Pomegranate Mulled Cider is a delicately spiced, antioxidant rich, and delicious way to ring in the New Year ~ this healthy mocktail has helped me give up my daily drinking habit!
So I’ve made a pretty big change in my life lately ~ I’ve given up my nightly wine. It’s definitely been challenging, but I feel really good about it. Let me just say I didn’t realize how much I looked forward to the ritual of settling down at the end of the day with a couple of glasses of wine, and to be honest, it was the highlight of my day!
I made the decision after the latest round of news about the ill-effects of drinking came out last month. It’s been so confusing ~ I always thought red wine was supposed to be heart healthy, and that’s the story I clung to for years. Now that the connection between alcohol and other health issues like cancer are coming into focus, especially for women, I decided to do a little research and reconsider my habits.
I was surprised to learn that what I considered to be light or moderate drinking was actually an unhealthy amount. Especially since I’m a woman, and at 5’2″ a small one at that, I learned that the alcohol in my nightly drink or two was affecting every cell in my body, and not in a good way. Men and women metabolize alcohol differently, and women’s bodies don’t break it down as effectively. It means that glass of wine is effecting me more powerfully and for a longer period of time than it does the guy sitting next to me with the same drink. Totally unfair!
I figured I had a few choices ~ I could reduce the amount of alcohol I drank daily, I could give up alcohol entirely, or I could decide to drink only on social occasions, which is what I ultimately did. I think it helps to be honest with yourself and pick a strategy that works with your personality and lifestyle. I didn’t want the daily will power struggle of trying to keep to a very small glass of wine. I didn’t want to give up drinking completely because it gives me a lot of pleasure and I do believe it can be healthy. So for me, occasional social drinking seemed like a good compromise.
I didn’t make a big announcement about it to friends and family, I just quietly stopped one day and replaced my wine with water. I’m not even sure my husband noticed right away. I will admit that the water thing got old really quickly, and it hasn’t been a super easy process. I still think about that glass of wine every evening at about 6:30. But I’m really happy I followed through ~ it’s given me more energy, I feel more alert, and I sleep better. My body tells me in a hundred ways that I made the right decision.
some tips to help you reduce or give up alcohol ~
- Drink lots of water to stay hydrated so you don’t turn to alcohol out of sheer thirst.
- Find a substitute non alcoholic beverage to stand in for your cocktail so you can maintain your sipping routine. It might be a mocktail, or a cozy after dinner latte.
- Reward yourself with something small to take the place of your booze, I get myself a spoonful of Nutella after dinner 🙂
- Brush your teeth ~ this is really effective! I’ll brush earlier than usual and that helps to signal the end of the eating ~ and drinking ~ day.
- I make a ritual out of brewing a really good cup of coffee first thing in the morning and I look forward to it the night before.
- It helps to do this with a buddy, if possible, I’ve teamed up with my sister.
- Be clear about why you want to stop drinking…and remind yourself of it regularly to keep motivated.
- Don’t be worried about false starts, it might take you a few tries to accomplish your goal.
- Every little bit helps and even if you just give up drinking for a week or a month it gives your body a chance to detox and reset. You’ll gain a valuable sense of control over your health, too.
- Pat yourself on the back for having the resolve to change an unhealthy behavior. Feeling good about yourself makes the effort easier.
Luckily there are other ways to get those good antioxidants that are present in red wine without the unhealthy ethanol…
- red and purple grapes
- red, blue, and purple berries
all have high levels of heart healthy and cancer fighting superpowers so I’ve been experimenting with using them to make delicious non alcoholic drinks. One of them is this hot Mulled Pomegranate Cider. I’ll make up a batch, keep it in the fridge, and microwave a cup when I feel like it.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering, I’m still cooking with wine and I’ll still post cocktails and other alcohol related recipes ~ the key here at tvfgi is moderation, and that holds true for everything, including alcohol. If the news improves on the health benefits of red wine any time soon, you’ll know where to find me 😉
Pomegranate Mulled Cider
- 128 ounces apple cider
- 16 ounces pure pomegranate juice
- several sprigs fresh rosemary
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 star anise
- 1 tsp white peppercorns
- 10 green cardamom pods, crushed
- 5 whole cloves
- 1/2 tsp whole peppercorns
- Put the juices in a large pot, or slow cooker. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring up to a simmer. Turn down the heat and let steep for at least an hour.
- Strain before serving.
Here are some other anti-oxidant rich non-alcoholic drinks and mocktails ~
BLOOD ORANGE AND POMEGRANATE THYME SPRITZ
- BLUEBERRY LEMONADE
- TART CHERRY SPRITZER
- HOMEMADE SUGAR FREE GRAPE SODA
- CRANBERRY KOMBUCHA
- FESTIVE CRANBERRY FIZZ
- RASPBERRY MOJITO MOCKTAIL
- POMEGRANATE CIDER PUNCH
- BLUEBERRY LAVENDER SHRUB
- WILD BLUEBERRY LEMON SPRITZER
- GRAPE SLUSHIE
- NON ALCOHOLIC SANGRIA
- CRANBERRY SAGE SHRUB
- ACAI POME BLUE MOJITO
- ACAI POMEGRANATE BLUEBERRY AGUA FRESCA
- SAFFRON GOLDEN MILK
- CHIA FRESCA WITH PINEAPPLE AND TURMERIC
- MACA CACAO HOT CHOCOLATE
- TURMERIC TEA
Questions and Reviews
Congrats to you on the wine. I too decided to challenge my thinking around drinking. First I didn’t judge myself, second I started with 30 days thanks to 30 days to cut your alcohol habit. Then my next stint was 90 days and finally January 8 will be a 120 day no alcohol break. Thx for sharing your tips
It sounds like you did it just right, Patricia, congrats! I love your point about not judging yourself…so important.
Sue, just made it… you will laugh.. well, I actually almost cried but it is funny…. after sieving it, I searched for a container since it made a lot – picked a pitcher, but it was non-pyrex… as I am carrying it from sink to countertop, it broke! It literally broke the bottom off, I got COVERED in hot cider, glass everywhere, cider on the rug… 😉 Oh, well – lesson learned…
make sure to use Pyrex if the cider is still super hot… or you will end like me! 😉
(hubby is adorable… cleaned up most of the mess as I changed my clothes)…
OMG Sally!! I will be sure to update the recipe and remind everybody to cool it down before storing. Your husband sounds like a saint…try to have a relaxing night after all this (you’re going to need a glass of wine!)
Good for you . I have pretty much stoped also ,but I missed the day is done relaxing sir down drink. Water just wont do it I drink it all day. n I have now figured out that as long as I have my nice wine glass, I can put a good red or white JUICE in it and it is just as as relaxing and I don’t get sleepy Pomegranate is my fave
It’s definitely the relaxing effect that I crave too Bessie, and you’re right, water just doesn’t do it. I like your idea of using a wine glass to drink out of ~ smart!
Sue, you are a brave woman! I feel I am privileged hearing you reaching out at a turning point in your life. As for the pomegranate cider it does have a celebratory status. I wish you and your family a happy new year! To you!
Thanks Alexandra ~ I’m looking forward to cooking up a fantastic 2018 🙂
I am sure you will! Look forward to better eating!
My son is addicted to alcohol and drugs. He has been in rehab, Caron, one of the best in the country. Thankfully he has been drug and alcohol free for nine months now. We went to family week at Caron and learned a lot! Do you know that using alcohol as a mood changer, enhancer or relaxer is actually a misuse of the drink? Do you know that looking forward to your next drink or placing importance on its presence in one’s life is also a warning sign? Alcohol should be consumed simply for itself, not for what it can deliver. If you have alcoholism in your family there is a chance that you have inherited the gene. But in the end, even if one doesn’t have the gene, repeated behavior rewires the neuro-pathways in the brain. It begins to look for the dopamine rush that it derives from the substance. It takes one year for the brain to rewire itself to form new pathways that deliver the rush of dopamine. That’s why it is a little challenging in the evenings right now. It’s going to take time not to miss it.
Your decision to stop drinking is very sound. Good for you! I’m so glad because (forgive me!) some of the comments you’ve made on this post have red flags all over them. I would urge you, for your freedom’s sake, to consider abstaining completely. If that sounds like too much you may want to talk to a professional just to make sure you are truly okay. You are so truly gifted and I know, firsthand how those gifts can become compromised by this dreadful disease.
So sorry about your son, Yolie, that’s a tremendous strain on a family. Here’s to his continued success with the battle in 2018, and thanks for the interesting information.
Good for you for making a positive change. I reduced my alcohol consumption too – I’ve found as I get older that I just can’t bounce back from a night out with a couple glasses of wine. So I limit myself to one when we go out, and I’ve found I really don’t miss it. More often than not I skip it as I’d rather spend the calories on dessert.
Sue, I wish you all the best in 2018. Thanks for this blog – I think of you as my friend and enjoy each post. Here’s to a happy and healthy New Year.
Thanks Amy, I think of my readers as friends, too <3
There were a few years that I’d finish a whole bottle of wine a night. I’m still in the weaning phase but I’m definitely drinking less than I was and feeling better for it. I agree with the substitute idea. Usually I have flavored seltzer water but I’m going to try this recipe because I love the sound of all the spices in it. Great post!
I’m glad this resonated with you Jill. I think finding the right type of non-alcoholic drink is a tough one…I’m still working on that. Seltzer water is good but not quite enough for me, and fruit juice is often too sweet, so I’m still experimenting.
I adore the colour! No alcohol…good for you, Sue. Happy New Year!
The color just makes me happy…Happy New Year!
After my husband died I found drinking alone was not much fun, so I quit. I had a glass of white wine on Christmas day and found I no longer like the taste of it. I tend to mix fruit with water and drink that. I just made your beef and barley soup, it is minus 18 celsius here, so a good day for soup, it was delicious. Have a wonderful New Year. I love your recipes.
Interesting, sometimes our bodies just know what to do, and they guide us. I’m so glad you enjoyed the beef barley soup, that’s perfect for this deep freeze!
Off the subject I wanted to let you know I tried your gingerbread recipe and I have to say it beat out the one I’ve been using since childhood! Just the right amount of cloves and so soft on the inside. I made snowmen and rather than icing I used melted chocolate and coconut for the stencil face and scarf! A big hit and now I have a new recipe for years to come! Happy New Year!
I’m thrilled that the gingerbread worked for you, I do think it’s pretty perfect, I like the texture and the soft spices a lot. I can remember very hard, sharply spicy gingerbread from past years and I think this one is such an improvement.