Spring has sprung and Easter is in the air. What better time to start experimenting with some tasty non-alcoholic beverages than in April, for Alcohol Awareness Month. Alcohol Awareness Month is a public health effort started by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence back in 1987. Each year, this program aims to broaden public awareness of the dangers of alcohol, while simultaneously inspiring compassion toward those individuals who struggle with an alcohol use disorder. The mission of the Alcohol Awareness Month campaign is multifold:
- To diminish the stigma associated with alcoholism, which only serves to keep individuals in the disease, leaving them fearful of potential repercussions should they seek professional treatment.
- To educate individuals about the multitude of life-impacting negative effects that stem from alcohol addiction or dependency. Too many remain in denial about the dangers of alcohol misuse, and about their own alcohol issues.
- To address the high rates of alcohol consumption among college students and teens and hopefully increase awareness among this cohort of the dangers of binge drinking and party games.
Americans are increasingly becoming more health conscious, not only regarding their diet but also by embracing an alcohol-free lifestyle. Many who participated in Dry January—an annual campaign that originated in the U.K. and promotes abstaining from alcohol for one month—found they felt better, had more energy, slept better, and lost weight as a result. This led many to extend this new sober lifestyle through February and beyond.
For April, in honor of Alcohol Awareness Month, why not have a little fun creating some crafty non-alcoholic “mocktails?” Start by whipping up a batch of Blueberry Lemonade Punch and let it inspire you to concoct other delicious alcohol-free beverage mash-ups.
Blueberry Lemonade Punch
- 1 cup blueberries
- 5 cups ginger ale, chilled
- 2 ½ cups water, divided
- 1/3 cup honey
- ½ cup lemon juice
- Lemon slices (for garnish)
- In small saucepan over medium heat, mix ½ cup of water, blueberries and honey. Bring the mixture to a boil and wait for berries to burst, around 10 minutes.
- Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a pitcher. Add the lemon juice and the remaining water. Chill until cold. Add into chilled ginger ale to punch bowl. Garnish with lemon slices and serve.
Prep: 5min Cook: 10min Total: 15min
This refreshing beverage looks so enticing because it is so simple and pure. Consider the health benefits of the Blueberry Lemonade Punch:
- The punch eliminates the alcohol component, allowing for maximum flavor and doesn’t compromise health
- Blueberries are loaded with vitamin E antioxidants. Antioxidants come from the phytochemicals that make up fruits and vegetables are the components that compromise their color, taste and flavor. Raspberries are rich in anthocyanins (the pigment that makes fruits and vegetables varying shades of red to black) tannin and other phytochemicals.
Antioxidants play a huge role in the reduction of cancers, inflammation and neurodegenerative diseases. They do so by protecting our cells from free radicals. Free radicals are high reactive molecules that have an unpaired electron. When they travel through our cells and bodies, they damage the tissues by attaching themselves to the unpaired electrons, rendering them neutral to prevent tissue damage.
Blueberries also contain vitamin C, which promotes tissue repair and enhances the immune system; and manganese, which is a trace mineral that helps build strong bone tissue, connective tissues, and blood clotting factors. Who knew those little blueberries had such powerful health benefits!
- Substituting honey for sugar reduces the calorie count without sacrificing flavor. This is because honey is naturally sweeter than white sugar so you can use less of it. When using honey in a recipe, it can do the sweetening job with ¾ the amount of sugar, therefore being a lower calorie option.
- Lemons are an excellent source of Vitamin C. Vitamin C is important in addiction recovery because of its function in the production of neurotransmitters, specifically serotonin. This neurotransmitter is the most negatively affected by repetitive drug use. Vitamin C intake can help to restore levels of serotonin in the brain, which helps to relieve symptoms of withdrawal such as depression and anxiety. This is why lemon essential oils are so useful in recovery, as an aromatherapy that reduces stress and boosts mood.
Isn’t it time to replace alcoholic beverages with alcohol-free options? Throw a health-themed spring party offering an array of thirst quenching non-alcoholic mocktails amid a buffet featuring delicious organic fresh salads, homemade whole-wheat breads, and healthy appetizers. It will surely be a big hit.
Please join us on social media to share recipes and photos of your own health inspired non-alcoholic beverages. Let’s promote Alcohol Awareness Month with style and grace.