3 Healthy Summertime Mocktails – Guest Post by Jacqueline from Sweet Beet & Green Bean

3 Healthy Sumertime Mocktails Recipes

Jacqueline Gabardy, L.Ac.Today’s guest post was written by our Associate Acupuncturist Jacqueline Gabardy, L.Ac. who blogs about health, nutrition and recipes at Sweet Beet & Green Bean.
 

 Whether you don’t drink at all or you are just trying to cut back, mocktails are an alcohol-free, refreshing way to enjoy a drink with friends on a warm summer day.  These incorporate ingredients like aloe juice, raw apple cider vinegar, and coconut water, which all have important health benefits.  They’re super easy to make, too!

Are you a tired pregnant or nursing mom?   Trying to conceive?  Suffering from digestive problems or chronic pain?  Alcoholic drinks may be off limits for you, but these mocktails can actually help you feel bright and shiny without any side effects.

 

The Aloe-jito

Recipe
3-4 sprigs of fresh mint
1/2 a lime
1-2 tbsp sugar, honey, maple syrup or agave (to your taste)
2 oz aloe juice
Sparkling water

 

A take on the classic mojito, the aloe-jito uses aloe juice in place of rum.  Aloe Vera juice is a healing and soothing tonic in small amounts.  It can detoxify, moisten and cool the body, clear skin, and soothe the digestive tract.

Drinking aloe can relieve constipation because it has a mild laxative effect, so don’t overdo it on the dosage.  1-2 ounces per day is a enough for most people; you may want to start with a smaller dose if you are prone to loose stools.

To make this mocktail, use a tall glass and add the lime (cut into smaller pieces) and mint leaves into the bottom and muddle them well.  If you don’t have a muddler,  you can use the handle of a wooden spoon.  Once muddled well, add the sugar and mix well.  I have used raw honey for this before, but it doesn’t mix in quite that well; I find maple or agave syrup work better.  How much sugar you use will depend on your taste, I found 1 tablespoon to be plenty.  Then add a few ice cubes and pour over the aloe juice, top with sparkling water and garnish with a lime wedge and another sprig of mint.

You can also make this recipe without the aloe and it is still quite refreshing.

 

Strawberry Shrub Soda Recipe

Recipe
2-3 tbsp homemade strawberry shrub (see below)
About 8 oz sparkling water
 
Basic Shrub
1 part fruit
1 part vinegar
1 part sugar

 

Shrub is a traditional vinegar-based syrup that is often used to make soda.  In Chinese Medicine, small amounts of sour foods like vinegar are beneficial to the Liver system.  Especially healthy are the naturally fermented vinegars like raw apple cider vinegar which contains probiotics that support digestive health.  When added into the diet in small amounts, apple cider vinegar can support digestive and immune health.

By making shrub with apple cider vinegar it becomes much more palatable because of the hint of fruit flavor and sweetness.  Also, by mixing up a big batch of shrub it makes it much easier to incorporate into your daily diet or to serve to a big group of people.

The fruit for the shrub should be finely chopped up first and added in after the vinegar and sugars are mixed well; I find a mason jar is best for this.  Once mixed together, the shrub needs to sit in the fridge for at least 1 day but up to 1 week, the fruit flavor will intensify the longer it sits.  After a week, strain the mixture to remove the fruit.  You can use the fruit in a smoothie if you don’t want to waste it, but it’s a little sour to eat on its own and you can’t leave it in the shrub indefinitely.

I used local raw honey as the sugar in this recipe, and the apple cider vinegar dissolves it well, but granulated cane sugar, maple syrup or agave syrup would all work.  You can also try different variations of fruits and vinegars to see what you like the best!

I like to serve the shrub soda over a large ice cube and I find about 2-3 tablespoons of shrub per cup of sparkling water is the right balance.  Obviously you can play around with it and find what ratio works best for you.

 

Pina Colada Cooler Recipe

Recipe
1/2 cup frozen pineapple
1/2 banana
1/2 cup coconut water
1/4 cup coconut cream
ice cubes (optional)

 

While we usually don’t recommend too many cold foods to our patients, an icy beverage is sometimes the only thing that feels refreshing when the weather gets really hot.

This recipe is more or less a traditional Piña Colada without the rum.  Most traditional colada recipes just use coconut cream, which is a great source of healthy saturated fats and has anti-fungal properties, plus it serves as a delicious creamy alternative for those who are dairy sensitive.  I’ve also included some coconut water in this recipe because it’s so high in electrolytes that it works well to keep us hydrated during those hot summer days.  In addition to the usually pineapple and coconut ingredients, I’ve added in half a banana for a little extra sweetness and creaminess.

Preparation of this drink is as simple as blending all the ingredients together, and topping with a tropical drink umbrella if you have one on hand!  You can add a few ice cubes to the mix if you want it to be thicker and colder, but I didn’t find it needed them.

Try these and let us know what you think in the comments section!

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Boost Qi and Blood with a Slow-Cooked Winter Stew

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the ancient yet Modern approach to treating the whole person with acupuncture, herbal medicine, nutrition and bodywork, is about 5,000 years old.  It is a system of internal medicine that uses tongue and pulse diagnosis, along with attentive listening and looking at the person, to address a wide range of issues including but not limited to pain, stress, depression, anxiety, digestive problems, infertility, general health and longevity.

The Ancient Chinese considered food and herbs to be medicine; Modern Nutrition that is inspired by Traditional Chinese Medicine uses food and herbs to nourish Qi and Blood.  It looks at the effect a particular food has on the body, rather than how many grams of iron it contains in a laboratory; does it warm us up or cool us down?  Does it move Qi or help us make more yin or yang?  Raw lettuce eaten by one individual in the summer might make her feel energetic, yet when eaten in February, it might make her bloated, tired, and gassy.

The average American today is deficient in Qi (a.k.a. energy or Life Force), which can show up as fatigue, depression, sluggish digestion, bloating, and loose stools, among other things.  Many Americans are also deficient in Blood (they may be anemic, pale, prone to irregular periods, light-headedness, insomnia, have difficulty concentrating or poor memory), as is anyone who has lost blood via menstruation, childbirth, or trauma.

The good thing is that we can make more Qi and Blood by eating the right foods, herbs, doing regular exercise, getting acupuncture, and reducing stress.  In Winter, we should eat warming foods such as organic grass-fed beef, bison, lamb and chicken, sweet potatoes, dark leafy green vegetables, barley and brown rice.  We should avoid cold and raw foods.  In the Summer, it’s best to eat more cooling foods, including brightly colored fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans, and fish.

I like to think that the best medicine is located within us; we are all our own greatest healers.  We are what we eat, of course, and the importance of eating locally grown, seasonal and organic food is even more important in this day and age of genetically modified foods and packaged everything.

In my opinion, there’s nothing more healing than cooking a meal with ingredients I bought at the Pasadena farmer’s market (while wearing my 6-month-old in a sling and pushing my 2-and-a-half-year-old in a jogging stroller), washing the veggies with help from the kids, chopping them mindfully, picking a few herbs from the garden, and putting everything together into a yummy winter stew.  (Find your own SoCal farmer’s market here).

The slow-cooker (a.k.a Crock Pot), while a modern invention, is quite suited to Chinese Nutrition (not to mention the Slow Food Movement) because it heats food at low temperatures (180-280 degrees) over a long period of time (6-9 hours).  It’s incredibly useful for those of us who are big on good intentions but short on time; we want to prepare healthy and delicious meals for our families but are overwhelmed by the demands of work and family.  A good 6-quart slow-cooker is a busy parent’s best friend.  You can get a nice one at Williams-Sonoma or Sur La Table, or a perfectly good one (perhaps from the 1970’s) at a yard sale.

Here, I share with you a recipe I’ve developed for the slow-cooker; it is just as good cooked in my favorite stoneware Dutch oven, but that involves more preparation and oven-watching time (which can be nice and meditative, if there’s extra hands around my house to keep an eye on the kids).  The great thing about this slow-cooker version is you can prep it in the morning, turn on the slow-cooker, completely forget about it, and dinner will be ready 8 hours later.  Slow Food for a Fast-Paced Life.

Abigail’s Winter Stew

Serves 6-8, or a family of 4 with leftovers

(Inspired by a recipe from my grandmother, Jeanne O’Sullivan Sachs, along with inspiration from “Not Your Mother’s Slow-Cooker Cookbook” by Beth Hensperger and “Feeding The Whole Family” by Cynthia Lair.  These are two excellent, highly-recommended cookbooks.)

All vegetables should be organic and preferably bought locally

2 lb boneless chuck grass-fed beef (ideally organic and locally grown)

2 medium red onions, chopped

4 lg. carrots, chopped

2 parsnips, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

8-12 small boiling potatoes (fingerling, Yellow Finn or Yukon Gold)

1 28-oz can organic whole peeled tomatoes

1 T. cumin

1 Bay Leaf

Pinch cayenne

Sea Salt (to taste)

Black pepper

1 T. Olive Oil

2 c. beef broth (make your own or use store-bought)

1 c. good red wine (Syrah or Zinfandel work well)

1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped

1. Coat slow-cooker with olive oil, using a cloth napkin to distribute it around the stoneware insert.

2. Saute onions and celery in a pan until translucent.  Add garlic and a pinch of sea salt.  Cook another 5 minutes.  Remove from heat.

3. In a bowl, combine flour, salt and pepper.  Toss the beef in the mixture, shaking off excess flour, and place on a plate.

4. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.  Brown the meat in batches, gently stirring, making sure all sides get browned.  Add more olive oil to the skillet when necessary.

5.  Place the potatoes, carrots, parsnips and celery on the bottom of the slow-cooker.

6. Place the browned meat on a plate covered with a muslin cloth or paper towel, blotting up excess oil, and then transfer the meat to the slow-cooker.

7. Add the onion, celery and garlic mixture to the slow-cooker, stirring gently to make sure they are distributed throughout the dish.

8. In a bowl, mix together the red wine, beef broth, cumin, and pinch of salt.  Pour into the slow-cooker.  Add the bay leaf.

9. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 to 9 hours.  (Check after 7 hours for doneness, and season w/ sea salt to taste at that point.)

10.  Discard the bay leaf.  Stir in the parsley, and serve the stew over brown rice.  I do believe this stew is best the next day.

(Post by Abigail Morgan, L.Ac, of FLOAT: Chinese Medical Arts.)