You’re probably familiar with the news that alcohol, red wine in particular, can protect against heart disease. This claim has been supported by studies suggesting that those who abstain from alcohol lead shorter lives than those who imbibe moderately. Before anyone gets too excited, it’s important to know that these claims have been tempered by studies linking alcohol consumption with increased risk of cancer of the esophagus, throat and mouth for men and of the breast for women. There are, however, medical professionals who believe that balance lies in not exceeding more than 1 alcoholic drink per day for women and 2 for men. (By the way, drinking within these limits per day is healthier than abstaining most evenings and having several drinks 1 or 2 evenings per week.) Within this range, it’s thought that most people can enjoy the heart-enhancing components of alcohol without succumbing to its carcinogenic ones. What is unequivocally agreed upon is that you shouldn’t add alcohol to your diet for health reasons.
Another reason to keep your alcohol consumption to a minimum? A new study shows that excessive alcohol consumption disrupts the gut’s population of healthy bacteria and induces the leaking of harmful bacteria into the bloodstream. None of that sounds pleasant.
Now, in the season of gatherings and toasts, it’s likely we’ll be around more alcoholic drinks than any other time of the year. Below are a few recipes for delicious, healthful alcohol-free drinks for making merry and spreading good cheer into the new year.
Alcohol-free Drinks for the Holidays
1. Vegan Eggnog from Food52 – cashews, coconut milk, and medjool dates…some of my favorite foods anytime of the year
2. Raw Vegan Eggnog from My New Roots – For those not crazy about the taste of coconut this recipe gets its creaminess from hemp seeds, sesame seeds and frozen banana and even manages to include anti-inflammatory turmeric
3. Kombucha Cocktail – Mix 2 parts raw Kombucha tea (any flavor, homemade or store bought) with 1 part sparkling water and 1 part 100% fruit juice (freshly squeezed would be great). Garnish with whole fruit. Which fruit is in season in the winter? Citrus fruits, cranberries, pomegranates, passion fruit, pears and apples
4. Cranberry Cocktail (aka The Rehydrator) from Bon Appétit – It’s ruby red color is perfect for the season, it’s aloe vera juice is perfect for keeping you alkalized
5. Blood Orange Champagne Vinegar Shrub from Eating Well – I would replace the cane sugar with coconut sugar and only add the citrus peel and sugar mixture to taste
6. Infused Waters – Not only do these taste great but they’re lovely presented in a glass pitcher. Refer to the above list of winter fruit when assembling your combinations plus consider adding seasonal spices (cinnamon sticks, star anise, cloves, cardamom, fresh ginger) and herbs (rosemary, thyme, sage)