Mint, Cucumber, Strawberries, Kombucha, Lemon, Ginger, Pineapple

 

1. Mint - Mojitos anyone? This delicious Cuban drink is totally refreshing and has lots of minty power. Mint is a natural stimulant; it soothes stomachs and promotes digestion. Mojitos usually have sugar added to help release the mint. If you want a sugar free version, the solution is to really smash up the leaves to get the oils out.

Sugar-Free Mint Mojito
For each hardy glass, take 10 mint leaves, and half a lime (cut into thin slices). Use a muddler, or the back of a spoon to pound the juices and oils out. Do not strain! Fill each glass with a cup of ice and then pour 1 ounce of white rum and ½ a cup of sparkling water over top. Garnish with a lime wedge.

Make mine a virgin: Simply leave out the rum and add more water.

2. Cucumber - Cool and refreshing and grown close to home, cucumber is a perfect summer vegetable. Cucumbers have many nutrients like vitamin C and beta-carotene, yet very few calories.

Cucumber & Rosemary Gin And Tonic (Makes 2)
Take 2 inches of peeled cucumber, thinly sliced, 1 inch of fresh rosemary, the juice from ½ a lime and 1 ounce of gin. Put into a glass measuring cup. Smush the cucumber and rosemary between the measuring cup and the back of a spoon. Strain into two glasses. Top up each glass with tonic water and a few ice cubes. Add a couple unpeeled slices of cucumber and a 2-inch sprig of rosemary into each glass as a garnish.

Make mine a virgin: Instead of Gin use juniper berry extract, watered down.

3. Strawberries - Local strawberries abound in the month of July and it is quite easy to freeze them fresh and use them in a daiquiri- like smoothie. Strawberries have a lot going for them, they are high in vitamin C, flavonoids and phytosterols. Phytosterols are known for their ability to reduce cholesterol.

Strawberry Smoothie Of Your Dreams
You’ll need a powerful blender, like the Vitamix: 1 cup frozen strawberries, 1-1 ½ cups of water, 1 tablespoon flaxseeds, 1 teaspoon coconut oil and a teaspoon of bee pollen. Add a one-inch piece of ginger for some extra summertime zing. Set blender to high for about a minute and enjoy.

4. Kombucha - Oh the wonders of Kombucha, have you heard? Kombucha is a fermented drink that has the fizzy quality of soda pop but the health benefits of yogurt. That’s right, kombucha is key to our good gut bacteria. It also boosts immunity and is rich with enzymes and vitamins.

See the recipe for Kombucha Lemon Berry Sangria 

5. Lemon - Making your own lemon iced tea is actually very simple. All it requires is a tea bag, some boiling water, a lemon and some ice. Lemon is great for reviving on a hot day as it provides lost electrolytes. It's also great for metabolism.

Lemon Iced Tea
Place a teabag of your choice, either earl grey, orange pekoe or green, in a large stainless steel bowl. Add 3 cups of boiling water, and set aside. Once it has cooled, add about ½ a mug’s worth to each cup, add a squeeze of lemon and fill the cup with ice. Top it up with some nice cool water.

Make mine alcoholic: For a take on the Long Island iced tea, you can add 1 ounce of vodka to the mix.

6. Ginger - After indulging at the BBQ, ginger can come to the rescue to soothe bloating and gas. To add a summery twist, you can have ginger beer instead. To get the desired health effects from ginger beer the ingredient list must include ginger root or ground ginger, not ginger oil or extract. You can drink ginger beer on its own or combined with spiced rum and a twist of lime for a delightful cocktail.

7. Pineapple - Bromelain, the active ingredient in pineapple stems, is thought to have anti-inflammatory properties and aids digestion with active enzymes. Pineapples are also high in vitamin C, fiber and manganese, a trace mineral that is needed for proper fat metabolism. The digestive aid coupled with manganese makes pineapple great for weight control.

Refreshing Pineapple Smoothie

Get out your high-powered blender and add 2 cups organic pineapple (skin removed, but keep the core), 1-inch fresh ginger root (peeled), ½ cup mint leaves, 1 teaspoon spirulina powder, 1 teaspoon coconut oil and 1 cup water. Blend everything together for 1 minute and enjoy right away while enzymatic activity is at its peak.