When I was in FL in January getting Master Certified in Stand Up Paddleboarding (not a bummer at all!!!) our trainers gave us this weird electrolyte drink called Switchel. It was good and something I filed in the back of my brain to perhaps make again when I got home.
Since then I have seen it EVERYWHERE! Perhaps it is just because I know what it is – or perhaps it is because the hipster markets and upscale cocktail bars are starting to use it. And – they are on to something – thanks for its numerous health benefits and awesome taste – my bet is this is the new kombucha!
Although – there is really nothing new about it. Before there were sports drinks to re-hydrate after intense physical labor or sugary drinks designed to boost energy levels, there was Switchel, an all-natural drink similar to lemonade that’s experiencing a resurgence in popularity.
What exactly is Switchel?
Switchel is a drink made from apple cider vinegar, fresh ginger, maple syrup (or agave) and then cut with water. It is nature’s Gatorade and was first used in America by farmers during long work days to keep cool and stay hydrated in the heat. At the time, people thought throwing back warm drinks during hot days was better for the body, as it supposedly maintained the body’s equilibrium with the weather. While their reasoning might not have been totally sound, it turns out these farmers were onto something. And here’s why Switchel should be your new favorite drink.
4 Benefits of Switchel
It is Anti-Inflammatory
The ginger that makes up a key part of switchel is a natural inflammation reducer. Inflammation is the root of my diseases. Additionally, because ginger reduces inflammation, which also counts pain as a side effect, ginger is also a powerful pain fighter. In fact, one study found that consuming a small amount of ginger is more effective at reducing pain symptoms and inflammation than painkillers. Next time you feel a headache coming on, skip that painkiller and reach for Switchel instead.
Get an Electrolyte Boost
This is where I get excited – as I would rather use something other than the sports drinks found all over. After being out in the sun teaching Paddleboard Yoga or training for a triathlon I need some electrolytes! Electrolytes are nutrients or chemicals in your body that help it perform specific functions, like regulating your heart beat or telling your legs it’s time to get moving. Here is where Switchel comes in – because it is made with maple syrup and apple cider vinegar! And those ingredients are loaded with potassium-rich electrolytes. Pour a glass after a tough workout on a hot day to feel refreshed and give help your body restore its electrolyte balance.
Enjoy a Dose of Apple Cider Vinegar
By regularly drinking Switchel, you’ll get all the terrific benefits of apple cider vinegar,including healing compounds, like potassium, magnesium and probiotics. Did you know that ACV balances your pH levels and helps the liver to do its job? Putting it in Switchel is much easier than just taking a swig straight out of the bottle. (Ok – I still do that sometimes …. but it is much tastier in Switchel.)
Get Your Ginger
This root is packed with health benefits. Ginger is a fantastic digestive aid, soothing upset tummies and easing bloating symptoms. It also boosts your immune system, helping it fight off disease. Additionally, ginger helps to break down the accumulation of toxins in the body.
Ready to Make Switchel?
Switchel, unlike kombucha, is quite easy to make at home. Actually – I have never tried to make my own kombucha – just looks too scary!
- 4 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 4 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- at least 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger; you can also add in extra slices
- 4 cups water or seltzer water
- Combine all the ingredients in a large jar with a lid.
- Shake to combine.
- At this point, you can drink it over ice cubes or refrigerate and let steep for 12 to 24 hours.
- Stir well before serving.
If you want an after-work cocktail, you can always add some whiskey or gin. You can also use seltzer water instead of regular H2O to give the drink a fizzy, soda-like sensation while keeping it alcohol-free.
I can’t wait to hear what you think – and your favorite way to drink it!
Move your body, put good things in and ENJOY every day!