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I admit that as the weather cools (our morning temperatures for the past week have been in the low 30s) I look for excuses to make Chai anything.
I want it for breakfast.
I want it for snack.
I want it for dessert.
And I know part of that want is because of the warm and cozy scents of the familiar fall spices (like Cinnamon and Cloves).
I’m also sure it’s deeper than that. Because ginger (in the Ayurvedic Tradition) is used to “warm” the body from the inside out. It soothes the tummy and boosts the effectiveness of other herbs and spices. Cinnamon is full of antibacterial, anti fungal and antiseptic properties. It’s used to boost vitality. And it tastes so good. And Cloves are used in Eastern Medicine as a pain reliever (for all those winter joint pains that seem to set in as the temperatures sink lower and lower).
But chai pudding? Why on earth would we make chai pudding? (You mean, besides it being totally delicious and awesome?)
Because of the milk and gelatin.
Because it’s the beginning of cold and flu season and if you believe any of the recent research connecting gut health to the strength of our immune system, you know that it’s of utmost important to create a healthy environment in our bellies to make it through the season without cold or flu.
We hear a lot of talk about probiotics these days.
And I’m a big proponent of a probiotic rich diet (kombucha, yogurt, fermented veggies … to name a few).
But our guts need more than a few probiotics to digest and absorb all the nutrients in the food we eat.
We’ve already shared a series of posts on the benefits of raw milk (so long as it is from a clean source and from cows not fed growth hormones for antibiotics). And here’s another excellent article that outlines really clearly the benefits and risks associated with it … not the least of which is reduced allergies and asthma in children.
But what about gelatin? (I’m not talking about Jell-O.)
Yes, gelatin is good for bone and joint health. But did you know that it’s also a great addition to digestive tract?
What is it?
Gelatin is basically composed of protein (amino acids) water and mineral salts derived from collagen.
Why should gelatin be part of our diet?
For centuries, gelatin has been used to treat digestive disorders. Long before Imodium A/D, it was used to help alleviate diarrhea in babies. It’s been used to treat dysentery. And because it is a hydrophilic colloid (collagen that attracts water), it helps to line, protect and heal the mucus lining of the digestive tract. It also helps aid in digestion and create an environment that allows better absorption of nutrients. And now, studies are confirming that gelatin intake can help people with autoimmune disorders (like rheumatoid arthritis), joint disorders, allergies, and inflammatory bowel disorders. I love this simple-plain English article from Natural Health about the benefits of adding gelatin to our diets.
So we look for ways to add gelatin to our diet.
Like Abby’s yummy probiotic gummy squares (probiotics and gelatin … a win-win!).
And the chocolate pudding that she made that still makes my mouth water when I see the picture.
And I’m working on a lemon-honey-ginger gummy for cold and flu season (but I’ve yet to master it … actually, my first two attempts have been totally gross, but I’ll figure it out!)
So now back to Chai Pudding …
Because this one works.
It fills my need for the Chai spices. Gives us the benefit of the milk and the gelatin. And the kids LOVE it (which is always the kicker, isn’t it?)
- 2 cups Heavy Cream (preferably raw)
- 1/2 cup Milk (preferably raw or unpasteurized)
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground Ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground Cloves
- pinch of Sea Salt
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Gelatin (we get ours here)
In a small saucepan over VERY LOW heat (you don’t want to boil the milk and cream and destroy the goodness of the “raw,” you just want to warm it), combine the heavy cream, milk, vanilla and salt. Whisk in the cinnamon, ginger and cloves. When they are well-combined, pour the contents of your saucepan into a blender. Add the gelatin and blend on high for a minute or two.
Pour the contents of the blender into individual serving dishes and refrigerate for at least 90 minutes before serving.
Serve with fresh whipped cream and a little sprinkle of Cinnamon (or not … it’s great on its own).
Makes 4-6 servings.