Category Archives: Beverages

Stress Less This Season and Enjoy Some Delicious Herbal Tea

I've got two great radio programs to share with you and they are actually related, for me anyway.  When I sit and enjoy a delicious cup of herbal tea, I relax and unwind a bit and the stress melts away or at least I don't think about the things causing stress for a few minutes while I enjoy my tea.

Female Wearing Christmas Hat by imagerymajestic at Freedigitalphotos.netThe first show broadcast on October 22, 2014 - "Stress Less During the Holidays".

For many the holidays mean sickness, stress, depression and lots of busyness.  We've got 10 tips to help you stress less, so take a listen.

Fall kicks off the holiday season helping us transition to the busyness that can dominate this time of the year.  Fall is a time to let go and clear out the clutter and negativity.

If you find yourself dreading the whirlwind of the last quarter, then tune in with us and learn how you can make the most of fall and the holiday season.

One of my keys is from KISS - Keep IT Simple and Special for the holiday and all year really.  You don't have to be brilliant, super crafty, witty, or any other trait you see shared all over the media and internet.  You just need to be you, and you are special just as you are.  Share the good times and moments with those you care about.

If you want to read more about managing stress during the holidays, check out my article on Your True Colours Magazine, page 37.

Chinese Style Herbal Floral Tea by KEKO64The second show aired on November 5, 2014 - "All About Herbal Tea or Rather Herbal Infusions"

Personally, I love sipping on herbal infusion, especially as the weather cools down.  In fact as I'm updating the blog - I'm drink a nice warm cup write now.

Many people think they don’t like herbal tea/infusions, but they have probably not enjoyed a good cup.  Tune in and learn all about the traditions of tea, types of tea and how to get a good cup.  There is nothing I love more than visiting a friend in the afternoon and enjoying good conversation, relaxation and a delicious cup of herbal tea.

Find out which tea has more antioxidants than green tea, making it the super star of tea without caffeine..... I'll give you  a hint, it comes from South America.

And, by the way, herbal tea is really an herbal infusion.  Green tea is really green tea infusion.  Join us and find out why.

Kally and MarkMark and Kally on the Get Real! with Mark and Kally show on Your True Colours Image Radio.

 

Photos by imagerymajestic and KEKO64 at Freedigitalphotos.net

Make Your Own Healthy Drinks at Home and Save Money

Lemon Juice
Lemon juice by dusky at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Experiment with these recipes and find more on your own. It will save you money, calories and will actually be better for you.  Once you start making healthy drinks, you wont want the commercial stuff as it just doesn't taste as good for feel as good to your body.  

Herbal Infusions

Many tell me it is hard to stay hydrated in the winter since they don’t want to drink water.  I love drinking herbal tea; warm all winter.  In the summer I drink it chilled.  But what I’m really drinking is an herbal infusion.  Check out this little overview of tea, mate, and infusions if you need a refresher.  I didn’t care for herbal ‘teas’ growing up as they were so ‘herby’ tasting.  But a wonderful friend of mine from Germany introduced me to herbal teas that tasted amazing.  America is catching on and we have some great combinations out there.  When we opened our store and I started buying the herbs in bulk, I couldn’t believe the flavor – fresh chamomile or peppermint makes a great tea and so different than some cheap prepackaged versions.  We have a wonderful line of herbal teas and mate.   You can make a whole pot of tea for the day and with a good mug it will even stay warm for hours.

 

Chamomile infusion
Chamomile tea by Marcus at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I use about 1 teaspoon of herbs to 1 cup hot water and let steep for at least five minutes.  Sometimes I forget and it steeps for an hour.  This is generally okay – some herbs can get bitter after that long.  Steeping means to put your herbs into a tea bag or tea ball and pour hot water (hot, not boiling) over in your cup.  Cover with a plate or lid and let it sit.  I sweeten with stevia.  Many people use honey or drink it just as it is.  You can even add lemon or lime juice or a bit of milk.  Herbal infusions are enjoyed for flavor, for medicinal value, for relaxation or as a ritual 'tea time'.  When thinking about healthy drinks, you just can't pass up the benefits of herbal tea or infusions.

My favorites:

  • Green yerba mate and peppermint with chocolate stevia
  • Chamomile, Peppermint and Red Raspberry leaf
  • Rooibus
  • Dark Roast Mate Blend
  • Forever Fruit from Frontier
  • Chai and Indian Spice Tea

Here is a great recipe for making an herbal electrolyte tea.

Electrolyte Drinks

Electrolytes are important because they are how your body carries electrical impulses and are essential for everything like the heart and the nervous system.  Without them you can easily become dehydrated.  But many sports drinks also contain lots of sugar.  An electrolyte drink is basically salts.  Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Lemon Lime Healthy Electrolyte Drink

Ingredients

  • 1 lemon (juiced)
  • 1 lime (juiced)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Himalayan Salt
  • 4 cups Water (filtered is best)
  • Stevia (or sweetener of choice)

Directions

Step 1 Juice the lemon and the lime. Mix in your Himalayan Salt and add approximately 4 cups of filtered water. You may want more or less to suit your taste. Generally for me 1 good sized lemon is enough for 2 cups of water. If my lime is really small, I may use 2 limes.
Step 2 I like using stevia to sweeten my food. But you can use anything. If you use raw honey you may want to heat 1 cup of your water to melt your honey in before adding all the other ingredients. Real maple syrup is another excellent sweetener that is full of wonderful minerals. If you want to use sugar, then at least use raw sugar.
Step 3 Mix every thing together and enjoy. Remember fresh squeezed is best for nutritional value. For a variation you can add the juice of 2 or more oranges.

 Coconut water is naturally high in electrolytes.  If you don’t want just plain coconut water, blend it up with fruit like berries.

Lemon Ginger Zinger Healthy Drink

Ingredients

  • Ginger root (about 1" by 1" slice)
  • 1 lemon (juiced)
  • 1/8 teaspoon Himalayan Salt
  • 2 cups water (filtered)
  • sweetener of choice

Directions

Step 1 You can add more or less ginger to suit your taste. Ginger is a wonderful herb to use. Always use fresh ginger root. Take your piece of ginger and cut off the peel and slice into about 5 pieces. Put in a pot with 1 cup of your water and cover with a lid. Gently simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. Do not boil. You can let it steep for an additional 10 minutes if you want.
Step 2 Strain out the ginger pieces and if you are using raw honey as your sweetener, add it to the warm water to mix in easier. Mix in your Himalayan salt, the additional cup of water and/or ice and stevia if using. Drink warm or chilled. If you drink it warm, then you can simmer the 2 cups of water with the ginger.
Step 3 Mint Variation - Lemon Ginger Mint Zinger
After simmering the ginger, add 1 to 2 teaspoons of dried mint leaves (or 2 to 4 teaspoons of fresh leaves) to the water with the ginger and let steep for 10 minutes. Continue with Step 2.
 

Himalayan Salt Sole

For a no frills basic electrolyte you can just mix some Himalayan salt into water and drink.  The citrus helps with the potassium but the Himalayan salt has 84 minerals.  There are many benefits of drinking Salt Sole.

To make the sole, which we keep in our kitchen all the time, you just take 3 large chunks of Himalayan salt and put into a glass jar with a lid about a pint in size.  Cover with filtered water and let sit for 24 hours.  As long as there is some salt in the jar, you have the perfect sole.  If your salt chunks dissolve, then add another one.  Take 1 teaspoon of this every morning straight up or in a glass of water.

I like to mix 1 teaspoon salt sole (that is the salty water from above) into 1 tablespoon raw apple cider vinegar with ½ cup water and 4 drops of stevia and drink.  This is my easy grab sports drink or how I start my morning.

Flavored Water

Some of you just don’t like to drink plain water.  Whether or not you like it, your body needs it! There are tons of ways you can enjoy your water.  One thing you might consider is that your water really doesn’t taste good and you may want to consider filtering your water.  We love our Nikken water system and all our customers think our regular tap water tastes pretty amazing once it is filtered to 0.02 microns clean (that means it is as clean as a kidney dialysis machine).  Send me an email if you would be interested in knowing more – it is actually affordable.

Carrot Juice
Carrot Juice by KEKO64 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Adding fruit to your water is an easy way to create a fun drink.  Think of frozen berries, slices of watermelon, cucumber slices, mint leaves, and more.  Here are some interesting recipes that you might not think of.  And here is another list of recipes you can try.

If you have the option of owning a juicer, fresh juices are a fantastic refreshing beverage that is much cheaper than buying the commercial version and so much healthier for you. 

It really doesn't take extra time to prepare beverages to drink.  You save a lot of money, get more value, save on calories and get a lot more nutrition. 

Coming up next in Part 4, I’ll share with you my favorite beverages.

What are your favorite recipes and drinks that you make at home?

Drink for your health!Kally Drink for your health

Kally

P.S.  I recently took a trip out of town for a week.  Guess what, no one made juice or any of the healthy drinks I normally do.  And, Mark could really feel it.  He was so excited for me to be home mixing up our healthy drinks.

The Good, The Bad, and the Tasteless of Beverages Part 2

Healthy drinks. What makes something good or bad for you? In other words, what makes a beverage supporting for your body or not?  There are many drinks on the market “claiming” to be healthy for you.  Are they really?  Can you trust the labels?  No.   Beside I can't even pronounce most of the words on some of these commercial beverages.  Why would I want to drink a chemical storm?

Now here is where it gets a little tricky.  Don't believe everything you hear.  Always look at the ingredients. I can't name all the products for a couple reasons. First, there are just too many and second, I don't want those big fishes coming after me.  They hold fast to the right to claim nutritious and healthy.   This is a follow up article from my post Healthy Drinks Part 1.  So if you missed reading that, go check it out for some supporting beverages.

Sweeteners and Calories

First of all - zero is not really zero (remind you of algebra?).  If you are going to market electrolytes, which are salty tasting, you need to add sweeteners and flavors.  Many sweeteners don't even have to be listed in the ingredients.  You have your sugar which can come from genetically modified beets or any number of the artificial sweeteners by their many names.  A popular one is sucralose and it is an artificial sweetener.  They are not broken down by the body and all artificial sweeteners should be avoided.  You can’t have something for nothing – it doesn’t exist.  If you actually get something with a good healthy sweetener like stevia – you will pay a lot more for it and if you are not, then you are not getting just stevia.  Stevia is a healthy no calorie sweetener made from a plant in South America.  I actually grow the plant in my yard and those leaves are rather sweet and tasty.

Did you know aspartame, one of the many artificial sweeteners, has known side effects that include headaches, anxiety, abdominal pain, nausea, heart palpitations, and irritable bowel syndrome among other unpleasant things?  Fake sugars increase your cravings for carbs and do not benefit you in anyway – even if you have diabetes.  In fact, it is worse for you.

Natural Flavors

Then you have your natural flavorings which might make your head spin if you knew where they came from. Natural doesn't always mean it is good for you or that you would even want it. If you really want to know more Lemonade by savit keawtavee at FreeDigitalPhotosabout so called 'natural flavoring' check this article out.

Sports Drinks

Electrolyte drinks were designed to hydrate you.  Electrolytes keep your body functioning as it should.  Do you really need an electrolyte drink full of refined salt and sugar and food coloring?  No you don’t.  In my next post I’ll share some homemade electrolyte drinks that will outshine any commercial versions.  It takes a good 60 minutes of high intensity training to really even need to supplement with electrolytes.  If you're not going hard at marathon training, chances are you're just filling up on unnecessary sugars, carbs, and calories.  Looking at the label, most of them don't resemble healthy drinks at all.

Coconut Water is becoming very popular as an electrolyte drink.  It has more potassium than four bananas and is very hydrating.   It is called Mother Nature's Sports Drink because it is naturally full of electrolytes.  Most brands have not added artificial ingredients. But always check your labels.  You don’t need to spend your money on this on a regular basis.  Many packaged coconut waters are loaded with more sugar than you need and most don’t actually contain the amount of potassium listed on the label.

Fruit Juice

Fruit juice counts as a serving of fruit doesn’t it?  No…UNLESS you are juicing it yourself fresh.  The stuff you buy in the store is pasteurized and there isn’t much nutritional value left.  Many of them contain high fructose corn syrup, sugar and fake sugars.  No value here.  What about store bought OJ – a staple of breakfast?  Companies will often add chemicals and flavors back into OJ during the pasteurization process, just to make it that much more appealing to the taste buds. It all comes down to sugar: one study in 2008 found that drinking just one glass of orange juice per day increased a person's risk for diabetes by 24 percent.  You are not off the hook by buying sugar free juice either.

Sodas

Don’t even get me started here.  I can’t find one redeeming quality to soda.  Avoid diet sodas like the plague they are.  A recent study followed 2,500 New Yorkers for 10 years. Those who drank diet soda every day were more likely to have a stroke, a heart attack, or even die from a cardiovascular disease.  Another showed that people were more likely to develop metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.

Powdered Drink Mixes

Powdered beverage mixes - you know those neat little packages.  Read the ingredients.  They are not what you think.  Many have an interesting blend of chemicals.  They get their bright colors from some unhealthy sources.  Food dyes are responsible for causing food sensitivities and hyperactivity and many other challenges.  I find it interesting when I visited Mexico and Europe that candy there is made with natural food dyes like beets and carrots.  Many countries recognize the risk and require regulations with food dyes.

Water Bottle by John Kasawa at FreeDigitalPhotosBottle Water

The only truly zero calorie beverage is water - filtered water.  All the bottled water I have tested is acidic and your body doesn't like that either.  Fiji Water is the only bottled water that is alkaline.  It has been in the news that you are paying a lot for bottled water that is no better than tap water.

The Good

Drink water and if that doesn’t quite do it for you, I’ll have some easy to make-at- home healthy drinks that will hydrate you and taste great in the next article.

If you really have to drink something on this list that isn’t good for you, well then make it an occasional thing like once in a blue moon.  I can’t even remember the last time I had a soda or some powdered Kally Efrosmix to drink.  There was a time I drank them all the time.  I know if I started up again, it would be easy to make it a regular habit.  But I care about my health way too much.  I have more energy than people half my age; I know I can live with that.

Do you have a regular drink you just have to have?  Leave a comment below if you would like me to make a suggestion for a healthier alternative.  If you have a good story to share about switching over to better beverages, share that with us as well so we can help each other.

Kally Efros
Indigo Mountain

Photos provided by FreeDigitalPhotos.net:  tivery lucky, John Kasawa, & savit keawtavee

Healthy Drinks Part 1

Are you one of the many people that want something besides water to drink?  There are so many products on the market these days and I am constantly asked what healthy drinks can you buy.  Here is my answer…not to many.   Once in a blue moon, one of the huge varieties of drinks won't hurt you, but many have side effects.  Face it folks, if it is in a bottle, can, or preserved in some commercial way, it most likely has junk in there that isn't good for you.  Remember, marketing on labels is designed to sell more product, not always to tell you the truth.

In this 4-part series I'll give you a run down on the good, the bad and the ugly on healthy drinks; some amazing recipes you can make at home that are full of nutrition and much cheaper than commercial options; and my general daily routine.

Everyone should start their day with a tall glass of water.  Water re-hydrates your body and wakes up the brain.  It helps improve digestion.   Drinking chilled water in the morning can even boost your metabolism, which can help you lose weight.  It also helps your body fight infections and supports the immune system.  Overall, it refreshes the whole body in preparation for a new day.  I drink Nikken alkaline filtered water.  It is pure, refreshing and loaded with trace minerals.  Drink the best water you can.  Most bottled water I check is acidic and cannot be utilized very well by the body.  Save your money on bottled water and invest in a filtration system.

We'll start with the good.

Fresh squeezed lemon in water helps to alkalize the body.  Lemons are packed with nutrients including potassium and Vitamin C.  It is an Lemon Water with Raspberriesexcellent way to start the day. For best results, drink on an empty stomach.  If possible, wait 15 minutes before eating.  Regardless of the timing, lemon in your water is beneficial anytime.   I like to add a little stevia to sweeten.  If you add warm water (which is recommended - but who wants warm lemon water - I drink it with room temperature water) you can add honey.  Avoid using sugar to sweeten.  Instead look for healthy sweeteners, if you need one.  If you have sensitive teeth, use a straw.  Not only is lemon water packed with nutrients, it boosts your immune system, flushes toxins, aids digestion, and reduces inflammation.  Cost is low compared to commercial drinks flavored with unnatural lemon flavoring and inorganic vitamins added.  Make it a lemon/lime drink by mixing 50/50.

Salt Sole with Himalayan salt is another excellent way to get your electrolytes and trace minerals.  Himalayan salt is the best salt to use with 84 minerals in it to nourish your body.  It is far superior to table salt.  You can chug-a-lug a salty teaspoon or mix in water, lemon water, or even vinegar.  One teaspoon each morning is recommended.   If you are doing some heavy workouts you may want another teaspoon with the work out.  It supplies your body with ionized minerals that stay in the body for 24 hours and helps to balance the body pH.  It may actually lower blood pressure – what, salt????  Yes, that is what the studies show.  It is the real deal while table salt is not - that is a substance that has been modified and no longer helps the body.   Some of the benefits include reduced cravings, cleansing, anti-histamine, helps prevent varicose veins, eases muscle cramps, and the list goes on.  It is easy to make.  Purchase about 3 chunks of Himalayan salt (about 8 to 9 ounces) - this might set you back a couple of dollars.  Put those salt chunks in a glass jar with a lid, like a pint canning jar.  Fill the jar with filtered water and let sit for 24 hours.  As long as you see salt chunks in the water, you have the perfect salinity.  If you don't, get another salt chunk.   Keep on the counter and take 1 teaspoon each morning.   The cost is less than a penny a serving.  You just can't beat that price and no unwanted stuff.

Raw apple cider vinegar or ACV has been around for decades and with good reason.  You need the raw, unpasteurized stuff with the 'mother', the stringy floaties in the good stuff.  It is full of enzymes and healing bacteria for the gut.  It helps to lower blood sugar levels and may help with weight loss.    It may also help relieve gas, bloating and heartburn. It promotes alkalinity in the body.  Take 1 tablespoon 1 or 2 times daily as needed.  Put it in a glass of water, juice, herbal tea or on top of a salad.  I like mine in water with a couple of drops of stevia.  Cost is pretty affordable compared to commercial drinks.  Bragg's is a pretty good brand, but there are some others that are even better and barrel cured.  Dr. Christopher's brand is an excellent source.

Kombucha  can be purchased or made at home.  You can expect to pay around $3 per bottle.  There are many benefits of this 'elixir of life' which has been around for over 2,000 years.  It may aid digestion, in fact many people have been able to get off their prescription antacids.  It is a naturally fermented probiotic beverage.  It helps to detoxify the body.  When the body is able to get rid of toxins, it can heal the body of many diseases.  Many people claim to have halted cancer with kombucha.  It supports the joints and helps relieve arthritis.  It is high in anti-oxidants which everybody needs.  More anti-oxidants improve your immune system.  Many people note that their cravings diminish or go away and report an increase of energy.

Herbal Tea you can easily make yourself or buy at a coffee shop.  The stuff you buy in the store in a bottle most of the time has artificial sweeteners or sugar.  Many people turn their noses up at herbal tea.  I know I did for years.  But, it is a wonderful beverage that has lots of health benefits.   You can drink your tea, which is really an infusion, warm or cold.  And if you need some help, ask us we carry a delicious line of herbal teas, Rooibus, and Mate.

With a little planning ahead you can take along any of the healthy drinks listed above, save money, and really be getting a nutritious, healthy beverage.

Check out part 2 for some of the not so good options out there.

Kally EfrosWhat are your healthy drinks?  Are you a water drinker?   Post your answers below.

In the meantime, remember always reach for that glass of water; it does a body good.

Kally Efros
Indigo Mountain:  Wellness, Toys, & Gifts

pictures Strawberry Splash by gt_pann and Fresh Homemade Lemonade With Mint And Raspberries by Apolonia at FreeDigitalPhotos

The Amazing Benefits of Rooibos

Rooibos BushRooibos benefits the entire body and is relatively new to the United States market.  It is a healthy alternative to sodas, commercial juices, vitamin waters and tea - especially if you are looking to avoid caffeine.  The health benefits of rooibos are being studied all over the world.

Rooibos, pronounced roy-bos and means red bush, is made from the needle like leaves of the rooibos plant.  It is a very common drink found in South Africa.  The leaves are fermented which gives the distinct red color and taste making the nutrients also more available.

Around the world you will find Rooibos spreading out of South Africa, Mate spreading from South America, Tea which came from Asia, and a variety of herbal infusions.

Tea specifically refers to an Asian evergreen shrub or small tree called Camellia sinensis. Black, green, white, and oolong all come from Camellia sinensis.  Technically when mentioning tea, you are referring to any beverage made from Camellia sinensis.

Yerba Mate specifically refers to llex paraguariensis, is a species of holly (family Aquifoliaceae), well known as the source of the beverage called mate after the gourd it is traditionally drunk from all over South America.

An infusion is the process of extracting the flavor and nutrients from plant material in a solvent such as water, a process referred to as steeping.   If you are steeping your rooibos, mate, tea, herbs, or even coffee beans, you are making an infusion.  The term tisane originally referred to a drink made from pearl barley but has become a catch-all term for all non-caffeinated beverages.

Referring to Rooibos Tea would not be accurate.  Rooibos infusion or tisane would be.  It is sometimes called 'Red Tea'.  You can find Rooibos by itself, mixed with tea or other herbs.  It is caffeine free naturally.   To make Rooibos you take about 1 1/2 tsps of the Rooibos and pour 8 oz of boiling water over and cover with a lid to let steep for 5 to 6 minutes.  Most commonly it is served warm with lemon and sugar or honey.  You can serve it chilled with lemon and sweetened as you like.  I prefer it with stevia and sometimes add lemon.

Rooibos is not genetically modified and pure and natural and does not contain any calories, preservatives or colorings.

So what are the health benefits of drinking Rooibos?  For starters it is a perfect drink to help keep you hydrated in the summer.   Tea on the other hand is dehydrating.  Rooibos is rich in minerals and high in antioxidants.  It has trace minerals including iron, potassium, magnesium, zinc, calcium and sodium which makes it a great thirst quencher for active people.

It is gentle on the stomach.  It has benefits for the cardiovascular system and may help lower blood pressure.  It is anti-inflammatory.  Rats fed rooibos instead of water had significantly higher serum superoxide dismutase (SOD) levels (important for antioxidant defense) and less DNA damage.  It is commonly used for respiratory ailments, acting as a bronchodilator and antispasmodic.  It can suppress fasting glucose levels and improve glucose uptake and insulin secretion after a meal.   Tests show it inhibits lipid peroxidation and brain aging.

Some studies showed it to have anti-cancer effects.  According to WebMD, Rooibos is sometimes used as substitute for milk with colicky babies, says Alvaro Viljoen, PhD, of the department of pharmacy at the University of the Witwatersrand.  It is reported that mothers who are unable to nurse in South Africa feed their babies Rooibos as a substitute for breast milk. 

Rooibos is calming to the nervous system.  It can be enjoyed in the evening, as opposed to tea because it is naturally caffeine free.

There are some reports of its use topically for psoriasis, eczema, and other skin conditions.

Rooibos benefits can be enjoyed by the whole family and is an inexpensive beverage.  It is a powerhouse of nutrients and tastes good.   I have not been able to find any side effects of drinking Rooibos.  So get yourself better hydrated this summer and enjoy some Rooibos.

Have you tried Rooibos before?  What is your favorite herbal infusion?

To your health,

Kally Efros

Indigo Mountain

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