If you’ve tried chai tea, chances are you ordered a chai tea latte from Starbucks or purchased ready-made chai tea concentrate or tea bags from the store. As with most things, the homemade version is far tastier and more robust. In just a few minutes, you can make your own chai blend that will ward off that winter chill, get your blood circulating thanks to the spice quotient, and save you some cash in the process.
Aromatic spices lend incredible flavor to chai as well as a heaping dose of health benefits. Spices contain antioxidants and other healing compounds that help fight a range of diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s. Use them liberally and often. Buy the highest quality spices you can afford in small quantities so they stay fresh. Here’s a simple template for a warming, comforting chai tea. You can adjust this recipe to your own taste.
Chai Tea – makes 4 cups
- 10 cardamom seeds
- 10 cloves
- 5 black peppercorns
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, sliced
- 2 cups of whole milk or fresh milk substitute like almond milk
- 4 bags of black tea
- honey or sugar to taste
- Crush the cardamom seeds, cloves, and peppercorns. You can do this with a mortar and pestle, a coffee bean grinder, or by putting the spices in a plastic bag and crushing with a heavy mallet or pan.
- Add the crushed spices, ginger, cinnamon, milk and two cups of water to a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat, add tea bags, cover and steep for 10-15 minutes. You may also let simmer on low heat for 10 minutes for a stronger brew.
- Strain the chai blend into cups. Add honey or sugar to taste. If you only need one serving, decant the rest of the chai into a mason jar or glass container and store in the refrigerator. Reheat for a quick cup of chai.
The spices in this chai recipe each have unique health benefits. Here are a few of them.
Cardamom seeds contain phytochemicals that are well-known cancer fighters, specifically breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and prostate cancer. Cardamom soothes the stomach and helps with constipation. The aroma also fights depression and reduces stress.
Cinnamon reduces your risk for heart disease and diabetes. It improves how cells metabolize glucose, so it helps keep blood sugar levels balanced, which in turn helps with sugar cravings.
Cloves aid proper digestion, soothe an upset stomach and relieve bloating and gas. Cloves also have antimicrobial properties that help fight the bad bacteria and parasites in your digestive tract.
Ginger reduces inflammation in the body and helps relieve nausea. It’s a warming spice that boosts circulation and lowers blood pressure. It’s also antiviral, perfect for cold and flu season.
Black pepper is a stimulating spice with components that increase the body’s absorption of vitamins and nutrients like beta-carotene, vitamin B and selenium.
Do you make your own chai blend? What else do you add?
As promised, we have a special Friday Deal with KYPRIS! If you didn’t catch Rebecca’s review of KYPRIS’ lovely products yesterday, she gives you all the reason in the world to check out this luxurious skincare line. So here’s the deal…
When you purchase a Beauty Elixir from KYPRIS or from Citrine Natural Beauty you’ll receive deluxe samples of each of KYPRIS’ serums — the Moonlight Catalyst, the Clearing Serum, and the Antioxidant Dew. The deal is good through this Sunday, January 25th. No code necessary! Just make your purchase at KYPRIS or Citrine Natural Beauty and you’ll automatically receive these deluxe goodies with your order while supplies last.
Not sure what Beauty Elixir would benefit your skin? Take this fun quiz to discover your KYPRIS ritual. With ingredients that are 100% natural and nature-derived from plants that are wildcrafted or organic, KYPRIS boasts some serious phytonutrient power. Sustainability is core to their mission, too, and they source ingredients accordingly. We love that.
You’ll remember the lovely natural beauty retailer Citrine Natural Beauty from some of our past Friday Deals. Citrine and KYPRIS are both bringing you this Friday Deal, so if you need to pick up a few items in addition to your Beauty Elixir, you can shop with Citrine and still get this promotion!
Are you into the KYPRIS Beauty Elixirs? How about the serums? We want to hear about it!
You may have noticed I haven’t posted in a while. I’ve had big things brewing at work (unrelated to my NMDL life), and some extraordinary stress to match my new level of responsibility. This has made my skin situation sketchy at times, but in the midst of it all, I discovered a game-changing product line.
I have the lucky conundrum of too many products to try, whether purchased in a fit of extravagance – which happens far too often – or generously given to me by a company. It’s one thing to try a new shade of lipstick. There’s a low level of commitment there, and you know if you love it right away. Skin care, on the other hand, can be tricky. I’m choosy about what I’ll bother with in the first place. With all my sensitivities, past damage to overcome, and 46-year-old skin hoping for a miracle, it takes some good game to make me to want to try something new. In the most rare of circumstances, a line has that magical combo of a big bang right off the bat, luring me to stick with it for a long slow ascension to truly better skin. Hi there, KYPRIS!
When I first saw mention of this newish company, I raised an eyebrow at the hype and rolled my eyes. I should hang my head in shame at this initial reaction, but my skin looks so good I kinda have to hold my head high.
Using the products consistently for several months, along with many e-mail and Instagram interactions with founder Chase Polan, certainly have left me believing that KYPRIS embodies, as it says on the website, “beauty with a soul supported by science.”
Perusing the detailed information on the website, one can see the thoughtful attention to pure, potent, mindfully sourced ingredients in each product, and in the way the line works together. The elixirs have beautiful oil combinations, including the outstanding prickly pear (aka Barbary fig), antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, plus collagen-supporting and brightening vitamin C. They are designed to work with the serums, which hydrate while intensifying the elixirs’ effect. The discover link on the webpage will guide you to the right combination of products based on your particular skin concerns (it gave me the same results as a personal consult with Chase). You’ll notice that the lovely amber and cobalt glass bottles are large, twice or more the volume I’ve typically seen in upscale serums and oils. KYPRIS wants customers to be able to see the long-term effects with one purchase, which I totally get, but that means you may need a compelling reason to take the leap. On to the product reviews…
Moonlight Catalyst: A serum designed to use overnight to refine and exfoliate without the harshness of a retinoid, it is superb for “stressed, experienced, or imbalanced complexions.” Stressed and experienced, that’s my skin for sure. I initially received a PR sample, used it once, and immediately ordered the full size. I couldn’t believe how soft and glowy my skin was! This is the best combination of gentle yet effective exfoliation I’ve ever experienced. I’ve been able to minimize any other form of exfoliation, a critical move for a sensitive sort. I have happily repurchased a new bottle recently, as with this one you need one to two full droppers to combine with an elixir or other oil. I mist on a hydrosol from my collection, mix a dropper of the serum with 2-3 drops of elixir in my hand, and spread over my face, neck, and upper chest, patting any excess onto the backs of my hands. This way, the bottle lasts about 1.5-2 months. The scent is unique and very light, maybe a touch fruity. It results in a lovely smelling concoction when blended with an elixir. If you want to just dip a toe in, this is the place to start your KYPRIS journey. ($70/1.69 oz or 50 ml)
Beauty Elixir I (1000 Roses) and III (Prismatic Array): Considering my sensitivities, the obvious choice for me seemed to be Prismatic Array, with the same high performing actives as the other elixirs, but no essential oils. It simply smells like its ingredients, wonderful and a little nutty-spicy. Pretty quickly, though, Chase got me hooked on the idea of 1000 Roses, with its promise to help “skin challenged by time and the elements such as unruly hormones or pollution.” Thus is the power of the rose. Rose as a scent, though, is hit or miss for me, with many products containing it smelling much too strong. This one, though, hits it just right. Mellow and a little spicy, it says rose without a flowery smack to the face. This is the one I use most often, morning and night, and in over 4 months I’ve used up not quite half a bottle. Usually when an oil-based product has instructions to use 2-3 drops, I use more on my dry skin. I noted that my skin was not particularly dry after several weeks of use, and though I have to admit it’s been a very mild winter here in NorCal, I don’t recall having this much moisture in my skin for decades. I am using the recommended 2-3 drops now, and very successfully. I’m still no spring chicken and have wacky hormones, but overall I like my skin better than any time since puberty started. Even my deepest wrinkles don’t seem so obvious, and the brightening – oh the brightening! I’m pretty well known around here for my love of skin brightening products. I usually do at least one round of my DIY potion each winter to keep the old damage at bay. I didn’t need or want it this year, and in fact, with KYPRIS in my routine, I’ve seen improvement beyond my expectations. ($150-225/1.69 oz or 50 ml)
I love the idea of mixing products for enhanced absorption and synergistic effect, and it also allows flexibility. A favorite elixir works day or night, for a variety of skin types, when paired with the appropriate serum. And the results! This skeptical gal is impressed. Have you tried anything from KYPRIS yet? Check back with us tomorrow for a special Friday Deal!
We love a woman who takes her skincare seriously, even on those mornings when time is scarce. If you would rather skip makeup than miss a step in your skincare routine, you’re in good company with this super clean morning routine!
City: Toronto, Canada
Skin: Very light (RMS un-coverup 00), with yellow undertones. Very dry, prone to eczema with the odd hormonal breakout.
Hair: Long, dark brown and somewhere halfway between wavy and curly.
Favorite star from the past: I’d have to say Shirley Temple. When I was little I used to rent her early movies from the local video store and watch them over and over again. I found her tap dancing mesmerizing and incredibly impressive. Also, before my hair darkened, I had blonde ringlets just like hers. I hated them but when I saw Shirley Temple had locks just like me, my opinion changed quickly.
Like most of us, I’ve got many different morning routines that vary based on how many times I hit snooze on the alarm. On days I have an early lecture, I’m pretty low maintenance but also try to put in enough effort that I don’t scare my classmates.
First thing I do is jump in the shower with my extremely sexy, pink flowered bathing cap on. I only wash my hair in the evening as I let it air dry, which can take up to 12 hours. In the shower, I use either a bar of the Osmia Organics Oh So Soap, which is very moisturizing and gentle on my sensitive skin, or the deliciously almond scented Acure Organics Argan Cell Stimulating Body Wash. If I’m shaving my legs, I reach for Dr. Bronner’s Unscented Shave Gel, which forms a healthy lather and never irritates my skin. After my shower, I pop in my contact lenses using Clear Conscience Multi Purpose Solution, the only alternative I’ve found to conventional brands and never bothers my eyes. I brush my teeth with, Jason Powersmile Whitening Toothpaste, slather on a layer of Acure Organics Cocoa Butter + CoQ10 Ultra-Hydrating Body Lotion and some Schmidt’s Natural Deodorant.
One thing I never slack on no matter how short on time I am is skincare. My skin is extremely sensitive and after many tests and a few failures, I’ve found products that manage to hydrate, sooth and shield me from the icy winter winds. I spray my face with George’s Aloe Spray, and pat a few drops of Kahina Giving Beauty Argan Oil into my skin. I then come in with round two of cold weather protection with CV Skinlabs Rescue + Relief Spray followed by their Calming Moisture. If any of you suffer from severely dry skin, try CV Skinlabs. It has helped me so so much. I tell everyone and anyone who will listen about the company. I finish off with a dab of 100% Pure Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream and a swipe of Hurraw! Lip Balm.
I then head downstairs and start with a mug of warm lemon water and raw honey followed by either a green smoothie or a bowl of oatmeal sprinkled with cinnamon and a healthy glug of almond milk. While I eat, I catch up on some Youtube videos. I’m currently obsessed with, CloudyApples, MakeupTIA and HolisticHabits’s.
If I’ve got 15 minutes to spare, I’ll quickly do my makeup. I’ve been using Physicians Formula Organic Wear CC Color + Correction Cream, which gives light to medium coverage. I’m almost out and although I liked it, it’s a tad dark for my winter skin. I’m looking to try the Gressa MINIMALIST Corrective Serum Foundation next. I then conceal under my eyes and around my nose with RMS Uncover Up and set my concealer with a light dusting of Honeybee Gardens Pressed Mineral Powder. I fill in my brows with the Logona Eyebrow Pencil in #2 and add some color to my cheeks with Kjaer Weis Blossoming. The cream formula of this blush adds a gorgeous dewy flush, making me look bright and healthy on the gloomiest of winter days. My top two picks for eye shadow right now are RMS Cream Eye Shadow in Magnetic or Red Apple Lipstick’s powder shadows, specifically, Oh Schnapp!, the prettiest rose gold shade. When it comes to lip products, I keep it pretty neutral. Red Apple Lipstick’s Audrey is the perfect everyday pink with so much moisture, I can’t believe it’s a lipstick and I also love Bite Beauty Matte Crème Lip Crayon in Glace. As someone with dry lips, it’s the only matte product that is comfortable to wear the entire day. I don’t use mascara. I’ve got long, black lashes, so I give them a quick curl with my Shu Uemura Curler and I’m all set. One thing I have yet to find is a natural perfume scent that knocks my socks off, so please throw any suggestions my way! I love light floral scents, nothing too overpowering or sweet.
Right before running out the door, I tie my hair into a messy side braid, grab a book for the subway and I’m gone!
Lovely, right?! Can you recommend a natural perfume that really knocks your socks off? Share in the comments!
Even after I switched to green beauty products, my skin acted up. It still sometimes got irritated and angry when I tried new products. When I switched fully over to being gluten-free, my skin went through a little detox. When I tried the Whole30, my face (and body) gave me a little push back. When I went off of birth control, my skin pretty much yelled at me for four months. Even when I don’t drink enough water, I see more visible fine lines on my forehead.
My point? Lots of things can mess with our skin, even transitions to new, healthier habits. Our bodies are super intelligent and they use our skin to tell us when something inside is a little (or a lot) off. So how can we best tell if our skin is trying to get our attention? There are five easy ways:
- Breakouts: Do you see increased inflammation, whiteheads, cystic acne or blemishes?
- Congested skin: Do you see milia, little bumps, uneven skin, blackheads or congested pores?
- Dullness: Is there a lack of radiance to your skin? Does your skin look dull and sallow?
- Change in skin condition: Do you have a major increase of oil or sebum on your face? Is your skin suddenly extremely dry and flaky?
- Increased sensitivities: Are you getting redness, irritation, rashes, tightness of your skin, itching or dermatitis?
I’ve experienced nearly all of the above and it’s completely frustrating and annoying, especially when you think you’re doing all you can to get glowing skin. If you’re running into any of these skin conditions, it might be time to take a look at what changes you’ve been making to your daily eating, exercising, medication/supplement and beauty routine. A few questions to consider:
- Have you recently added in any new products (makeup, skincare, haircare, body care)? Some of the top-of-the-line clean, green brands are the best because of how active they are, meaning they might be too active for your skin. If you’ve recently started using something new, try putting it on pause for a week to see if your skin clears up. If it does, do a patch test to see if you get the same reaction again, and if you do, stop using it entirely. Sad, I know, but worth healing your skin, right?
- Did you learn of a new allergy to a specific ingredient? Both food allergies and topical allergies can make their mark on your skin. When I learned my lips were allergic to beeswax, it still took me three more months to realize that the red bumps and itchiness on my face were probably caused by the same thing. Check your skincare and makeup ingredients’ lists and make sure that anything you’re sensitive to doesn’t make an appearance.
- Did you try a new diet or have a lifestyle change? Ah, food. How we need thee. But how thee can wreak havoc on our skin. Even a shift in eating or lifestyle for the better (more veggies! More exercise!) can show up on your face. Your body could be going through a detox phase, so if you’re making healthier choices, you may want to wait it out—and be sure to add in skin-boosting foods like avocadoes, almonds, fish and lots o water (hot and with lemon is the best!).
- Have you started a new supplement or medication—or stopped one? Much like lifestyle or food changes, adding or subtracting a supplement can alter your skin. If the supplement or medication is from a doctor, check in with her about the reactions you’re having. If you’ve added something on your own, read the list of ingredients to make sure there are no additives that could be making your skin unhappy.
- Haven’t changed anything? Well, the good news is that our bodies are constantly adjusting, so there’s a chance that this is a phase. Up your intake of leafy green veggies and water, and try to wait it out. If it doesn’t seem to be calming, check in with a trusted doctor, aesthetician or naturopath who may be able to give you a little guidance.
Have you experienced weird skin conditions? How did you discover the culprit? What products or lifestyle changes helped?