herbal iced tea pouring into glasses

This story might look familiar. During quarantine it was one of our most popular stories and I’m so glad it was…

Everyone is talking about the uptick in alcohol consumption this year — because the numbers don’t lie. Sales are up (like, way up) for alcohol producers of all kinds in 2020 and it doesn’t take a stretch of the imagination to understand why.

While I’m not going to tackle the larger topic of addiction in this story, I will offer a piece of straight-forward advice for those who don’t struggle with addiction per se, but who do need to cut consumption — and cost — down on their daily ledger.

Under normal circumstances, I’m the first to suggest it’s time for a juice cocktail or clean bottle of wine. But, after months at home, enjoying a bit more freedom than in time’s past, it’s become clear that a few new healthy boundaries can be helpful. All jokes aside (and there are plenty on social media – we can’t stop with Molly Sims!), we’ve been hunting down a few new health hacks to create balance from day to day — more specifically, from early evening to early evening.

Generally, some of the best counters to consuming alcohol more often lately include taking charcoal tabs at night with plenty of water, hydrating like a beast from sunrise to sundown, and replenishing mineral levels with green juice, trace mineral drops, good pink or grey salt, and other mineral-rich foods. A nutrition-rich diet and a good sweat are, as always, key as well. All that said, my ultimate health hack for reducing alcohol consumption overall is a good pitcher of herbal iced tea. (Insert sounds of crickets chirping.) Hear me out…

Whether you’re striving to live a dry lifestyle at home right now or are just looking for ways to cut back on those bottles, cans or glasses each night, a big pitcher (or two) of iced tea can work wonders. Here’s how to try it + why you should…

+ First, you’ll need a pitcher. Naturally, almost any vessel will do when it comes to iced tea, but what’s the fun of a new healthy habit if it doesn’t require a bit of shopping? See our round-up of beautiful everyday pitchers here. A French press is also a great way to make loose leaf teas — combine concepts with this strained pitcher.

+ Find your tea: Herbal teas are as various as you can imagine. Herbs are often extremely high in antioxidants and have a wide variety of uses when it comes to our health, depending on individual goals and needs…

After dinner digestive: Fresh mint tea is as sexy as tea can get. Simply brew a handful of fresh mint after dinner (add a little honey if you prefer) for a tea that support digestion and halts sugar cravings. Don’t blame us if your whole crew gets hooked on fresh mint tea as an evening ritual. Not a mint person? Try a digestive tea like this instead.

If you have been imbibing a little more than usual lately, I suggest going for a tea blend with liver supportive, detoxifying ingredients like dandelion or milk thistle. Most liver-supportive tea blends have a dry flavor that is super-satisfying to drink slowly from a wine glass. Who knew?

If you’re needing a lot of flavor or have a sweet tooth, try a tea with spice and/or vanilla. There are plenty of chai spiced teas without caffeine that make strong, sweet cups of tea with plenty of benefits from anti-inflammatory and antioxidant-rich herbs like cinnamon, clove and nutmeg. It’s hard not to get hooked on a tea like this one.

If you’re having trouble sleeping try a tea with cat’s claw, lavender, valerian or hops. This version can be very calming. During the summer, we love it all iced.

If you’re looking for a bite, a ginger, citrus or spice-based tea can give you something near that dry cocktail taste, but with minerals and hydration instead of sugar and alcohol. We love a ginger tea for just that reason.

If you’re looking to slim down, a tea with purifying and lymph-supportive qualities can be helpful. Obviously, the world of “skinny” teas has blown up in an awkward way over the last few years, perhaps stoking poor body image ideals and the like, but if you’re simply looking for a good herbal tea blend to support overall detoxification, de-bloating and to help with blood sugar balance a tea like this one is easy to infuse into your daily or weekly routine.

If you’re just a wellnes nerd who is excited about the idea of getting extra nutrition from a glass of iced tea, try tulsi (holy basil) tea or one of Four Sigmatic’s mushroom blend drinks without caffeine for a big hit of brain-supportive plants in place of all that sugar. There’s a whole world of drinkable adaptogens that are appropriate for evening, as well as a slew of functional herb infusions for hormones and immunity (read more).

+ making your iced tea: The reason I find a pitcher of iced tea to be such a good ‘dupe’ for early evening cocktails is that you can enjoy glass after chilly glass of it with little effort or interruption. Simply brew a big cup or two of strong loose leaf or bagged tea the night before (I prefer 2 bags or scoops per pitcher) and then pour the brewed tea into a large pitcher and fill to the brim with cold filtered water. Make the tea as strong or as weak as you like — just be sure your tea contains no caffeine if you’re enjoying it at night.

+ Drink Iced Tea in a Wine Glass, chilled Stein or martini glass: If you’re looking to reduce your alcohol consumption, using a wine glass for iced tea can be a nice way to go about it. Take a peek at the list of functionalities I’ve listed for alcohol above and take a moment of honest assessment: are you using wine to help you sleep, calm down, digest, get a burst of energy, or indulge a sweet tooth? Whatever your motive, there’s probably an herbal tea that can meet your needs just as well and help you cut back a bit on all that sugar and alcohol. You may not need to go dry, but see how it feels to fold a little iced herbal tea into your summer 2020 routine.

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