Winter Self-Care: Warm Drinks for the Body and Soul

self-care.jpg

Instead of resolutions, I'm setting an intention this year, and that is to prioritize self-care. New Year resolutions have never really appealed to me because I believe that you can make resolutions anytime of the year. And isn't it a wonderful thing to know that we don't have to wait for that one day in the year to start taking charge of our lives? We can start right now, this very second, wherever we are!

In the past couple months or so, since returning from a five-week trip to Europe, I took a break from work (and blogging) to take care of myself. I joined a gym, hired a personal trainer, and made the effort to do yoga every day and meditate. After several tumultuous years in which I moved from Malaysia to the United States and started a new life far away from home and my family and friends, I decided to take a breath. A deep breath. 

I ended the year by putting myself on the path of healing and started the new year with the mantra that I am strong. I resolve to take actionable yet manageable steps to take care of myself and choose to be kind to my body and honor my health. Quite simply, that translates to eating well, getting enough sleep, and exercising. When it's cold, I make a warm drink using ingredients that support my health.

Here's a round-up of warm drinks that I love and I'd like to share the recipes with you. Tell me in the comments below what drinks keep you warm in the winter. 

jujube-tea-square.jpg

Jujube Tea with Goji Berries and Cacao Nibs
This fruity tea with a pleasant hint of smokiness is a treat. Jujube or dried red dates are heralded as a superfruit in Chinese medicine for their impressive antioxidant properties. My mom taught me to drink jujube tea to improve blood circulation. Goji berries are believed to boost the immune system and mood-improving cacao nibs add more than just that nice chocolate flavor. 

monk-fruit-tea-4.jpg

Monk Fruit Tea
Perhaps your introduction to monk fruit is through the alternative sugar packets, as it is said to be 300 times sweeter than ordinary sugar without the effect on blood sugar! Known as "lo han guo" in Chinese, it's actually an age-old ingredient in traditional Chinese medicine used in teas and sweet soups to help suppress coughs. Yes, this tea is naturally sweet!

spiced-hot-carob-drink-sunset.jpg

Spiced Hot Carob Drink
Known as a caffeine-free chocolate substitute, carob has a high fiber content that can help with digestion. It has a naturally sweet and nutty flavor that goes wonderfully well with winter-warming spices like cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cardamom, and cloves. This is an easy drink to customize with your choice of milk and spices. It's one of my favorite pre-bedtime drinks. 

healing-kitchen-book.jpg

Holy Basil and Rose Tea
This two-ingredient tea is what I drink when I need to take a deep breath. Holy basil is a sacred herb in Ayurvedic medicine known as an adaptogen that can help the body deal with stress. Rose petals have been traditionally used to ease depression, anxiety, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), and grief. Ahhh...

barleytea_square.jpg

Lemongrass Ginger Barley Tea
I combined barley water, a popular drink in Malaysia, with lemongrass ginger tea to help me get through transitional days between seasons. I drink this hot or cold depending on what I need. Barley water is often used to cool the body's internal fire while lemongrass and ginger tea is a popular remedy for gastrointestinal issues.

kumquat-tea.jpg

Salted Kumquat Tea
I still have a jar of salted kumquats made more than two years ago and whenever I feel under the weather, I make a soothing cup of kumquat honey tea. This tea is a long-held Chinese remedy for a sore throat and I just love the uniquely sweet, salty, and sour flavors. 

With a nourishing warm drink in hand, I toast to health, happiness, and peace for everyone. Happy new year, my dear friends! Stay warm this winter season. ❤️