I’ve never been a big fan of beverages.
Growing up in a restaurant, my siblings and I had nonstop access to a Coke machine offering 5–6 varieties of sodas, much to the delight of our friends. They didn’t appeal to me.
I remember pouring a glass of Mr. Pibb after the machine was first installed and thinking sugary syrup was being poured down my throat. Funny— that’s exactly what it was.
But what’s strange about that is I was a kid who LOVED sugar. Like, to the point I hid sugar packets under my bed. Like, would flip out if I couldn’t get it in some way.
But soda drinks? Gross.
Didn’t like fruit juice much either. Again, all I could taste was sugar. And some kind of underlying fakeness that I couldn’t name. I’d feel sick after drinking “juice”. Light-headed. And then hungover, way before I knew what being hungover was.
As a kid, milk and water were my staples and honestly, I wasn’t much of a fan of them either. My body didn’t crave drinks the way my friends did.
Until I met alcohol. And truth be told, my body didn’t like alcohol either. In fact, it disliked it so much that for the first few years, I’d puke it up every time I drank it. But you know, “that’s part of it” they would say.
Pretty insane if you think about it — drink something that makes you puke until it doesn’t make you puke… haha, face palm.
By the time I hit my adult years, my beverage preferences hadn’t changed much. Coffee, water, and alcohol were all I was interested in.
I couldn’t understand the wisdom behind dumping $4–5 on Kombacha, the nasty energy drinks (that made me feel like puking) or the sugary lattes at Starbucks. I drank my coffee simple — almond milk only, please. And I carried a reusable water bottle with me everywhere I went.
You might call me boring.
But then I decided to quit drinking for 90 days (yes, I wrote about it). And then six months. And then a full year.
And damn it, I needed some variety.
By age 37, my body wasn’t putting up with more than one cup of mostly decaf coffee per day. And after you’ve quit drinking alcohol, water gets boring QUICK.
So I began the search to find beverages that I could enjoy.
There were, however, a few requirements: 1) No added sugar. My hips appeared when I was five years old, I do NOT need help being curvy. 2) They should make my life better — not worse. The last thing I needed was another bad habit/addiction to kick. 3) I must really enjoy them. Clearly not an easy feat. 4) I needed to be able to make them at home. I didn’t want to have to spend $$$ getting what I love through some retail chain, like Starbucks. And yes, I have a personal disdain for them since they don’t even carry dairy-free milk options without sugar. And 5) I wanted a substitute to replace the end-of-day glass of wine. I’m a wired person who has trouble sitting down and I needed something to take the edge off.
The bad news: I spent the whole booze-free year coming up empty — it was beyond frustrating. I had been reintroduced to soda water, which I love, but found out later that the nonstop bubbles disrupt your body’s ability to digest so I chilled out.
The good news: In 2020 — breakthroughs were stumbled upon accidentally, tested all year, and I’m excited to share the results. P.S. Zero affiliate links here — just my beloved recommendations!
My Favorite coffee replacement: Cacao! I still love coffee and drink it occasionally, but nothing beats my obsession with cacao. Every morning, I start with hot lemon water to detox my belly. Then it’s followed up with a hot cup of cacao to join me in bed for journaling and quiet time. BLISS. But before you pick up any old brand, know that quality is everything and not all cacaos are created equal. A few brands I recommend: Firefly Chocolate, FlyKAKAO, and Anima Mundi Apothecary (you’ll see this brand mentioned a lot).
My Favorite day-time drink: Liver Vitality by Anima Mundi. It’s packed with spirulina, chlorella, dandelion, and much more. There’s nothing more important and necessary for a healthy digestive tract than a daily green drink. TRUST ME. Some folks get this in a smoothie or morning juice and those are great options IF there are no additives or preservatives. But needing to have all the ingredients for a daily green juice was too much for me. I simply mix a scoop of this cleanser in with a berry soda water, shake, and I’m good to go. It’s even enjoyable in the winter. And it lasts a long time!
My Favorite Alcohol Substitutes: Cacao and Euphoria by Anima Mundi. First, cacao is incredibly healthy. Like INCREDIBLY. It contains large amounts of magnesium, iron, and much more that help to regulate our entire body. There are legit reasons why the indigenous folks of Peru drink cacao in sacred ceremony and revere it as a holy spirit. It’s magical. Its benefits are endless. And I’ve even found myself choosing it over alcohol when friends or family are around. It’s calming and some swear it will help you sleep. Idk about all that, but I love it. Second, Euphoria and I have a little love relationship going on. It comes in an elixir, it has a chocolate-y flavor and would be a great additive to a virgin chocolate martini or something of that kind. Or sip on the elixir alone. Either way, it’s delicious and relaxes the entire body. It’s actually an ecstacy mood booster and assists the libido, but you’ll see in the reviews that many use it as an end-of-day tonic.
This list is the work of endless tries and disappointments from a very particular woman, haha. And I hope it serves you!
I would love to hear if you have any favorite drink recommendations or if you’ve tried any of these. Let’s geek out on drinks! :))