Good Mood Food: Frothy Coconut Chai Tea Latte

This frothy vegan coconut chai tea latte is packed with all sorts of brain nourishing ingredients, like turmeric, mushroom powder, coconut oil and of course, tea! 

Frothy vegan coconut chai tea latte is packed with brain foods!

Happy blogaversary to me!

This little blog turns three years old today. It's crazy watching my little internet baby grow up, seeing where it started and where it is today.

Since it's a blog and not an actual child, I can look back and laugh at how awkward and unattractive it was in that first year of life. If anyone has been hanging around here that long, you remember the hideous yellow header which morphed into a much less hideous, yet incredibly basic and boring black and white script.

And the pictures. Oh, the pictures! I had an intern shadowing me last week and she asked if I had always been a good photographer. I pulled up my first recipe post which spoke for itself. No, not at all.

I'd like to think the aspect of this blog that would win most improved is the writing and the message behind my writing. When I first started, I was really focused on clean eating. I always had a food loving approach to eating, but I think that message was really hidden by my very nutrition-centric blog posts. Now I find my most interesting, fun to write and most shared recipes are ones that explore our relationship with food. I still chat nutrition science, but I don't care as much about why whole foods help you lose weight, but rather why whole foods make you feel awesome. I truly believe feeling happy and vibrant and joyful is a much more powerful motivator than a number on the scale!

That's why I started my Good Mood Food column, where I explore the science of how food can impact brain health. I'm endlessly fascinated by how food can be used as an adjunct treatment for depression, anxiety and other mental health disorders and work with quite a few clients with that in mind. But even outside of a mental health diagnosis, good food = good mood!

It's been a little while since I shared an 'official' Good Mood Food post, so hopefully this frothy coconut chai tea latte makes up for it. Of all things, it was inspired by the bulletproof coffee trend, which to be honest, I think is overhyped from a nutrition standpoint, but I was curious enough to try a homemade version with coconut oil and thought it was super tasty. I loved how the oil whips up into a creamy drink with a frothy top.

Since then, I've been creating all sorts of frothy hot drinks souped up with ingredients that have health promoting powers. This one is packed with ingredients know to nourish the brain - turmeric, tea, cinnamon, coconut and one secret ingredient I think you'll geek out over  - mushroom powder!

Superfood chai tea latte with turmeric, coconut oil, mushroom powder, coconut and cinnamon

Yes, really! I'm sure I lost a few of y'all at the idea of mushrooms in a cup of hot tea, but stick with me on this one. I first learned about mushroom powder last year at FNCE at an incredible dinner with the Mushroom Council, cooked by celebrity chef Maneet Chauhan. I learned how they grow high vitamin D mushrooms by exposing them to sunlight. The resulting mushrooms are dehydrated and ground into a powder that's been shown to be just as good as supplements, if not better because it's from food!

Vitamin D plays a huge role in brain health. Most known for it's role in bone health, this fat soluble vitamin also helps control the expression of thousands of genes. We know it has many roles in brain function because there are receptors all over the central nervous system for the vitamin. It activates/deactivates enzymes in the brain, reduces inflammation, aids in neurotransmitter growth, and protects neurons. Studies have linked vitamin D deficiency to depression, seasonal affective disorder, dementia and decreased cognitive function. Unfortunately, vitamin D deficiency is quite common afflicting 40% the population and over 80% of blacks (because darker skin makes it harder to form from sunlight).

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Vitamin D is found naturally in very few foods, making it a tricky nutrient for most people to get enough of. It's particularly hard for those on a vegan diet, since the best natural food sources are fatty fish, eggs, cheese, and butter from pasture raised animals. Mushrooms that have been exposed to sunlight are a nutritious plant based source of the vitamin. It's hard to find vitamin D mushrooms on the market (or at least I haven't seem them in Columbia!), so keep an eye out for mushroom powder, which you can find in health food stores or order online. It's so simple to sneak into smoothies or hot beverages, where you can't even taste it at all.

Frothy Coconut Chai Tea Latte
Author: Rachael Hartley, RD, LD, CDE, CLT
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened plant milk
  • 1 chai tea bag
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons coconut milk or cream
  • 1-2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon mushroom powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Pinch black pepper
Instructions
  1. Bring water and milk to a simmer in a small pot. Turn off heat, add chai tea bag and let steep 2-3 minutes.
  2. Carefully fish tea bag out and place tea in a blender with coconut oil, coconut milk/cream, honey, mushroom powder, turmeric, cinnamon and black pepper. Blend 2 minutes until frothy. Serve immediately.

More Good Mood Food: 

Coconut Steel Cut Oats with Chocolate and Almonds

Turmeric Smoothie with Mango

Homemade Fermented Pickles