About Me

My name is Christine. I'm a visual artist, musician, traditional storyteller, DV survivor, and have been a fulltime caregiver for an individual living with various diagnoses. After my marriage, I learned how to play various instruments, started exploring various means of creative expression, worked with at-risk teens/families, volunteered with the local crisis lines, participated in starting up a family resource center, completed my BA, furthered my studies towards becoming an art therapist, managed homes for adults living with disabilities, and facilitated therapeutic music/art sessions. I was doing everything I could so my children and I could have a brighter life, present and future. My physical health, however, continued to show evidence of too many chronic stressors over many decades. This blog is about my journey in discovering peace and better health by meeting life in the most basic and, in my opinion, the most rewarding of ways - by focusing on the riches of simplicity. If you're a new visitor to my blog, you might be interested in starting here: Finding the Riches.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Easy, Nutritious Summer Drinks

A couple of summers ago, my son and I decided to make homemade soda for his birthday party. We made six different flavours. My son thoroughly enjoyed them all. He knew this was a rarity because each required a simple syrup (requiring sugar - thankfully we have fair-trade, organic cane sugar available from Ten Thousand Villages) and club soda. I knew there had to be healthier, inexpensive alternatives.

Here are some of our experiments:

Ginger Juice

Boil sliced ginger in a pot of water (I use about 2-3 inches for about 8 cups)
Sweeten to taste (optional)
I find the warm version tastes different than the cooled version, and though I enjoy them both, I probably enjoy the chilled version more than I should. I've started making this much less than I used to because even the thought of it makes me want some, and I'm not even a ginger fan otherwise!

Citrus Blends

Our nearby grocery store has a "50% off" produce shelf. A couple of weeks ago, it was full of oranges, lemons, and limes. Did you know lemons have a myriad of health benefits? It's true! We've been peeling a combination of citrus, then cutting them into wedges, gently poking numerous holes into them, tossing them into a pot along with the peels, covering them in boiling water from the kettle, then putting the lid on the pot and leaving it to brew for a few minutes just like that. About 10 minutes or so later, I use a potato masher and gently mash the fruit a bit, then add more water and let the pot simmer. Strain. I added honey and cinnamon to my first batch. Divine! Unfortunately, we (mostly I!) drank all of it that afternoon. I did up subsequent batches without anything other than the fruit and water, and canned the blends into quart jars for later sweetening. I also kept a jar in the fridge, and I really didn't mind it without the honey once it was chilled.

I also did up a couple of jars of ginger/citrus - and will definitely be doing up more of those!


Many folks make smoothies these days. This is nothing new. We greatly enjoy the fact that you can toss almost any produce into the blender.

One of my favourite things about smoothies is that you can toss in raw beets, spinach, etc., and drink down a greater quantity of produce than you might eat otherwise in one sitting.

And for the cocoa-holics out there, you can toss in additional health benefits by tossing in some cocoa.

Here's one of our favourite smoothies:
Coconut milk or other milk, and water
Frozen fruit (mangoes, friends' organic berries, etc)
Spinach (I usually toss in 2 servings)
Sprinkle of cinnamon on top

For those of you scrunching up your nose at the thought of the taste of spinach in a smoothie, have no fear. The spinach is masked by the other flavours.

No coconut milk? No problem, if you have coconut or other nuts at home. Walnuts or almonds are a great alternative - before making your smoothie, just toss half a cup or so into the blender with 2 cups of water, blend blend blend, then strain out the leftovers (and eat with honey or on cereal, etc) or leave them in your smoothie when you add the other ingredients.

Of course, you can experiment with leaving out the "milk" part and just try out different fruit/vegetable/water/herbal tea blends to find some that you enjoy. There are no rules - at least, I haven't come across any yet!


When it comes to drinks, we all know we don't need soda or energy drinks or even commercial fruit juice. Our bodies need water. Our bodies need vegetables and fruits. We need to have some fun. When we toss a few things into our blender, we're in control of what we're drinking which means we're healthier. It also means we can probably slip in a few more vegetables than we or our children might be taking in otherwise.


One morning, my son called to me from the kitchen.
"Mom, do you want some iced tea?"
"You made iced tea? And it's cold already?"
"Yeah. I made it with cold water."

And he had. And it tasted - well, it tasted like cold tea. He'd put a couple of herbal cinnamon teabags into a pitcher and filled the pitcher with water then let it sit for awhile. Basically, it was flavoured water. But it was nicely flavoured and already cold without having to wait.  So I guess we really don't need to use power to heat up a kettle for to make iced tea (with the exception of sun-brewed tea) only to later put it into the fridge to cool, and we definitely don't need that syrupy, sugar-laden stuff of yore.

Soon it will be time to experiment with drinks that will satisfy and warm through the Autumn months. A friend of mine once served me a cup of warm beet juice with just a splash of vinegar. I'd never had beet juice before, but oddly enough it immediately brought back memories of walking to school through fragrant fallen leaves, and all felt right with the world.

Happy Experimenting!