More Mocktail Madness!
Updated: Jan 28
2023 has kicked off with a barrage of "Dry January" promotions and what seems like a growing number of participants (including my husband;). While I am not participating per se, I have opted for a "damp January." Since I started drinking in high school, I always appreciate examining my consumption and exploring my relationship to alcohol. And the truth is, we need to do more than just give up drinking for just one month of the year (or two if you also partake in "Sober October").
With new research on the negative effects of alcohol, this is a practice worth exploring. Among many negative health effects, alcohol is a known by the World Health Organization as a human carcinogen, associated specifically with head & neck, esophageal, liver, breast and colorectal cancers. Alcohol is also associated with decreased brain health, where just light to moderate consumption showed reduced brain volume. So if you don't consume alcohol, this is good reason not to start, and if you do consume alcohol, you may want to explore swapping out your libations with some yummy feel-good alternatives.
If you'd like to read more on this subject, I recommend reading Not Drinking Tonight, by Amanda E. White. LPC and Sober Curious, by Ruby Warrington. If you are more of a podcast fan, check out a recent series of three on the Healthier Together Podcast with Liz Moody.
Here are three of our new favorites, all rich in nutritional benefits and deliciousness. All are easy options, based on pantry and freezer-friendly ingredients that come together quickly and pay off big in energy and health benefits. Try one or try all three, whatever you choose, enjoy your mocktails! And if that's not enough, check out our first Mocktail Madness post with three more delicious recipes.
Say cheers to YOU!
Some pantry staples you'll need for these recipes include:
- goji berries (dried)
Prep time: 15 minutes (not including overnight soak time)
Goji berries have been known for centuries as a secret to longevity in Chinese medicine. More recently touted as a “superfood,” this dried fruit (also comes in powdered form), contains 18 amino acids ( 8 essential), healthy fat, and carbohydrate. What makes them truly remarkable is their impressive vitamin and mineral content, with more vitamin C than an orange, more vitamin A (incl. beta-carotene) than carrots, and more iron than spinach. If that’s not enough, they are also antioxidant powerhouses and support detoxification as well as eye health, kidney and liver function, just to name a few. Please note that similar to grapefruit, they can interact with certain medications so please check with your health care practitioner before enjoying goji berries.
To begin, soak your goji berries. This is easy to do, just takes time and a little planning ahead. Start with 1/4 cup dried goji berries, 1 knob fresh peeled ginger, and 16 ounces filtered water. Add to a glass jar:
After at least 2 hours or (even better) overnight, it will look like this:
Add to a high-speed blender and blend until smooth. You will end up with a beautiful "juice" that is ready to combine with our favorite mixers - lime juice and sparkling water.
¼ cup dried goji berries, soaked overnight (or ~8 hours)
1-inch knob fresh ginger (~ 1 TB)
16 ounces filtered water (or use combination ½ water, ½ coconut water)
3 fresh lemons or limes
16 ounces sparkling water
1 TB raw or manuka honey, or to taste
Extra soaked goji berries, citrus slices, fresh mint, optional for garnish
Add goji berries, ginger and water to a large glass container and allow to soak overnight or at least 2 hours.
In the morning, or when ready, add the goji berries, ginger and their soaking juice to a blended and blend until smooth. Pour into a glass container (through a strainer if desired) and if not using right away, store in fridge until ready to use.
When ready to serve, Divide the juice into 6 glasses and add ½ cup juice to each glass. Add 1-2 TB fresh lemon or lime juice, and another ½ cup sparkling water. Taste and add honey if desired. Note: if you’ve soaked with ½ coconut water, you may not need to add any sweetener.
Serve garnished with extra berries, fresh mint and/or a slice of citrus if desired.
Pineapple Chia Fresca
Serves 2 Prep time: 15-20 minutes (includes soaking time)
Chia seeds boast many health benefits, including fiber (11 grams per ounce!), protein (4 grams per ounce), vitamins, minerals (esp. calcium, potassium and magnesium) and antioxidants (including quercetin). Chia seeds are also hydrophilic, meaning they absorb and hold onto water. This helps keep you hydrated, especially during the cold and dry winter months. Distance runners often drink a glass of chia water before embarking on ultra-distance runs through the desert.
3 cups fresh pineapple chunks
2 cups filtered water
1 TB chia seeds (any color)
Juice of 1 lime
Fresh mint leaves and extra lime and/or pineapple slice, optional for garnish
Add pineapple and water to a high-speed blender and blend until smooth.
Strain through a fine-mesh colander or sieve. Reserve pulp for smoothies.
Mix pineapple juice, chia seeds and lime juice in a glass jar. Stir well.
Allow the mixture to sit in fridge for 10 minutes. This will allow better digestibility.
Stir again and serve with optional garnishes.
Thai Nice Tea
Prep time: 10 minutes
Dandelion root is rich in soluble fiber (inulin) that helps support gut bacteria, stimulate digestion and aid detoxification. Dandelion root is also rich in antioxidants that help fight free radicals and reduce oxidative stress. Studies have also shown in non-human studies to reduce cholesterol, balance blood sugar and lower blood pressure. This makes a refreshing cold drink that is also delicious enjoyed warm.
Note: If you are taking medications, check with your health care practitioner about potential drug interactions before enjoying dandelion root.
1 cup brewed dandelion tea (sub powdered Dandy Tea or chicory or similar)*
1 ounce jalapeno syrup (recipe below)
1-ounce almond milk
Dehydrated orange slice (or sub fresh)
Set a kettle of filtered water to boil. When water boils, add 8 ounces to the a mug or heat-proof glass with 1-2 dandelion tea bags. Steep for 10 minutes, remove tea bags and cool.
When your tea has cooled, add 1-ounce syrup and 1-ounce almond milk to a tall glass filed with ice. Garnish with a dehydrated or fresh orange slice
Makes ~½ cup
Prep time: 10 minutes plus one hour cooling time
¼ cup filtered water
¼ cup maple syrup
1 jalapeno, cut in half, seeds removed
Glass jar with a tight-fitting lid
Set a kettle of filtered water to boil.
While the water comes to a boil, prepare your syrup. In a small saucepan, add maple syrup, filtered water, and jalapeno. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Cover and allow to sit for one hour.
Remove jalapeno and store in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid in the fridge until ready to use.
*there are many coffee alternatives on supermarket shelves, including dandelion root (tea bags and powdered form), chicory root (such as teacheeno brand), and one of our favorites, THIS coffee alternative blend. Pick one to try and if you don’t like it, try another next time. You may find you feel better swapping out your coffee.
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