Happy New Year and welcome to my first blog of the year. As a new decade dawns and the excesses of the holiday season fade into the distance it’s the time of year that we start thinking about getting healthy. We tend to concentrate a lot on what we will eat but what we drink is important too. I thought a few healthy drinks suggestions would be useful so I’ve gathered together a collection of Healthy Drinks You Will Love.
For those in a hurry here’s a brief outline, its about a 10 minute read.
- Reasons Why You Need Healthy Drinks Alternatives
- The Ultimate Way to Drink Your Water
- To replace the alcohol
- To replace the coffee and tea
- To replace the sugary drinks
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Reasons Why You Need Healthy Drinks Alternatives
We talk a lot about what we should eat to stay healthy and to help us stay slim but what we are drinking counts too.
For me this post on this particular week is doubly meaningful because on Monday January 6th I celebrate one year…52 weeks…365 days without alcohol!!! It’s my Soberversary!!! A fact I can hardly believe myself, but it’s true. Cheers🥳
I can’t say it’s been hard because really it hasn’t, it’s been a doddle. You might expect me to talk in detail about how I struggled without alcohol at parties and social occasions, but for the most part that’s not true. In actual fact I’ve been loving my life without it.
What has helped alot though, especially in the early days while I was still getting used to the idea, was the replacement drinks I chose. I hate fizzy sweet drinks, well, all sweet drinks actually.
I replaced my alcoholic drinks with grown up drinks… drinks that made me feel special…drinks that felt special to drink… drinks that looked special, that added a bit of theatre to the occasion.
Of course healthy drinking isn’t just about excellent replacements for alcohol. I gave up tea and coffee many moons ago so I have a fair few alternatives for this type of drink up my sleeve too.
And as I said I hate sweet drinks so I have several drinks that I drink when others would choose a sweet, soft drink.
There are many reasons to be looking for healthy drinks alternatives. Here’s a few:-
- Avoiding or cutting down on sugar laden drinks.
- Avoiding too much caffeine.
- Finding alternatives to alcohol for the drivers.
- Finding alternatives to alcohol for those on a break from alcohol or those who want to quit altogether.
- If you just want to cut down on your coffee or tea or give it up altogether
- if youre trying to avoid dairy or if you’re lactose intolerant.
What follows now are my suggestions for healthy drinks alternatives. Most of these are my personal favourites and I wholeheartedly recommend them.
The Ultimate Way to Drink Water
We need water to live but it can be a bit boring right? A nice glass of chilled sparkling water with a slice of lemon and/or lime can really hit the spot when out and about but you don’t really want to be having your full recommended daily water intake with gas included!!! It’s a good idea to find a still water drink that you like to help you reach your recommended daily water intake of 6-8 glasses per day.
The Ultimate Way to Drink Water – Not only does it taste great but your adding extra nutrients too. I give you;-
Fruit Infused water
- Get a Mason Jar
- Add one lemon sliced and/or
- One lime sliced
- Fresh Mint (a large handful)
- Add Water to the top of the jar
- Chill and infuse over night, wake up and start sipping as soon as you wake up and for the rest of the day. Honestly delcious!
As an alternative to lemon, lime and mint try:
- Orange slices and cardomam
- Berries and basil
- Lemon and rosemary
- Cucumber and mint or dill
- Anything you fancy
To Replace the Alcohol
What I’ve discovered over my alcohol free year is that alot of it is just about theatre when it comes to our drinks. We want something pretty to look at , something that looks special so that we can treat ourselves after a hard day, or that feels like it goes with that amazing meal we’ve just cooked. I’ve come up with some wine replacements and mocktails that do just that, here are a few of my favourites.
Friexenet Alcohol Free Cava – as an ex wine drinker and cava lover I can honestly say that this is great. It’s not sweet, it tastes like cava without the poisonous aftertaste, it’s fairly inexpensive (currently £4.50 from Tesco or Morrisons), it looks the part and it comes guilt and hangover free. You can buy it in Rose or White, both are lovely. I serve mine with a frozen organic raspberry at the bottom of my glass and the best thing is… you can even drink it for breakfast!!!
Hibiscus Tea – Red Wine
I first came across Hibiscus in Phuket, Thailand. It was in a fantastic little cafe that served organic food and amazing, raw desserts. After ordering a set meal of soup , curry and salad it came with a drink on the side called Rosella, which I found out later was in fact cold hibiscus tea. The drink was served with a jug of syrup to sweeten it. When I tasted it, it was very bitter, but what I found is that if I drank it after I ate some food it was really good at cleaning the palate and the bitterness was not an issue. It tastes good too a bit like unsweetened cranberry juice.
For me it has several similiarities to red wine. As you can see from the above picture which is in fact hibiscus tea not red wine, it looks exactly like it. This really helps with the theatre at the table. It looks the part and feels very familiar. It also washes down and cuts through the food in the same way as red wine does.
You may have to work to like it (in much the same way as you probably worked to like red wine) but it is worth it.
Hibiscus has some truly amazing health benefits. It is full of anti-oxidants and is particularly renowned for lowering the blood pressure Personally, I already have quite low blood pressure so I make sure not to drink too much of it. I stick to just one large glass per day with my evening meal. Click Here to read an excellent article which outlines the many benefits of drinking hibiscus tea.
Hibiscus Tea – How to Make It:-
- I use a glass teapot with an infuser section
- Fill the infuser section half full with hibiscus flowers
- Add boiling water to fill the teapot
- Leave to cool and refrigerate overnight
- You can bottle this, it will keep for a few days
Notes -Apparently you can use the flowers a few times although I don’t, I use a fresh batch every time. I like it strong.
It’s important that you buy quality tea. Not teabags with hibiscus dust mixed with god knows what. You can buy organic, whole dried hibiscus flowers. If you have no local supplier you can buy them on Amazon.
Please note:- I have no affiliate links with any company whatsover. I’m genuinely recommending where I buy them from myself to help you out in sourcing the best ones.
Mines a ‘Gin and Tonic‘
Sometimes I have a healthy ‘gin’ and tonic or should I say seedlip and fevertree light. I’ve noticed these are becoming pretty mainstream but thought I’d mention them here for those who haven’t come across them yet.
Seedlip is an alcohol free ‘gin’ which comes in three varieties = grove, garden and spice. Each of these have different botanicals and flavours, there are no calories in them and the ingredient list seems relatively harmless.
Fevertree light offers many different varieties of tonic water (and a mean ginger ale). The great thing about them is that they don’t use unhealthy artificial sweeteners neither are they laden with sugar. Instead they have a little sugar in them which makes them taste much better, and of course they are much better for your health and your waistline. Just be careful though you have to pick the fevertree light options as they also do full sugar versions too.
Seedlip and Fevertree light are widely available at most supermarkets in the UK.
Of course there’s loads and loads of mocktails you can make with various fresh fruits, juices and herbs. My favourite is a skinny virgin mojito.
Skinny Virgin Mojito
- Juice of 1 fresh lime.
- Raw honey to taste (suggest half teaspoon).
- Handful of mint. Crush it in a tall glass along with the lime and honey.
- Add ice to three quarters up the glass.
- Fill remainder with fevertree light or sparkling water.
- Decorate top with a sprig of mint and a slice of lime
Make Your Drinks interesting and colourful
Use natural colours and flavours to make them exciting, that’s fairly easy when using natural products like fruits and herbs.
You can also use Butterfly peas flowers (another Thai discovery) to colour other wise boring drinks. They turn drinks various shades of blue or purple/pink when mixed with citrus. You can buy these dried flowers from Amazon, they last forever since you only need a few to colour your drinks.
To Replace Coffee or Tea
Of course there is nothing wrong with drinking tea and coffee in moderation but here’s some healthy alternatives in case you want to cut down or just for a change.
Coconut Milk – My homemade Recipe
- Dried coconut (unsweetened chips or dessicated)
- Vanilla, a few drops to taste (fresh,essence, paste…)
Put all ingredients in your blender (high speed works best) at the highest setting and blitz until your milk starts to get warm. Squeeze milk through a nut milk bag into a large jug and that’s it made. Transfer into a sealable glass bottle and store in the fridge. It should keep fresh for around 3 days but will probably be gone by then.
Some more tips:-
- Drink it warmed but don’t overheat it, it tastes better and will preserve all nutrients.
- You can add spices like cinamon and dried ginger.
- If you really want to you can sweeten with a little raw honey or coconut sugar. Personlly I find it sweet enough.
You can also make the very popular Golden Turmeric Latte.
Contains turmeric, a much revered superfood. Click here for my recipe from a recent blog post of mine which was all about the health and beauty benefits of coconut.
We all know how to make this. The trick is don’t buy sugary hot chocolate powder buy actual cocoa powder and skip adding sugar. I make it just with boiling water and just drink it straight or add a little of my homemade coconut milk. There are a few good brands, I always use Green and Blacks Organic Cocoa.
If you enjoy a coffee espresso shot you will probably enjoy a chocolate one even more. Here’s how:-
- Around 25g (about one quarter of one of the blocks) of Willies 100% Cacao (available at Waitrose)
- An espresso shot cup of water
- Put both in a pot and heat until chocolate is melted and mixed into the water.
- Pour into an espresso shot cup and drink.
Genmaicha – Japanese brown rice tea,
A personal favourite and again I discoverd this in Asia, this time Penang, Malaysia. If you like the burnt sticky rice at the bottom of your rice cooking pot you’ll love this. If not try it anyway, it’s funky and really grows on you.
You can drink it hot or cold to suit yourself. It’s basically green tea mixed with popped brown rice. Click here to find out more about it in wikipedia.
To make it you steep in boiled water for a few minutes to taste. You can buy good quality Genmaicha from Amazon. Yamamotoyama brand is the only one I’ve tried and very good. I’ve generally bought mine on my travels in Asia and it lasts forever. You could also try your local chinese supermarket or Japanese restaurant.
Pukka Organic herbal teas
There is a huge variety and all are good according to your own personal taste. My favourites are three ginger and wild apple and cinamon. Pukka is a good solid company with high food and environmental standards.
You can buy it online or at your local supermarket.
To Replace the Sugary Drinks
Drinking our calories is really bad news. Especially when the calories are coming from the sugar. If you’re addicted to sugary, sweet drinks I definately advise you to wean yourself off this habit as a matter of urgency. Drinking sugar is a major cause of obesity and it’s related health issues. Not to mention the damage drinking sugar is doing to your teeth. Below are a few suggestions for healthy replacements:-
Fruit Infused Water
As described above. This is my number one recommendation. It doesn’t get any better.
An excellent brand of soft drinks with the light variety being very low in sugar rather than full of chemical artificial sweeteners. A staple in my drinks cabinet. As a soft drink replacement I would choose Ginger Ale Light or you could try mixing the following delicious drink.
- Half fill a tall glass with ice
- Squeeze in juice of half a grapefruit
- Fill glass with fevertree aromatic light.
- Decorate top with a stick of rosemary or a stick of lemon grass
Fresh out of the coconut is premium… but the chances are you don’t live in an area that has these readily available. If you live in the UK Marks and Spencer do a coconut water fresh in the coconut. Pricey but nice if you can afford it or for a treat.
You can also buy from a carton. To be honest it’s not something I do alot as it is processed but I will occasionally have one of these. Check the carton, you’re looking for ‘not made from concentrate’ and you also don’t want added sugar or chemicals. Here’s an excellent article on the best coconut waters if you are interested in learning more.
I have to fess up here and say I still haven’t made my own kombucha. I guess that means I don’t need it in my life… I have to mention it here though as Kombucha has many heathy benefits and apparently tastes awesome and so is an excellent healthy drink. I really must get around to making it. Here’s an excellent article on why.
Please don’t replace your sugary soft drinks with the diet versions. These are proven to be extremely unhealthy and do not help keep you slim. Below is an clip from my earlier blog post ‘Let Food Be Thy Medicine’ click here to read the whole post.
‘Soft drinks were also under fire this month, September 2019, when the public were urged to drink water instead. A massive scientific study has found a higher risk of early death linked with both sugary and artificially sweetened soft drinks. The sugary ones most linked with digestive issues (like liver disease) and the artificially sweetened ones with cardiovascular disease. Read a balanced article about if here by The GUARDIAN‘
So there you have my Healthy Drinks You Will Love suggestions. I hope you try them out and love them. Let me know how you get on in the comments section below and I would also love to see your healthy drinks suggestions down there.
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