The concept of Tea & Chocolate was born on 1st January 2017. One of the first things I did was to order heaps of samples to discover the most beautiful organic teas and chocolate to share with you. I had also decided to do Dry January that month. Well, if I’m being honest, the plan was to do ‘Dry first two weeks in January’ because I wanted to set an achievable goal. I do find that if I tell myself I’m not allowed something, I suddenly want it more than ever. Anyway, after a week or so of exploring lots of amazing tea and chocolate I found that I really wasn’t missing wine and G&T, and I sailed through the next few weeks without feeling like I was being deprived in slightest. In fact I loved it!
This year I’m going in for the whole month immediately as I know I can succeed. And I’m looking forward to coming across some more great products to add to my range during the process! Here are my tips to still enjoying life without those drinkies.
Have a nice cup of relaxing tea to wind down
A common reason we look forward to that glass of wine in the evening is that it’s a quick and easy way to relax. Rest assured, I’ve been there. But sipping on a comforting cup of herbal tea (like Tranquilitea) can really be a nice way to let go of the day. I love making it in a teapot and serving it in a pretty cup and saucer to make it feel special.
And then instead of binge watching TV and binge snacking, you might find yourself picking up an inspiring book, getting stuck into that hobby/course, dusting off the yoga mat or going out for a walk and reclaim some of the day for you.
And sometimes skipping the booze can mean that your day goes a bit smoother anyway. One too many might lead to a late night and sleeping through your alarm. Which makes you late for work, which makes your boss shout at you, which makes you stressed and grumpy. Which makes you really need that glass of wine to look forward to when you get home… Again, not preaching. I’ve been there. But I have experienced that getting your small areas of your life in order can make an unexpectedly large impact with the positive ripples it creates.
Change the environment and activity…and eat cake!
For some, abstaining from something is so much harder when you’re surrounded by people enjoying the exact thing that you are giving up. So, if you don’t want to become a recluse for the month then explore ways you can meet up with your friends in a different environment. Try a tea or coffee shop instead of the pub. Invite friends for afternoon tea instead of dinner, which usually is associated with wine or beer. After all, no one said you have to give up cake…
Talking of which, here’s my recipe for a really splendid chocolate cake. It’s accidentally healthy and easy to make so you can feel twice as pleased with yourself!
Give up just one thing at a time
If you find it a real challenge to not drink, then for goodness sake don’t try and stay dry while giving up another of your beloved things – like chocolate!- at the same time. While some folks love that ‘all or nothing’ approach, you might find it easier to stay on the wagon if you’re not ripping away all your favourite things at once. As I said, tea and chocolate easily got me through Dry January last year!
If the thought of socialising or going out dancing without something to take off the edge is just a preposterous idea might I suggest the ancient art of getting a bit jollied up on cacao?
Cacao has been used for thousands of years as a ceremonial drink by the Mayans and Aztecs. Raw chocolate, in particular, can most certainly give you a nice little buzz from the theobromine and caffeine. So if you think you couldn’t possibly go out and have a jolly good old time without your favourite tipple, you might like to enjoy a bar or two of some delicious raw chocolate like Raw Halo or Mulu.
I actually got asked once what I was ‘on’ whilst out dancing the night away, powered by chocolate. ‘Mulu’, I said. Clearly not being very aware of divine chocolate brands, they replied ‘Ohhh! Heavy shit??’ ‘Hmmm, yeah?….’, was my answer.
Shake things up with a Tea-tini
I really love a Martini. But it’s not all to do with the alcohol. It’s partly the ritual of making it. And partly the iconic glass and the tasty garnish that makes it feel brilliantly decadent. So re-creating the experience without the spirits does certainly stop me from feeling that I’m depriving myself or that I’m missing out when others around me are enjoying their drinkies.
Earl Grey and ginger Mar-tea-ni
2 Earl Grey teabags
3cm piece root ginger, peeled and grated
2 tbsp agave or rice syrup
Lemon peel and mint sprigs, to serve
Pour about 500ml boiling water over the teabags and ginger, leave to steep for 10 minutes, then stir in the syrup until melted. Strain into a jug, then chill. To serve, pour about 125ml of the liquid into each glass, add ice, top with soda water and garnish with lemon peel and a sprig of mint