It is sometimes hard to stay on a healthy lifestyle track during the winter months. The cold weather and shorter days seems to make one want to hunker down and hibernate rather than exert energy and exercise. Food cravings seem to be for heavier and more calorie-dense foods and before you know it, a few extra pounds have crept up around the waistline. We won’t even mention the temptation that ensues from that February candy-giving holiday of love.
Inspiration to get back on the healthy track is just right around the corner – Daylight Savings Time happens on Sunday, March 8. Although it’s no guarantee that Old Man Winter will immediately leave us alone once and for all, it does mean that the days will start getting longer and more sunshine always seems to bring better dispositions and motivation. People start to emerge from their long winter’s nap like spring daffodils poking through the soil ready to bloom.
Rejuvenate your taste buds with this healthy veggie mocktail hailing from the luxurious Hotel de Rome called “Rucolino.” The word “rucolino” translates to what we know as arugula here in the States (it is also sometimes referred to as “rocket”) and is a nutritious leafy green with Mediterranean origins commonly found in the produce section of most grocery stores. It has a spicy, peppery bite and its nutrient compounds are such that it helps with the digestive process of a meal, so this drink is perfect as a non-alcoholic aperitif. Arugula is also rich in anti-oxidants, vitamins, and minerals and its combination of phytochemicals is found to counter the carcinogenic effects of estrogen therefore helping to protect against prostate, breast, cervical, colon and ovarian cancers.
As if those health benefits alone weren’t enough to make you want to consume arugula with every meal, this mocktail is also infused with fresh lemon and fresh ginger, two foods known to have anti-inflammatory properties that can help with arthritis. Ginger also helps relieve gastrointestinal distress and is rich in potassium, magnesium and manganese – all of which are needed to maintain electrolyte balance. Lemon is rich in anti-oxidants and Vitamin C, and helps boost the immune system.
Ginger beer is a carbonated non-alcoholic drink that is not only enjoyable on its own, but it also makes a great mixer for cocktails. Fever Tree is a popular brand because they source quality, natural ingredients from small specialist supplier across the globe. In the Charlotte and surrounding area, Fever Tree is available at Common Market (2007 Commonwealth Avenue or 1515 S. Tryon Street), Orrman’s Cheese Shop (inside the 7th Street Public Market at 224 E. 7th Street), and Salisbury Wine Shop (106 Main Street).
1 bunch rocket (arugula)
2 thin slices fresh ginger (plus more for garnish)
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Ginger beer (Fever Tree is a favorite)
Muddle first two ingredients in a high ball glass. Add ice, lemon juice and top with ginger beer. Give it a quick stir, add a straw and garnish with fresh ginger slices.