A few weeks ago, along with the rest of the northern hemisphere apparently, I set out on my annual spring cleanse. This year, more than ever before, it was so very needed. Our winter, like many of yours I’m sure, was cold, harsh and seemingly unending. Spring has been a terrible tease for the entire month it’s been around, giving us a few days of warmth and sunshine followed by a week or more of wind, freezing rain, and occasionally snow. And just to add insult to injury, I managed to catch the nasty late-winter virus that had been going around, the effects of which hung around for several weeks. All of this had left me feeling stagnant and drained, in body, mind, and spirit, and in desperate need of a system-wide reboot. As challenging as a week of restricted eating can be, I came away from the experience as I usual do: feeling lighter, energized, and with some fresh insights into my eating habits.
As you might expect, a week of eating not-a-whole-lot doesn’t usually leave me with much in the way of inspiring meals to write about. But all is not lost, as I do have a lovely, warming tisane to share with you today that I found to be just the thing to get me through the first few foggy-headed, stomach-growling days of my cleanse. This is a tonic that I often turn to when I’m feeling under the weather, but I find it’s also a beverage that is just perfect for the transitional time between the cold, harsh winds of winter and the balmy, sunshiny days of summer. It will help to stoke those digestive fires that may be smoldering a little low after a few months of heavy winter foods. And even better is that it’s one of those magical drinks that seems to cure whatever ails you whether it be stomach upset, headache, congestion, or fatigue. I’m a big proponent of food as medicine for countless reasons, and with “medicine” as tasty as this I think it’s easy to see why. If you need further convincing, check out the many benefits of the four simple ingredients I used here:
Ginger: warming, calms digestive issues, relieves congestion, anti-inflammatory, aphrodisiac(!), immune system booster, antioxidant
Black Pepper: warming, improves digestion, antioxidant, relieves congestion, improves bioavailability of nutrients, increases fat metabolism, antibacterial, diuretic
Lemon: alkalizing, high in vitamin C, diuretic, antioxidant, antibacterial
Raw Honey: use local honey for seasonal allergy prevention, antiseptic, soothes sore throats, antioxidant, relieves coughs
Ginger Sunshine Tonic
I really like to include the honey in this tisane because it does a nice job of balancing out the spiciness of the ginger and black pepper. However, I’ve made it without honey many times and it’s still super tasty, so feel free to leave it out if you’re restricting your sugar intake, vegan, or for any other reason a person might not eat honey.
1 tsp grated ginger
6 black peppercorns
1 wedge lemon
1 tsp raw honey (optional)
Put the grated ginger and peppercorns in a tea infuser and place in a mug or teacup. Pour 6 to 8 ounces of boiling water over the tea infuser and let steep for at least 5 minutes (the longer you allow it to steep, the spicier your brew will be). Remove the tea infuser from the mug. Stir in the honey, squeeze in some lemon juice, and drop the wedge into the mug.