Healthy, Refreshing Drinks to Beat the Summer Heat!
My name is Darcy Magner and I am a Toronto RMT / Toronto Registered Massage Therapist, who is a fan of all things natural, healthy and tasty! If you’re anything like me, in the winter time I love curling up with a blanket and something warm in my mug to start my day or to wind down. Similarly, in this summer heat, when we all become so easily distracted, nothing is quite as appealing as a cold, refreshing drink! It can be hard sometimes to make the best decisions when it comes to beverages, as often loads of added sugar and unwanted chemicals can sneak their way into so many things. Here are some of my favourite refreshing drinks, all with added health benefits to boot!
Iced Matcha Latte
One of my favourite ways to start a summer morning is with an iced matcha latte. Matcha is a fine powder made of ground green tea leaves. It is super high in antioxidants, it increases energy levels, detoxifies and boosts your immune system. It’s a superfood! It’s very potent and you don’t need very much at all to get amazing benefits. Matcha can be purchased at most health food stores and tea shops. I really like Matcha Ninja, as it is super easy to mix with cold liquid. You can find it here: http://www.matchaninja.com/#home. This company is based out of Toronto and produces a dependable, high quality matcha that I love. A small bag can seem pricey, but each bag goes quite a long way and lasts a very long time!
Iced Matcha Latte Recipe:
- 1/2 tsp matcha powder
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1 handful of ice
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp of honey (optional if you’d like to sweeten your latte)
- Blend all the above ingredients in a blender until smooth.
- Pour into your favourite glass and enjoy!
Kombucha is a drink that has been around for thousands of years. It is a fermented tea that is jam packed with probiotics to improve your gut health. Kombucha also has detoxifying properties and can help to boost your energy levels. Did you know that kombucha is fizzy, delicious and also very refreshing?! This special pro-gut-health tea is fermented with what is called a scoby – which stands for: “symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast.” Because of this, if you are purchasing a bottle of kombucha from inside a fridge, you will often find a cute little floating scoby in your drink. Some people may be turned off by this little guy – if you happen to be one of those individuals, our advice is to simply scoop it out before you start drinking!
You can find kombucha at most health food stores. I most often get mine locally at Noah’s Toronto, Healthy Planet Toronto, or Whole Foods Toronto. GT’s is a common brand name, my favourite flavour is the citrus!
Cold Pressed Juice
Cold pressed juices are such an awesome way of getting hydrated while also getting the benefits of nutrient rich vegetables and fruit. Cold pressing juice is a method of making juice out of fruits and vegetables without removing vitamins and minerals, or altering enzymes. There are so many places to get cold pressed juices in Toronto these days, but my favourite in the city is Greenhouse Juice Co. Toronto. This company now has several locations (their closest to us being their North Toronto locations at: (i) Yonge St. and Briar Hill and (ii) Yonge and Summerhill) and pop ups across the city. If I’m feeling under the weather, there’s nothing like a cold pressed juice filled with immune boosting ginger!
Yum! Who doesn’t like a tasty smoothie? Blending up fruits and vegetables to make a tasty nutrient-dense drink? Yes, please! However, don’t be fooled – not all smoothies are always a healthy choice. Often, especially in cafes or fast food restaurants, real fruit isn’t used and ingredients added to make the smoothie taste good and appear healthy, can be used – be particularly aware of artificially flavoured syrups that can contain high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners and food colourings, or smoothie places that have “healthy” frozen yogourt or ice cream (yes, this is actually a thing!) as a base ingredient – to point out the obvious, yes these ingredients add deliciousness, but the added fat and sugar from these yummy additions far outweighs the health benefits of the actual healthy part of your smoothie – in other words, your smoothie is now a milkshake 😉 For these reasons, I find smoothies made at home are usually my best option. The one exception I will make is smoothies from Fresh! They have a location at Yonge and Eglinton in Toronto and have amazing smoothies that are just as trustworthy as making them at home. Balanced smoothies with real, whole fruits and vegetables, a protein source (either a protein powder, organic tofu, or zero-fat greek yogourt) and healthy fat (e.g. coconut oil, natural nut butter, avocado, chia or hemp seeds) are my favourite.
Online you can find so many incredible smoothie recipes can can make at home so easily, but I will share my favourite with you below. The original recipe can be found in the Oh She Glows Cookbook or online at: http://ohsheglows.com/2011/01/13/classic-green-monster/. It’s my go-to-smoothie-recipe and I never seem to get tired of it. Stay tuned also for Dr. Katie’s upcoming post on her favourite smoothie recipes!
Green Monster Smoothie:
- 1 cup almond milk or other non-dairy milk
- 1 cup de-stemmed kale leaves or baby spinach
- 1 large ripe banana, frozen, chopped into chunks
- 1 tbsp almond butter or peanut butter
- 1 tbsp chia seeds or ground flaxseed
- 1 pinch of ground cinnamon
- 1 scoop of your favourite protein powder (optional)
- 2 to 3 ice cubes
- Blend all above ingredients in your blender until smooth. I recommend putting the liquid ingredients in your blender first, then topping it up with the solids – this is easier on your blender 🙂
- Pour into your favourite glass and enjoy!
Author: Darcy Magner, RMT
Toronto Registered Massage Therapist | Acupuncture Provider