Breaking the habit of milk tea is a herculean task. Especially for someone like me, for whom tea has been a metaphor for many precious things such as a reward for being a good kid, well-earned break time from studying/stretching over weekdays & weekends to get your work assignments right, gossip time with your best friends, peers, roomies in colleges/hostels/offices. Also, a legitimate excuse for gobbling pakoras, chips, biscuits!

This article is a personal anecdote on the difficult journey of changing my chai habits sustainably. With it, I hope to officiate this accomplishment a trick to control my delicate mind to ever dare return to square one!) and a thumbs up for other chai lovers on the same journey.

I have always been overweight, so subconsciously, my mind has relentlessly nitpicked on every luxury of food that may be good for me to give up. Milk & sugar tea then become the right target to cut off as you can save 2- 3 teaspoons of sugar, about 6-8 biscuits, mathri, a packet of chips & much more in the day when you are habitual of “Friends” size huge mug full of tea at least thrice a day.

After some practice, I was able to strike a compromise by choosing to cut off the sugar from my tea! Luckily, my friends at that time had cultivated this habit in themselves for years and thus it was easy for me to just follow suit. Easy on the taste and easy on the mind – what a sly move!

However, it came as a hard blow when my nutritionist suggested giving up all dairy products as a way to adopt a healthier lifestyle and reduce inflammation. It translated to milkless tea, no curd/raita, paneer, butter & cheese. I was borderline ok with other things, but completely giving up chai sounded ridiculous. After many months of hushing that thought and then some contemplation, I decided to give it a go. The below change curve depicts the journey and the emotions I felt at various stages right from Denial to Commitment:

As I look back, I do think, giving up on chai may appear to many as a trivial worry amidst the ocean of important things, but tea stands for bigger & greater things such as childhood habits, social norms, family’s way of living the day, way to socialize and connect with others, and of course its taste. Looking at these subtle sweet nothings as a whole does suggest I give a small pat on my back for a job well done!

Hope you can relate to some parts of my journey. I am all ears to read what else worked for you? Do share your stories in the comments section.



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