Category Archives: medicine

Happiness Tea

This post is the first in my series titled, “Taking the Seasonal, Affective, and Disorder out of Seasonal Affective Disorder.” It’s a good thing I never tried to get a job writing ad copy.

I always get the winter blues immediately following Christmas and this year is no exception. But as I lay curled up into the fetal position on our couch last night, the P-Dawg approached me with a cup of tea.

“Drink this,” he said. “I promise it will make you feel better.”

And I was like, “What’s in it? It smells like an Asian supermarket.”

“Just drink it,” he said.

“I hate to tell you this, P-Dawg, but one lousy little cup of tea is not going to lift me up out of the depths of despair. What I need is a tropical vacation or to move to California.”

I’m not usually one to make fantastic claims and I didn’t get even one red penny from the ginger, honey, or lemon industries for writing this post, but I want to tell you that this tea made me feel instantaneously better.  After taking only a few sips, I sat up on the couch. Halfway through my cup I started cracking jokes and feeling like I might just make it through another Cleveland winter.

I’m not kidding.

And because I want you to be happy too – even if you live in California or Hawaii – I am going to share the ridiculously simple recipe with you. If you have the winter blues and don’t make yourself this tea, I’ll have to . . uh . . . come to your house and stare pleadingly at you.

Let’s get started!

First, grate about a half teaspoon of organic ginger into a strainer of some sort and steep it in a cup of boiling water for five minutes. We have a special tea strainer and also a microplane because we are bourgeois, but you could also use one of those cute little tea balls or even steep it in a thermos then run the whole she-bang through a sieve.

Now listen up, because this is important: The ginger must be organic. The other stuff just doesn’t have the same nutrients and miraculous healing qualities, capiche?  If you make this tea with watered down plebeian ginger, don’t come crying to me. And this probably goes without saying, but using dried powdered ginger will turn you into a pillar of salt.

We keep a ginger nubbin in the freezer at all times and it lasts forever. You don’t even have to wrap it up, just perch it unceremoniously next to the frozen waffles. You can grate it frozen right into your tea, honest to Pete.

The next step is totally optional, but it will give your tea a pretty color: throw in five or six dried poppy flower or rose hip petals if you have them, and who doesn’t?

(Seriously, you can skip this step. We just happen to be up to our ears in dried flower petals because the P-Dawg is an organic herb and spice fanatic. I’m not even allowed to use plain old supermarket nutmeg for cooking and baking, I have to grate up an actual nutmeg ball. That’s why I have Seasonal Affective Disorder.)

Okay, now strain the tea into a cup and then squeeze in a lemon wedge:

The P-Dawg said I didn’t need a picture of it because everyone knows what a lemon looks like.  I told him he would make a terrible food blogger.

Next, add honey to taste and don’t be a martyr. The key is achieving a balance between the ginger, lemon, and honey flavors. I used about a teaspoon, but I probably could have used more.

I used raw, unpasteurized honey, but if your honey comes from a plastic bear, I won’t hold it against you. Well, I might hold it against you a little bit because I really think you should use raw, unpasteurized honey. It is very, very good for you. Take it from a Lithuanian – we have a goddess assigned specifically to bees.

Finally, drink and be happy!

Now please go forth and make yourself some ginger lemon honey tea.

No, I really mean it. I want you to make this tea and then report back to me.  I’m really curious to know if it will have the same uplifting effect on you as it did on me. I guess it would probably be best if you were a little sad before you drank it. Maybe you could watch ET or Terms of Endearment to get yourself in the mood.

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