, in the long run they aren’t very healthy. Regularly drinking caffeinated drinks can dehydrate you, disrupt your sleep, increase your tension, disrupt your hormones, and be addictive.

Instead of reaching for drinks that throw you off balance, here are a few that will bring you more into balance.

Grain Coffee
With ingredients like roasted barley, rye, and chicory, grain coffees, although they don’t actually taste like coffee, offer an earthy, roasted flavor that make giving up coffee a little easier.

If you are trying to cut down on coffee, begin incorporating herbal coffee with your regular coffee grounds. Start with 25% herbal and 75% coffee grounds for one week and then go down to 50% of each. By the 3rd or 4th week, use 75% herbal coffee and 25% regular. Eventually cut out the caffeine altogether.

Here is a creamy way to enjoy grain coffee, with a touch of sweetener:

Deluxe Grain Coffee with Carob
Makes: 3 cups

1½ cups water
1½ cups milk (dairy, almond, soy, or coconut, etc.)
2 tsp carob powder
2 tsp grain coffee (with some brands, it’s better to brew the grain coffee first with ¾ cups water)
2 tsp honey, maple syrup, or sweetener of choice

Directions: Heat water and milk on high until hot, whisk in carob powder and grain coffee and sweetener until a little bit frothy. You can also blend these in the blender first and then heat them up.

Tip/Variation: To add a little spice, steep a bag of ginger tea in the water and milk. Remove it before adding the rest of the ingredients. For a creamier and sweeter version, top with whipped cream or coconut whip cream.

Rooibos Tea
Native to South Africa, Rooibos is a herbal tea, rich in antioxidants, that has a deep, woody flavor making it a natural alternative to black tea. It also makes a great cup of chai. 

Homemade Rooibos Chai
Makes: 3 cups

2½ cups water
3 cardamom pods (crack open first by pressing against a chopping board with the back of a spoon)
3 whole cloves
2 black peppercorns
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, or 1 tsp powdered ginger
2 bags Rooibos tea
Sweetener of choice to taste
½ cup milk

Directions: Bring water and spices to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce heat and add tea bags. Steep for 5 mins. Remove tea bags and add milk and sweetener. Strain out the spices.

More Amazing Hot Drinks
In addition to grain coffees and herbal teas, there are many healthy hot drinks that you can make with simple, healthful ingredients, such as ginger or turmeric. Here are a few:

Turmeric Vanilla Latte
Makes: 3 cups

½ cup water
2½ cups milk of your choice
2 tsp turmeric powder
¾ tsp cinnamon
¾ tsp ginger powder
½ tsp vanilla extract
Sweetener of choice to taste

Directions: Whisk together all ingredients in a saucepan on medium heat. Once it’s very warm, blend in a blender until it’s frothy.

Honey-Ginger Tea with Lemon
Makes: 3 cups

3 cups water
1 inch of peeled, grated, fresh ginger root
Juice of ½ a lemon
Honey to taste

Directions: Add ginger and water to saucepan, bring to a boil, and simmer on low for 15 minutes. Add lemon and honey.

Tips/Variations: Increase or decrease the amount of ginger depending upon your preference. Add a few sprigs of fresh mint to make it more refreshing.

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