Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Energizing Iced Tea Perfect for Hot Summer Days

Dear Summer, I love you. I hate to start a blog post off like a love letter, but summer deserves it! Everyone needs a pick-me-up when the weather gets scorching hot, however. June is famously known for its hot temps, and July, the hotness is doubled! Sometimes in summer when it's super hot, I deal with fatigue and easily burn out so my diet is obviously different in summer to keep fully energized and active. I blend smoothies daily to keep feeling good, so I can do all that I need to do.

These past few weeks though, as part of my morning routine (not every single morning) I've been brewing up different iced teas to stay cool under that big ball of fire (a.k.a, the sun!) As part of a healthy lifestyle, I've included green and white tea and have been learning about different types of teas like Rooibos teas, and their benefits. When it comes to nutrition, I am my own nutritionist.

Tea actually supports many system functions and I've noticed a major improvement in all aspects of my health. Green tea has especially been known to improve brain function, has cancer and cardiovascular benefits, and promotes alertness. What's been keeping me on the move this past week (even when, maybe I shouldn't have been) is the tea I've been drinking. Since I've started swimming more once April hit, I've noticed more endurance and less burn out during exercise because of how tea enhances energy and supports endurance. In summer though, when it's 90+ degrees out, you can't drink hot tea. Iced tea has the same benefits and with anti-inflammatory properties to boot! The benefits of iced tea are massive.

In addition to health benefits, a little trick I learned on Pinterest is, you can put cilantro, lemon bits, cucumbers (or any produce or spices, really) in your ice cubes. I think I always knew you could do that, but never tried until a few weeks ago. Cucumber has benefits of purifying your blood and is a major anti-inflammatory. Cilantro and spices give your immune system a kick! Every time I blend smoothies with cucumber, too, wow, I feel like a million dollars! Since I've been fancying up my ice cubes with produce, I've also stepped up my hydration. Now, I put these fancy flavored ice cubes in my iced green tea concoctions. All I've got to say is, the last how ever many summers I've been alive, I've been missing out! Flavored ice cubes, yes!

Moving on to my energizing iced tea concoction; this tea combination will have you rockin' and rollin' all summer long. Plus, the tea is sweet without adding extra sugar to sweeten it. Of course that's optional if you want to do that, but for me, sugar defeats the purpose of the whole being healthy part. For you career women looking for a kick and pep in your step, this you want to try! So, here's what I do:

1. Boil 10 cups water-add 10 tea bags of tea (of your choice). I use regular , but natural organic white tea from local health food stores or even the grocery store.

2. Meanwhile, flavor up your ice cubes with cilantro, small cubes of limes, and cucumber bits and distribute evenly throughout.
3. Let water sit and cool, remove tea bags and toss once tea turns as dark as you want.
4. Meanwhile, puree in a Cuisinart a bunch of organic sweet strawberries. Puree until smooth.
5. After 30 minutes of allowing water to get to room temperature or a bit cooler, take out ice trays from freezer and dump ice into your tea pot.
6. For extra sweetener, add 2 teaspoons of raw, locally made honey. Also, add the pureed strawberries to the tea (delicious with this combo of flavors!)
7. Immediately pour tea (with the flavored ice cubes and strawberries) into a big jar or whatever you want to store your tea in.
8. After 1 hour of fridge time, then remove and serve.

You guys will love me for this recipe, trust me! You can even add blueberries instead of strawberries, or mango for a more tropical flavor. This will give your immune system a nice boost. It's the best sweet iced tea without added sugar. Rather, more natural sugars from the fruit and honey. Fruit even keeps your blood sugars leveled. Plus, locally made honey has major health benefits you've probably never heard about. If you want an active lifestyle this summer, be very mindful of what you put in your body! Doing so will allow you to stay active and accomplish all of those hard work tasks I'm sure you've got! Stay awesome and feel free to comment and share your iced tea recipes below!

//Tessa Koller owns all rights to photography//Tea recipe is original and by Tessa Koller//
//All opinions in this post are my own//  

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