It’s the most wonderful time of the year . . . or not. With all the temptations that accompany this time of year, it can be hard to stay healthy and strong during the winter.
Whether you are being tempted by pumpkin pie or a festive cocktail, our health always seems to fall to the back burner during the holidays. For me, one of my weaknesses has always been coffee. As a nurse first and then a mom, coffee had pulled me through stressful and early mornings (or late nights) on a busy surgical unit. It gave me the strength to tend to my wide-awake toddler after a sleepless night with a newborn.
It was my reward on difficult “mommying” days where it seemed everything was just . . . hard. Only a few hours later I would feel jittery, dehydrated, and then even more tired than I was before my coffee! I was looking for something that would give me energy, be as delicious as coffee, hydrate, and boost my immune system or benefit me in some way.
A few years ago, as I started becoming more interested in herbal medicine, I soon discovered several coffee alternatives that made me feel healthy, energized, and happy!
Here are four drinks to try this winter that are delicious and will keep you healthy! And don’t worry; I won’t pry that coffee out of your fingers! You can drink these in addition to that daily coffee!
1. ROASTED DANDELION ROOT
If you are looking for something that tastes a lot like coffee but without the caffeine, roasted dandelion root is for you. Dandelion, often considered a pesky weed, could be one of the most beneficial and nutritive plants in your yard. This coffee-like beverage is considered a bitter which helps stimulate digestion. It also helps cleanse the liver and flush toxins out of the body which makes it a great hot beverage for the overindulgence of the holiday season. You can find Roasted Dandelion Root at most grocery stores near the tea by Traditional Medicinals.
2. ADAPTOGENIC COFFEE
Turn your regular old cup o’ joe into SUPER coffee! Recently I tried this adaptogenic coffee alternative by RASA and fell in love. You may be wondering “what is an adaptogen anyway?” Adaptogens are herbs that help your body (and emotions) adapt to stressors. They promote homeostasis in your body and will help you not flip out when, say, you find green slime smeared on your couch. (I may speak from experience here!) Adaptogens will support the immune system so you are more resistant to the bugs you are exposed to this winter. You can drink RASA on its own or you can add it to your regular brewed coffee. By reducing your anxiety and stress, your immune system will be stronger and more ready to fight illness. Talk about multitasking!
3. GOLDEN MILK
Golden milk is named such because of its gorgeous golden yellow color from its main ingredient, turmeric. This drink is caffeine-free, but turmeric has a way of giving you a peaceful energy and it’s so delicious! Turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory which can fight cold and flu symptoms, depression, help relieve pain, and it has anti-tumor properties so it can even help prevent cancer. It can also reduce the growth of fat cells! Yes, please! Fresh or powdered turmeric can be combined with clove, cinnamon, and black pepper (to improve absorption) and brewed or mixed into your favorite milk for a tasty way to get your daily dose. I love to add some cayenne pepper and sea salt to mine, sweetened with raw honey. Wellness Mama has a quick and easy recipe to try.
4. HIBISCUS TEA
Hibiscus tea is tangy, tart, and a breath of fresh air in the winter months, reminding us that spring is right around the corner. It is high in antioxidants, antiviral (to help you beat that annoying cold), and is cardio-protective by lowering cholesterol and high blood pressure. Hibiscus can also improve weight loss and help prevent weight gain by blocking sugar and starch absorption. What’s the coolest thing about hibiscus tea? It’s pink or red when it’s brewed depending on how long you steep it! This is a great tea to make for your kids. Just add some honey or stevia, call it Christmas tea or Princess tea, and have a tea party with your kids! Your kids will love it . . . win-win!