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Try This, Not That: Hot & Healthy Beverage to Warm Your Insides

Posted by Torie Borrelli on

Who doesn’t love a deliciously warm beverage on a cold winter’s day? It’s that time of year where the big chains and local coffee shops alike add some of our favorite seasonal drinks to their menu, and while we’re all about the occasional indulgence (we’re only human, after all), you might not realize just how indulgent those fancy lattes actually are. Chock full of calories and loaded up with artificial ingredients that we can barely pronounce, these sugary caffeine pick-me-ups come at a price your body won’t like. But before you panic at the thought of a world without Starbucks Peppermint Mochas, know that you don’t have to give up on your liquid sweet tooth altogether.

Integrative Holistic Nutritionist Torie Borrelli, of The Vida Well, has come to the rescue with these 3 healthy, nutrient-dense alternatives that you can try at home—all of the taste and none of the guilt. Pull out your most Pinterest-worthy mugs because you’re going to want to post these once you try ‘em.

If You Love Your Vanilla Chai Lattes…

Torie’s note:I am a sucker for a good spicy chai latte and this version is a great way to get in your nutrients. The bioavailability of turmeric’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties is increased by over 53% when heated, paired with a good fat (coconut milk) and combined with black pepper. With this drink, I tend to not use sweetener, however, I know some of you need that extra bit of sweetness so just adjust according to your taste buds.”

Scary fact: Did you know a Starbucks Spiced Chai Latte has more sugar than a Snickers bar? Yikes!

The Recipe: Turmeric Spiced Chai Latte

Servings: 2


  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 packet organic black tea
  • 1 tea bag of chai tea or 1 Tbsp chai spices (a mix of cinnamon, ginger, cloves, pepper, and cardamom)
  • 1 cup almond or coconut milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp turmeric (better absorbed through pepper and heating)
  • 1 tsp honey, or 2-3 stevia/1 tsp stevia leaves to your taste


  1. Pour hot water into a large cup or bowl with black tea and chai tea. Let steep 5-8 minutes, until dark in color.
  2. In a saucepan heat milk until hot, then pour into blender or milk frother. Add vanilla extract, milk of choice, and turmeric, then blend for 1 minute or until frothy.
  3. Once they are mixed well, add to tea and serve.
  4. Sprinkle additional turmeric on top for look and taste.

If You Love Your Peppermint Mochas & Hot Cocoa

Torie’s note:This is my spin on a hot chocolate that uses real cacao instead of the packaged kind, which is filled with sugars and inflammatory ingredients. The richness of the full fat coconut milk plus the healthy oil will give your brain the nutrients it needs, like antioxidants, magnesium, zinc, potassium and copper, while also making a decadent drink. Why cacao versus cocoa? Cacao is made by cold-pressed unroasted cocoa beans.This process keeps the living enzymes in the cocoa and doesn’t destroy the nutrients. Cocoa may look the same, but it is not even close. Cocoa powder has been roasted at high heats, which destroys the live enzymes, which changes the molecular structure and decreases the nutritional value. Manufacturers usually add sugary ingredients to this form as well.”

The Recipe: Coconut Hot Chocolate

Servings: 2


  • 16 oz canned organic BPA free coconut milk
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil ( sub ghee or grass-fed butter)
  • 3 Tbsp cacao powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean powder
  • 1 tsp honey, 2-3 stevia or 1 tsp xylitol to taste
  • Whip cream (optional, but sometimes necessary!)


  1. Heat the coconut milk in a saucepan until almost boiling. Stir in coconut oil, vanilla bean powder, cacao powder, and your choice of sweetener.
  2. Whisk until all ingredients are melted.
  3. Pour into mug and top with whip cream. (Torie suggests the coconut whipped cream from Sprouts)
  4. If you like it spicy, add a dash of cayenne pepper; it’s tasty and will give your metabolism a boost.

If You Love Your Pumpkin Spiced Lattes…

Torie’s note:Join me in my healthy addiction to Bulletproof Coffee, and if you can’t do the java, substitute for black tea. Enjoy!”

The Recipe: Bulletproof Pumpkin Spiced ‘Latte’

Servings: 2


  1. 16 ounces brewed coffee
  2. 2 Tbsp Grass-Fed butter or Ghee if dairy intolerant
  3. 1-2 Tbsp Brain Octane, or XCT, or coconut oil
  4. 4 Tbsp organic pumpkin puree
  5. 1 tsp pumpkin spice or cinnamon
  6. 1-2 Tbsp local raw honey or stevia drops to taste ( I use about 3-5 drops per serving)


  1. Brew coffee by preferred method.
  2. In a blender, combine coffee, butter, Brain Octane, pumpkin puree and pumpkin spice/cinnamon. Cover and blend about 20 seconds, until frothy.
  3. Add sweetener to taste if desired.


These drinks almost have us wishing it would stay cold forever. Almost… But, we’ll definitely have fun enjoying them as long as we can.