DIY / Green Living / Recipes / Wellness

Wellness Wednesday – Summer Lovin’ these Summer Lemons

I work outdoors, all day every day, right through the heat of the summer!  Staying hydrated is obviously a key part of my day, but

hydration is important for anyone going outside in the summer!

Mowing the lawn, softball games, going on hikes or dogwalking are among many activities that use up our body’s electrolytes – sodium, calcium, potassium, chlorine, phosphate and magnesium – by sweating and through muscle movement.  Drinking lots of water is very important, but sometimes not enough to keep up.  Sports drinks are effective but full of sugar and dyes.  The lovely lemony drinks below will help keep you hydrated, soothed, cleansed and refreshed in this humid, summer heat.

In ‘The Long Winter’ Laura Ingalls Wilder describes a switchel-like beverage that her mother had sent for Laura and her father to drink while haying: “Ma had sent them ginger-water. She had sweetened the cool well-water with sugar, flavored it with vinegar, and put in plenty of ginger to warm their stomachs so they could drink till they were not thirsty. Ginger-water would not make them sick, as plain cold water would when they were so hot.”


{ rehydrating / thirst quenching }

Switchel or Haymakers Punch is a traditional farm refreshment from colonial New England.  I first discovered it at the Montpelier Farmers Market while travelling around Vermont but variations on this drink recipe are widespread across rural agricultural communities in the northeast.  Switchel was made from water mixed with vinegar, seasoned with ginger and sweetened with honey or maple syrup and served to farmers at hay harvest time, earning the name ‘Haymakers Punch’

4 cups water
4 tsp apple cider vinegar
4 tbsp pure maple syrup or raw honey
grated fresh ginger to taste

combine all ingredients in a large jar / shake to combine thoroughly and  refrigerate at least 12 hours / to serve, strain into glasses filled with ice or heat and drink as a tea

adapted from The Old Farmers Almanac, Food52, Wellness Mama & A History of Switchel


{ soothing / healing }

Getting sick in the winter is always awful but I personally think getting sick in the summer is worse!  Over many winters I’ve adapted a few different recipes for lemon tonic teas to create my own go-to blend.  I often still tweak the ratios of ingredients to soothe sore throats (more garlic) and stuffy sinuses (more ginger).  Recently I’ve discovered that the same recipes work great as a summer-flu buster.

1-2″ fresh ginger
4-8 cloves of garlic
1-2 Lemons
2 cups of boiling water
1tsp raw honey
1oz whiskey (optional)

chop, crush or grate the ginger and garlic into fine pieces / steep in 2 cups of boiling water for 10 – 15 minutes, then strain / add juice from 1 or 2 lemons and honey to taste / drink warm

adapted from recipes via Pasture LivingAlex-Picot Annand, and the Kitchn

detox lemon 1

{ detoxifying / cleansing }

I think the lemon-cayenne water trend first came from some kind of ‘master cleanse’ lemonade diet… which is not something I’d ever attempt!  I’m not even sure how much I believe in the detox/cleanse claims surrounding this ingredient combo.  What I do know is that I enjoy this refreshing drink on sunny, hot days (especially good for long-weekend hangovers).

1/2 a lemon
10oz glass or mug of hot water
2 tbsp of real maple syrup or raw honey
pinch of cayenne pepper to taste
1/2″ of ginger (optional)

slice or chop ginger into bottom of mug (optional) /  add juice of half a lemon / pour 10 oz (295ml) boiling water into mug / stir in maple syrup or honey / add cayenne pepper to taste / drink warm or chilled over ice

adapted from recipes via NourishMoveLove, HelloGlow, and SimpleNourishedLiving 


{ rehydrating / refreshing }

I will admit to drinking far too many sports drinks at work, but I am trying to replace them with homemade hydration.  The simplest way to stay refreshingly hydrated is LEMON-H20: literally sliced lemons in water.  Next, I’ve adapted some recipes for homemade electrolyte drinks that are far more rejuvenating than commercial sports drinks.  Below that, juicing and smoothies are also a great way to stay energized in hot weather.


3-4″ fresh ginger
1 lemon, juiced
2 tsp raw honey
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 cups boiling water
1 cup ice

chop or grate ginger into container or mason jar / pour boiling water over ginger and steep for 5 minutes, strain ginger / add honey, lemon juice, sea salt and stir / pour over ice or serve warm if feeling ill

adapted from recipes via Epicurious and Modern Alternative Mama


1 cup water (if blending)
2 cups or handfuls kale
1/2 cup cranberries
2 oranges
1/2 lemon
1″ ginger

if using blender, start by adding water / peel oranges and lemon and run through blender or juicer / follow with cranberries, ginger / add kale last


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