Monday, May 12, 2014

Jose Cuervo, you were a friend of mine

One unintended consequence of eating paleo for the past year-plus and healing my gut fairly significantly is that when I ingest something my guts don't like, they let me know in no uncertain terms. So far there are only four offenders, thank goodness.

The lesser two evils are eggs and avocados. I can have a couple of eggs and/or half an avocado on any given day without much problem. But if I have a couple of eggs and/or half an avocado every day for two or three days in a row, I find myself bloated like a tick with insomnia, fatigue, digestive issues that don't bear mentioning, and a generally bitchy attitude. It is, shall we say, not fun. So I try to eat those things sparingly, because I can't imagine a life without avocados, you guys.

The two major offenders are dairy and alcohol. Dairy has been a life-long problem for me but I love cheese so much that I keep hoping it'll magically correct itself somehow. It hasn't. I've tried raw full-fat dairy and goat-based dairy and all of that ultra primal stuff, and no matter what, even a little bit of it causes all the problems above PLUS my throat and lungs fill up with mucus. Awesome. So yeah, dairy is Right Out.

Alcohol, though ... you guys. If you know me at all then you know that I LOVE the booze. I really do. I love to get all locavore amateur mixologist up in here, with all the amazing spirits that are being distilled in Texas right now. And I'll admit, even while eating paleo, I was indulging in an occasional local craft beer now and then. I don't have celiac and I'm pretty sure I don't have a major gluten sensitivity either, so I wasn't too worried about the occasional beer or glass of rye or what have you. But recently, any alcohol at all, whether gluten-free or not, causes the above issues (but not the dairy mucus thing, thank God).

This made me so sad when I first realized it, but then I decided to be grateful that I don't have an actual addiction to alcohol (I don't think. I'm, like, 95% sure) and to see what interesting mocktails I could come up with. Because I do have an herb addiction, apparently (22 different varieties and counting in this year's herb patch). And because I still need something delicious to sip this summer while I'm out on the patio grilling up a bunch of protein and veggies for dinner.

Below are a few of my favorite concoctions so far. A few notes on ingredients/method: you'll notice these are all sparkling water based; if anyone cares, my favorite brand is San Pellegrino, but it really doesn't matter which one you use. Or you could use flat water if you're not into bubbles. Typically I muddle the herbs, sweeteners and fruit together with the fruit juice before adding the water and ice. I don't bother straining mine but you certainly could. I'm sorry I don't have actual amounts/recipes for the herbs and other ingredients, you'll just have to make these to taste. You can't go too wrong here, and tasting is part of the fun!

Blackberries + mint + honey + sparkling water.

Blackberries + sage + honey + lemon + sparkling water.

Lavender + basil + cucumber + lime + sparkling water.

Fresh stevia + pineapple mint + lime + serrano pepper + sparkling water + salted rim.

Fresh pineapple + lime + mint + sparkling water.

Raspberries + chocolate mint + chocolate bitters + sparkling water.

Raspberries + mint + honey + rosewater + sparkling water.

Strawberries + lemon + honey + sparkling water.
I suppose it goes without saying that if you are able to tolerate booze (you lucky bastard, you), a splash of gin, rum, tequila or vodka would not go amiss in any of these drinks. But I'm going to be honest here: I don't miss the alcohol in these at all. No lie.

I'm really enjoying experimenting with these mocktails. My next wave will involve backing off from the honey a bit and incorporating more fresh stevia into the sweetened drinks to make them that much more paleo-approved.

Anyway, enjoy! And don't let being on the wagon keep you from having a delicious, festive summer! Sláinte!