Thursday, August 8, 2013

Drinks for Health, Beauty and Joy



A human being may survive for many days without food but he cannot survive for long without water. Good clean drinking water that is neither too hard nor too soft is the best health drink. Yet water is often combined with ingredients of food and with health supplements in a manner so as to produce a drink for enhanced health, beauty and joy. The fact that drinks are an ideal delivery system is apparent from the fact that even Nature thinks so. The first food chosen for a new born by Nature is a drink – mother’s milk. As one ages one may add a number of other drinks to one’s daily routine in order to optimize one’s health and well being. Here is a collection of some of the best ones from around the world as discovered by this author in his travels, study and reflection. 

Following is a description of drinks for different times of day some or all of which could become a person's lifestyle if not already so. The really special and unique drinks, the best on the planet, not widely known to the world at large can be accessed through the links at the end of this description


Morning Tea


A nice way to start the day is with a good cup of tea. This is also the time when a human mouth contains the most undesirable bacteria but many persons find it tiresome to start a day with brushing. A good compromise is to develop the habit of a mouth wash with good clean drinking water just as soon as one gets up and visits the toilet (as most should). One is then ready for a morning cup of tea. Some start the day with a cup of coffee instead but in the view of this author that is best left for after breakfast so as to wake up the body in a gentler manner.

Humans have the herding instinct and tend to follow what others are doing. Therefore when a good thing is discovered others tend to follow. Some such thing has happened with traditional black or green tea that most consume. This does not mean that there are not other better ones possible on the planet. Our planet is full of hundreds if not thousands of useful herbs, roots, barks and flowers that in dried form are potential candidates for a good cuppa. One may add some to one’s supply of tea to make a cup that promotes health.  Here are some suggestions. What has been chosen here is a merely a time tested selection many have perceived as beneficial. If you feel intimidated by the list try just one or two additions at a time that appeal to you:

  1. Dried leaves of the white mulberry tree. This is generally not available in stores but the tree is widespread and you may be able to locate one near you or better still grow your own white mulberry tree. Pick up some of the newest leaves and spread them out on a clean paper placed on a table at home until they dry up in the shade. After they dry up, crush them with your fingers and store in a tight jar (Good for a year until the next season). There is a post on mulberry tree in this blog that describes in more detail the benefits of these leaves as known to mankind since ancient times (here: http://someitemshave.blogspot.in/2011/07/godly-hermit-tree-mulberry.html). This consumption is a contributing cause of  excellence of ancient Chinese civilization. These may be mixed in equal volume with tradition tea to prepare a mix..
  1. Dry leaves of Stevia (there is a post on Stevia too in this blog for more information: http://someitemshave.blogspot.in/2013/03/when-food-and-medicine-are-natural.html) and store similarly in a jar. It is the Incas who have contributed  knowledge of this plant to the world and in modern times it is the Japanese who have made most use of it. You may add small amounts to your tea mix going by taste. Besides its health benefits it is a sugarless sweetener.
  1. Crushed Cinnamon sticks. These may be added to the mix according to taste, usually around one fifth by volume of dried tea leaves. This sweet aromatic tree bark has been an ingredient of ancient Chinese and Indian medicine and it is also an ingredient of Moghul curries. There are many refences to this on the net e.g http://www.naturalnews.com/034260_cinnamon_health_benefits.html  .
  1. Crushed dried roots of the Ashwagandha plant. If you cannot find this then you may easily find tablets of Ashawagandha extract that can be taken, one pill with a cup of tea instead, if you like. Ancient sages in India deciphered many universal spiritual truths by consumption of herbs such as Ashwagandha well into old age long with some others, such as Soma that (or its proper identification) have been lost with time. Ashwagandha and its correct identification has survived because of distinct horsy aroma of this root. These may be mixed into the tea leaves up to an equal volume of tea leaves.
  1. Dried Holy Basil leaves. Mix in sparingly so that there are no more than approximately five dried leaves for a cup of tea.
  1. Dried scented red roses may be mixed into a tea mix by up to one third the volume of tea leaves. The traditional red rose has been an ingredient of the Ayurvedic system of medicine (e.g check http://homeofayurveda.org/tag/red-rose/)

The present selection of six herbs is just a small select list. There are numerous others, some for specific medicinal purpose some that may grow around your home as weeds. It is a great idea to research weeds that grow in ones area for medicinal properties and then dry and use some for your own mix. Do dry any you collect indoors in shade to preserve most value. If you discover some nice leaves and flowers this way, it would be nice if you can share that in a comment to this post. One may keep varying the mix for variety and health over the months and years.

With regular use the roses and basil leaves in tea are believed to add a beautiful healthy glow to skin. Now go ahead and prepare your own special mix of herbal tea by mixing in any or all of the above six ingredients with tradition black, green or mixed black and green tea. Just prepare a cup in the same manner as one would with traditional tea but you would have to use an amount larger than a level tea spoon per cup depending on how much other stuff you have mixed in. A bit of trial and error will yield the best possible quantity to be used per cup for your mix. However, never ever boil the tea together with milk and do not use some other additives that have become popular in recent times such as ginger, cardamom and mint. These latter are merely additives for taste that will ruin this healthy brew and do not use lime/lemon juice in hot tea unless you wish to ruin your teeth. In the past in India and the Arab world many of the ingredients suggested for tea here were added to cooling sweet sherbets to be consumed in day hours. However, that art has more or less disappeared now because of the prevalence of bottled beverages that are high on taste and kick but not on health.


Giving a high degree of respect and importance to consumption of tea has been a major factor leading to excellence of  Japanese civilization as also of the British one during the colonial era. Europeans had their wine and the Japanese  tea but  British excelled because they had both. Both helped along with their sense of discipline and ethics that has fallen short in many parts of the world in modern times especially developing countries. The reader may think that I am making too much out of  influence of food and drink on human behavior and performance but there is an older post in this blog that discusses this in more detail http://someitemshave.blogspot.in/2010/08/you-are-what-you-eat-and-drink.html

Breakfast

The best drinks with and after breakfast is something that many around the world already consume - a  glass of lime or other fruit juice and a cup of strong black coffee at the end. However, if your routine includes an additional cup of coffee between breakfast and lunch then you need not make the coffee after breakfast very strong. Children and those under 25 should replace the coffee with a cup of hot milk instead. The importance given to proper consumption of coffee has been a contributing factor in the vitality of American progress in the world. A tea spoon of ground almonds can be added to after breakfast coffee unless you are consuming them in your night cap.

Mid Morning

There is time for yet another drink between breakfast and lunch at around ten or ten thirty. During hot summer days an ideal choice is fresh lime/lemon juice with a sweetener such as honey or even sugar if honey is not available and lots of ice . If you can find good honey and use that as the sweetener that would be much better and if you are a diabetic skip both the honey and the sugar and look for stevia extract instead. Another excellent alternative is something called lassi in South Asia. prepared by churning together approximately equal amounts of fresh yoghurt with cold water. It is great lightly salted or sweet.

One of the healthiest of drinks available in nature, easily available to those living in warm, humid coastal regions is the water of green coconut. Others who live inland may attempt to consume a glass a day of this for three or four weeks at least if recovering from an illness. During winter it is nicer to have a hot drink instead of a cold one and the ideal choice is the North American one of a cup of coffee.

Lunch

An ideal drink with lunch is a small cup of yoghurt mixed with water in a glass and a pinch of salt. It is a great health drink. However, if the meal has steamed rice the yoghurt can be mixed with the rice instead followed by a drink of plain water. The Sikhs of Punjab and Hindus of Haryana provinces of North Western India frequently admired for their good health and vitality owe their good health to the consumption of this drink called lassi in the local language.

Afternoon Tea

A good time to have this tea is at 3 pm for those who work from nine to five and at four / four thirty for those who take an afternoon rest or nap. If you are overweight avoid a snack with the tea, otherwise you may have a sandwich, a small cake or a couple of cookies with it. Just as dinner time may be a time to entertain or the family to get together, the afternoon tea can become a time for socializing with neighbors or friends who live nearby too, especially for retired persons.

Dinner

A soup before dinner and a glass of white wine with dinner are ideal drinks for dinner time. It is not possible to go into the various possible soups here but the preference of this author is for white wine rather than red. The health benefits of red wine may have been overplayed in existing literature, and some of them may be due to consumption of olive oil rather than the choice of wine. The wine may be had before dinner with an appetizer instead. Good appetizers are cheese or salad such as cucumber slices, slices of the sweet yellow carrot, sweet young white radishes or hearts of a lettuce (especially the Cos lettuce if available) One may consume the salad with a dip of mayonnaise, hung yoghurt seasoned with a pinch of salt and garlic or sour cream. The dinner drinks mentioned here are consumed regularly in Europe and is most likely a major contributing cause of the excellence of the European civilization relative to that of much else of the world.

Those who are aging and fond of drinking a hard drink or two before dinner, do try and avoid that but if you must go for Pee Johnny, 30 ml of scotch diluted with the water of a green coconut and ice  The drink is called so because it makes Johnny pee forcefully. It is a tonic and good for the prostrate.

Night Cap

Here is a night cap that will give you a sound sleep, sweet dreams and wake you up fresh next morning. As with the morning tea one or more of the ingredients as available can be added to a cup of hot milk before bed time

  1. Finely ground dried almonds stored in an airtight jar. Do not keep for longer than a month but prepare the ground almonds in a grinder every month. Use just a level tea spoon per cup of milk
  2. A pinch of saffron boiled into the milk
  3. A spoonful of coco powder
  4. A spoon-full of sugar (prefer crushed jaggery or honey instead) if you are not a diabetic. If a diabetic consult your doctor first or if a new type two diabetic just get a bit more physical exercise and loose some weight and you may get rid of it.
  5. A tablespoonful of brandy. ( some persons also add a tablespoon of a good whiskey to their afternoon tea;Queen Victoria did that)
The bed time drink suggested here not only promotes good health, it also promotes a good sleep. Ground almonds and milk are a great aid for that.Unfortunately, some of the ingredients suggested in this post are expensive in some parts of the world. In such cases just skip the expensive ones like saffron, even just a cup of plain milk at bed time without the additives will also do a world of good to many a human.

It must also be pointed out that whatever is stated in this post, as most others on food in this blog, is the authors personal experience and opinion. It may not have scientific validation and it is recommended that a reader use his own judgement and discretion before following a recommendation, as indeed one has to frequently when it comes to food and drink.

While we have gone through the routine drinks that may be a part of the daily lives of many, following are links to some of the most magical drinks on the planet. Check some or all 


MAGICAL HEALTH DRINKS

While we gone through a range of drinks for daily consumption, here are some that are really special and magical that are a few of the best ones on the planet for the healthy to become far healthier and worth trying for those suffering from some condition they have failed to cure so far with available treatments. Check out


UPDATE May 2015
For the most magical of all drinks, virtually the magic potion prepared by the fictional Gaul Getafix in Asterix stories read the recent post here, In the modern world it is most easily accessible to persons in North America because that is where the plant grows
http://someitemshave.blogspot.in/2015/05/the-magic-of-soma-closing-three.html

For natural sweeteners in drinks rather than sugar check out

 UPDATE JUNE 2014:
 For summer one requires a quick cool drink several times a day and a nice recipe for it is here:
 http://someitemshave.blogspot.in/2014/06/shyam-sherbet-drink-of-gods.html 


UPDATE May 2015: 
Do look up a recent post on Las, wine of the gods

UPDATE July 2015
Las Kumis, drink of warriors
http://someitemshave.blogspot.in/2015/07/las-kumis-drink-of-warrior-gods.html


4 comments:

हरि चंद said...

Nice informative post!

ashok said...

Thanks Hari ji. The post has just been put up and requires some editing that I shall just do.

ashok said...

Yes done some editing now. One essential one was on the affordability of some of the ingredients in some parts of the world for example saffron is very expensive in most of the world, except where it grows.

ashok said...

This article has been attracting a lot of hits and has risen up to number 2 position of the popular posts within a day. Guess everyone loves something nice to drink that makes one feel good and is good for health too.