So, it may come as a shock to the system to suddenly go from enjoying a daily glass of red wine to riding a wagon with a cold turkey, but one of the main instigators of this diet was to go alcohol free.
Being a cancer survivor, I’d already read the several articles surrounding sugar and alcohol – especially when it comes to a hormonal centered cancer. (You can read more about my journey here.)
Water and herbal tea wasn’t going to fill the void. Tea is great. I love it before bed and we all know that everyone should be drinking more water – but it’s boring!
So breaking a habit can be tough, but not when you fill it’s void with something healthy and delicious. Kombucha is a great first place to start. Popular and abundant, it’s also pretty easy to get started. I bought a raw bottle of it from a Farmer’s Market. I poured about a ½ cup into a ramekin and covered it for about a week or so. Left at room temperature, it didn’t take long to form it’s own SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria + yeast). The SCOBY took the size and shape of the ramekin and formed an opaque disk over the kombucha below. I brewed some strong, black tea, added sugar to sweeten and feed the SCOBY before adding it to the cooled tea. I left it for about 10 days and checked it for readiness! Since then, I’ve added new flavours and teas and the results have been great.
Next up was Switchel. If you haven’t heard of this, it’s an old concoction that is based on apple cider vinegar. Once called a Haymakers Punch, this drink originated as the first Gatorade. Refueling farmers from tough summer work, it’s more beneficial and rejuvenating than lemonade. Essentially, it’s a diluted vinegar drink, but to make it more satisfying and fun, I’ve added a drop of maple syrup, lemon peel, lemon juice and a rosemary sprig. I leave the mixture to “steep” then add a few tablespoons to water to taste. Try it!
Lastly, was water kefir. Always wanting to get good bacteria to help restart my gut, I’d read about water kefir. Similar to it’s milky cousin, it has grains that will ferment sweetened water. The grains must be ordered on line, then simply added to sweetened water for about 48 hours.
I love ginger, so I’ll add sliced ginger to the water and again when I bottle it to double ferment it. The second ferment will make it slightly bubbly and similar to gingerale. Almost any flavour can be added; like blood orange! That one above was delicious!
Finding these drinks made it easy to break the evening wine habit. Slightly tart, customizable in flavours, they really hit the spot in my old wine glass. Not to mention they’re healthier and add great bacteria to my diet.