Rooibos Masala Chai

I’ve never been able to handle stimulants very well. Caffeine, sugar, tobacco, even too much cacao can send me over the moon!

How I managed to get through adolescence addicted to espresso, coke zero, cigarettes, and jujube’s is beyond me. I was in a constant state of energy highs and lows. I found it hard to concentrate, lacked motivation, and became useless, even with the most mundane of tasks.

Me on my 20th birthday, cigarette in hand. Just ignore the $5 bottle of sparkling wine in front of me ;)

To make matters worse, I got hooked on drinking 2 pots of coffee a day during my first year of work.

One of the first things I did when I started learning about clean eating was work on cutting down my stimulant consumption. I understood that it wasn’t something I could accomplish overnight so I started small and stayed positive no matter how insurmountable it all felt.

  • To ditch coffee, I began drinking black tea instead. I later switched to green, then white, and then herbal only.
  • After that, I tackled my soda obsession by switching out coke for a 1 to 1 mixture of mineral water to fruit juice. Overtime, the mixture had less and less juice, until all I was drinking was mineral water. After that, I moved on to drink plain ‘ol water.
  • Candy was replaced with sugar-sweetened dried fruit, to juice-sweetened, to plain, then to just regular fruit.
  • As for the cigarettes, I just stopped. I had tried to quit smoking in the past but failed because I didn’t want it bad enough. On December 28, 2008 I embraced my desire to be healthy and knew that in order for this to happen, I had to quick smoking. And that was that!

So what does a girl do when she wants to indulge in a masala chai to remind her of the time she spent in India but doesn’t want to feel all jacked up on caffeine?

She makes a rooibos masala chai, of course!

Rooibos Masala Chai

Vegan, Paleo, Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Refined sugar-free, Yeast-free, Corn-free, Grain-free, Nut-free, Egg-free

Switch out the black tea with naturally caffeine-free rooibos tea so you can enjoy a masala chai at any time of the day. Not only is rooibos naturally caffeine-free, but it’s excellent for your digestion, and has a high amount of antioxidants.

Yield: 1.5 cups

Servings: 1

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  1. Place the water and tea bag in a small saucepan, cover and bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat to simmer and leave for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add non-dairy milk, sugar and spices. Bring back to a simmer, just until it’s heated. This will ensure that you don’t get the milk film over top of your chai.
  4. Allow to sit for a couple of minutes before removing the bag, pouring into a large mug and sprinkling with extra chai spice if desired.

If you want to use homemade flax milk, try this process instead as the fiber likes to separate from the milk when heated and will create a cloudy, uneven chai:

  • Use 1 cup of water instead of 1/2 cup.
  • Only use 1/2 cup of flax milk instead of 1 cup.
  • Place flax milk on the counter until it’s brought to room temperature.
  • Follow directions above, but add flax milk at step 4.

View nutrition info

Have you ever struggled with an addiction? What steps or strategies did you use to help you overcome it?

Well, now that all the heavy talk is out of the way… have a happy Friday and a joyous weekend!

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Comments | Leave Your Comment

  1. Those are great suggestions for overcoming addictions… I went “cold turkey” on coffee for a month! It was a great decision – I now limit my intake (and I think completely cutting it out for a while was the only way it was going to work for me)! Haha.

  2. Hey Leanne,
    You’re a big inspiration, this is a huge turn-around, and you set a motivating example for others who need a lifestyle change for optimal health and a better life! I have struggled for a few years with what I would call an addiction to artificial sweeteners; splenda, sweet’n low, and all the rest of the crap. I had wanted to stop for so long, and I knew that what I was putting in my body wasn’t healthy. I might add at this point that I was using about 20 packets a day, WAY overboard, and at some points went through desensitization to sweetness leading me to have 8 packets of splenda in ONE cup of coffee (cut that too….tea all the way baby, cheers to that!). So I had tried waning off the junk in a timely way, like limit myself to only 6/cup of coffee and decrease systematically each week…But I yo-yo’d back to my old habits. The way that worked for me was straight up cold turkey. One day I just said no, and didn’t go back. It’s so great having my taste buds acting sensibly to sweets now, and plain tea with almond milk and some vanilla is so nice, and it just feels better for my body. Now, that being said, I introduced stevia into my diet about 6 months after I went cold-turkey, but I use it in moderation (what a great word!) and still enjoy my tea unsweetened.

    Anyways thanks for sharing this recipe and I wanna say I love your blog, you are a glowing personality and I really enjoy relating to your posts and checking out your innovative and delish recipes,

    • Wow Mel, what a journey! Thank you so much for sharing your struggles with all of us. You’re right in that the more you use, the less you sweetness you taste, so the more you keep adding. Good for you for realizing it was a problem for you and making it your mission to rid yourself of it completely. Similar to me with smoking, I tried quitting oodles of times. Until I actually wanted to quit, it just wasn’t going to work out for me.
      I’m so happy to hear that you like my blog and can relate to my stories and journey to health. Have a fabulous weekend!

  3. As I sip on a decaf coffee, I am wondering if it’s worth another shot to give up my addiction to coffee/decaf coffee and to make the switch to tea. I keep buying tasty herbal teas to try, I keep coming up with plans to do it, but I keep resisting! I guess when you are ready to give up and decide to give it one last shot, that’s often the one that proves successful. Thanks for the tips! :)

  4. wow you overcame a lot, good for you! The only stimulant I ‘use’ these days is coffee. I have one large cup in the morning and that’s all. Anymore and I’m a dehydrated, jittery mess and I get some anxiety.

  5. I’ve been following your blog for a while now and I never knew you used to be a smoker! You must feel soooo much healthier now! Great job! I’m currently dealing with two of the things you listed– trying to cut out soda consumption (right now I’m at 1 diet coke each afternoon at work) and I’m trying to go from drinking coffee with milk and sugar to just straight black coffee. I only have one cup per day, but I’d like that to ultimately be my only source of caffeine. I’ve been thinking about getting a Sodastream machine to make sparkling water & use a natural sweetener like orange or lemon. I wanted to ask you– do you have any thoughts or advice about drinking unfiltered apple cider vinegar? I know many people drink something like 2tbs of ACV mixed in with a full glass of water. I’ve tried it a few times and I don’t mind the taste at all, but I’m worried about how it would affect my teeth.

    • Hi Michelle – sounds like you’re making great progress in learning what works for you. We have a soda stream and love it! Kevin was going through multiple bottles of mineral water a week, that we bought the soda stream, liquid minerals, and just make the water for ourselves!
      If you’re trying to increase your alkalinity, improve digestion, improve complexion (there are so many reasons why unpasteurized/raw apple cider vinegar is awesome!) then totally go for it! It’s highly alkaline so from what I understand, it will not affect your teeth.

  6. Leanne, this is amazing. Thanks so much fro sharing this story and how you overcame your addictions. You are so healthy and beautiful!

    I’ve never really had any really bad addictions, but my family has some past addictions and I have a slightly addictive personality. My grandfather was an alcoholic and died before I was born, but some of his genes were passed on to me. When I first got into “being healthy” I was a bit addicted with it and very strict on what I could and could not eat to be considered healthy. I lost some weight that I shouldn’t have, but have since then gained it back and am much more relaxed now. I’m not striving to be “perfect” anymore and take each day as it comes. I feel so much more relaxed now, and enjoy life as it comes!

    • I’m sorry to hear about your grandfather, Alex. I bet that was pretty hard on your parents. Great point about becoming obsessed or addicted with healthy living! It’s strange for some to wrap their head around how being obsessed with being healthy can actually be bad for your health, but it’s actually quite prevalent! Good for you for reminding yourself that you don’t have to be perfect and for understanding that rules aren’t set in stone. It IS far more relaxing that way!

  7. the jittery squirrel during this period of my life <– Don't mean to laugh, but I did crack a big smile reading that :)

    Congrats to you, Leanna, for overcoming these addictions and for also posting about it and being honest. The transformation is amazing and that pic of you speaks volumes from then to now. You should be SO proud of yourself for this journey.

    And that rooibos chai looks so good!

  8. Wow you have over come a lot! Never thought you would have been a smoker either..
    I have gone through sugar addiction, cigarette addiction, mild soda addiction, huge coffee addiction, mild alcohol and also weed addiction(I do believe one can get addicted to it). Everything was easy when I found out why I was addicted to it. Went cold turky on everything stronger than tea for about two – three months, quit the cigarettes, and weed out for good (had a few slip ups with cigarettes). This is also something that runs in the family, huge coffee drinkers and sugar addicts. Also have a few period drinkers. But change has rippled through, and more are becoming health nerds.

    Only thing I am battling now is the horrible coffee. I acutally found my self almost having an anxiety attack from not getting my morning coffee. Which is so not like me. So I am thinking about trying But I am not sure if that is a good substitute? It’s like I am awarding my self hundred cups of coffee for going to work every morning. And Its draining me out making me depressed and slightly crazy… Not good.

    I am def trying out your awsome recipe there! Thanks for being an inspiration…

  9. Is that movie called Twitchy? Never seen it but it looks hilarious lol!

    I smoked cigarettes from the age of 13 until almost 2 years ago, and now I HATE them. I had tried to quit a couple of times, but always went back to it, until one day I decided that was IT, and I quit completely. My boyfriend and my parents both smoke, as well as my boyfriend’s whole family. Now I really can’t stand when I’m around them and their smoke goes in my face! I also used to be a huge Dr. Pepper junkie. I worked at a gas station a couple years ago and got all the free fountain pop I wanted – so it was very convenient and became a very bad habit. After leaving there, I realized I was drinking FAR too much soda and just quit completely. I feel so much better just drinking water now. (And the occasional Kombucha when the budget allows :)) It’s interesting how after quitting something that I used to do every single day, I now absolutely can’t stand it. Regardless, I’m glad I am rid of the few bad habits that I used to have. And I’m glad you have, too!

    Anyone that does have a bad habit that you are trying to shake, you CAN do it! Believe in yourself :)

    • The clip was from hoodwinked of the squirrel character called twitchy. It’s a great movie!
      Believing in myself was a key factor in me getting over my addictions, too. I’m happy to hear you’ve kicked yours to the curb!

  10. Oh our stories of our adolescence sound SO similar… except it took me getting pregnant as the BIGGEST wake up call of all time to really get “clean.” (Diet soda, social smoking, ya know?) The responsibility of growing another little human beings really makes you get your priorities straight :)

    • Good for you for ‘waking up’ when you got pregnant! It’s amazing how quick we can change when we have a purpose, that’s for sure.

    • ooh oohhh, they have a dandelion gluten-free vanilla nut!! you must try it!

  11. Haha, I love Hoodwinked! But seriously, I know exactly what you mean and I’m trying to avoid caffiene(or at least most of it) while I’m nursing. Chai is one of my favorite teas so this looks so delicious :D

  12. This looks so good. I really have to get around to trying your chai spice recipe. I love chai and just haven’t bought all the ingredients yet.

    I have been trying to quite smoking since January. But we won’t go there. ;)

  13. i’m also a big fan of chai tea, actually i’m currently doing some research for my assignment on rooibos and it’s just fantastic facts. i am loving every new information i come accross.much love!

    • Wow, an assignment on Rooibos. Sounds right up my alley. Good luck!

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