With sunshine comes spritz a plenty — cocktails on the rocks and a desire for bubbles and fizz! In an ideal world, your favourite cocktails would be low in calories, sugar and never followed by the lethal morning after hangover.
While alcohol is not the healthiest part of any diet, there are ways to enjoy summertime fun without having to forgo your health goals. A few tweaks and smart swaps can make healthy choices easy, delicious, and refreshing.
Here at MEDA, we have some of our favourite summer cocktails to share with you — providing all the cocktail fun without the high doses of sugar and calories.
Sunshine in a Glass
Looking for a refreshing and healthy sparkling CBD beverage? The MEDA Glow is a light and refreshing drink filled with flavours of elderflower and lime, and the MEDA Boost is a blend of cranberry and lime — both pair well with vodka or gin. While the MEDA Recover is an orange and pineapple flavoured drink that pairs well with mezcal or vodka and our MEDA Calm combines lavender and chamomile flavours and pairs well with rum or gin. Alternatively for an alcoholic spritz serve your chosen MEDA with a splash of Chapel Down.
For a refreshing alcohol free spacer try serving your MEDA with added sparkling water over ice. By adding sparkling water you are keeping yourself hydrated, warding off any hangovers or picnic in the park induced heatstroke.
Make a Frozen Medatini
Have you discovered MEDA’s healthed-up take on the Espresso Martini yet? The Espresso Medatini is a blend of premium Vodka, Cold Brewed Coffee, Madagascan Vanilla, Cacao and 10mg CBD. It is delicious! Not only is the choice of using premium ingredients a health win here, the Medatini has 50% less calories and sugar than a standard Espresso Martini!
Want to get even more chilled? Put your Medatini mix in a blender with a cup of ice and blitz until smooth (or leave a little texture if you prefer) or simply pour over ice cubes in a pre-frozen glass.
Tried your hand at a Mojito Mocktail or do you spend your weekend sipping on a gin-less G&T? You are not alone. According to Mintel’s Alcoholic Drinks Review last year, 27% of Britons are now drinking more low and no-alcoholic drinks compared to a few years ago (with an age breakdown of 42% between the ages of 18-24 and 45% between the ages of 25-34).
We asked our resident nutritionist, Clarissa Lenherr, to share her view about this new way of drinking, and whether it is worth jumping on the bandwagon.
What is NO-LO drinking?
NO-LO is the nickname for no alcohol or low alcohol beverages. In the UK, beverages can be labelled low alcohol if they have an ABV below 1.2%. For alcohol-free drinks, the beverage needs to be below 0.05% ABV.
These products can be anything from no alcohol to low alcohol choices such as MEDA’s new NO-LO range of deliciously flavoured drinks / mixers curated with CBD + Nootropics + Adaptogens + Nutrients — that are great tasting AND smart!
What is driving this trend?
One of the big players in this trend is the rise of the wellness movement. Consumers are more aware of the risks of excessive alcohol consumption and people are beginning to prioritise their health and nutrition.
With the COVID-19 pandemic upon us, there has been a spotlight on alcohol and its potential negative impact on our immune system and mental health. A survey by Alcohol Change UK showed that more than one in three people in the UK reported stopping drinking alcohol or reducing the frequency of their consumption during the COVID-19 lockdown. This increased awareness and change in habits, is likely to have people shifting their gaze to making smarter drinking choices.
What are the benefits?
Alcohol consumption can influence our energy, mood, sleep, immune system, weight management, cardiovascular and liver health – to name a few. Therefore, anything that helps us reduce alcohol consumption, is likely to have a beneficial impact on our health. The NHS suggests a maximum of 14 units a week, so if you are consuming more than this amount, reaching for a no-low beverage might be the solution for you. Replacing a habit with a habit is often one of the most effective ways of making a change.
Some no-low beverages are paired with other beneficial ingredients. Take MEDA’s NO-LO Recover drink which pairs CBD with Ginger and anti-inflammatory Turmeric, giving you a delicious drink with a side kick of nutrition!
What to look out for?
Some no-low beverages can be filled with artificial sweeteners, caffeine and sugar. Make sure to read your labels and know what you are replacing with. There are no health benefits of picking up a non-alcoholic beverage and replacing it with a glass full of sugar!
A delicious choice would be MEDA’s Espresso Medatini which is 50% lower in sugar and calories than the average espresso martini. Plus the beverage is paired with CBD which can help offset some of the jitters you may get from consuming too much caffeine.
There’s a lot of hype surrounding CBD right now. So much so that one could be led to believe that taking CBD just once will ease all our ails and turn us into some bullet proof, high achieving super human.
That’s a lot of pressure for one little molecule from the humble hemp plant. The truth is, CBD is like any other nutritional supplement that should be consumed on a consistent basis to reap any rewards.
CBD And Hemp
To understand why, it’s important to understand just where CBD comes from and how it interacts with our bodies.
CBD, otherwise known as cannabidiol, is abundantly found in hemp. For hundreds of years, hemp was a major crop across Europe, the Americas and Asia. It was prized as a source of durable fibre, with whole navy fleets going to war on sails made from hemp. Its seeds were turned into nutritious oil, which also powered lamps and made soaps. Hemp flowers (where CBD is found) were also used in recipes, such as a rather delicious sounding tortelli found in an Italian cookery book from 1884 — a delightful dish served up to Pope Martin V in which boiled flowers and leaves were added to onion and breadcrumbs, and a 20th century Lithuanian traditional dish called “šnitka” (source European Industrial Hemp Association).
In the spirit of hippocrates’ adage ‘let food be thy medicine,’ many other countries such as Poland, Germany and Ireland used hemp to make healthy tonics and brews for various ailments or as general tonics.
Little did our ancestors know that by eating or drinking hemp, their overall wellbeing was benefiting from regularly consuming cannabinoids such as CBD. Unfortunately, fast forward to the 1930s and this all stopped with the worldwide prohibition of hemp and cannabis. Suddenly it was as if hemp had never existed, until CBD came onto the scene in the last decade.
Hemp, CBD and the Endocannabinoid System
Back in the day when our forefathers sipped their hemp tea or munched on a hemp flower ravioli (if we happen to be of Italian origin), they would have been unknowingly feeding their body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS).
Discovered in the 1990s, the endocannabinoid system is a vast network of receptor sites in our brain, central nervous system, immune system, and organs that are activated by cannabis-like chemicals called endocannabinoids. Likened to an internal dimmer switch, endocannabinoids are produced when there is too much or too little cell activity in order to bring about homeostasis, which is another word for balance.
The ECS is involved in all biological activity — sleep, appetite, pain perception, mood, inflammation, reproduction, and memory. And is dynamic in nature.
Special compounds in cannabis and hemp called cannabinoids, which include CBD, interact with our endocannabinoid system, increasing the signalling between the endocannabinoids and their receptors and even boosting the production of the endocannabinoids themselves.
A few hundreds of years ago, we would have been supplementing our ECS by consuming hemp in our diets. These days many people do it by regularly consuming CBD.
But why supplement our ECS in the first place?
Leaving aside whether you’re from a part of the world where hemp was regularly eaten, modern day life with its high stress levels, poor diet, excessive alcohol, and lack of sleep is playing havoc with our endocannabinoid system with an overall tendency to becoming endocannabinoid deficient.
Clinical endocannabinoid deficiency was first described by Dr Ethan Russo (a neurologist and psychopharmacology researcher) who found subnormal endocannabinoid levels in patients with IBS, fibromyalgia, migraines and MS — all conditions where there is some dysregulation in pain perception. It’s likely though that endocannabinoid deficiency could contribute towards everything from depression, anxiety and even autism.
Treat CBD just like any other health supplement
So in the same way that many of us take a vitamin D supplement in the winter months, perhaps we should all consider doing the same thing with CBD to replenish our endocannabinoid system.
To use the vitamin D analogy – if we are are vitamin D deficient we might show symptoms such as low energy, depression, and a greater susceptibility to colds and flus, whereas if we are low in endocannabinoids we may experience unexplained bouts of fatigue, anxiety, and sensitivity to pain. It’s a good idea then to give our ECS a helping hand to do its job by supplementing it on a daily basis with CBD.
Get your daily CBD dose with MEDA
Much is still to be discovered about the endocannabinoid system, in fact to this day, most medical schools don’t include the ECS in their syllabus. Not only that, until recently measuring endocannabinoid levels involved a painful lumbar puncture to get a sample of cerebrospinal fluid, which was doubly difficult as endocannabinoids are only produced on demand and immediately broken down as soon as their work is done.
It’s almost impossible to say whether someone is actually endocannabinoid deficient, or how much CBD we should take a day in order to keep our ECS topped up. However, data suggests that taking between 10-20 mg of CBD daily is sufficient for wellbeing purposes.
We’re biased of course, but we believe including a MEDA CBD drink containing 15mg of Micro-Liposomal Broad Spectrum CBD into your daily wellness routine is the perfect way to support optimum endocannabinoid functioning — giving your body and mind the best chance of enjoying balance, wellbeing, and vitality. Plus you get to enjoy the benefits of all the other nootropics, adaptogens and nutrients in our CBD drink range.
Why not give yourself a pick-me-up and sign for a MEDA subscription so that you can enjoy the benefits of taking CBD consistently. You will get a 10% discount on all MEDA products and be secure in the knowledge that your supply of CBD will always arrive safely at your door.
Staying well and healthy is all about maintaining balance in our lives. Eating right, doing regular exercise, and incorporating relaxation techniques like meditation, all help to keep our eyes bright and tails bushy. But what if we told you our bodies had an innate biological system working constantly to keep us in equilibrium, only most of us, including our doctors, do not know it exists?
It is called the endocannabinoid system (ECS) and was discovered in the 1990s when scientists were researching how the cannabis plant affects humans. They found a vast network of special receptors (CB1) on cells throughout our brains and central nervous systems which are not only activated by compounds in cannabis, but by chemicals in the body called endocannabinoids (anandamide and 2-AG). Anandamide itself is a type of neurotransmitter, named after the sanskrit word for bliss, and is thought to play a key role in regulating mood and inflammation.
Soon after, scientists uncovered a second receptor (CB2) in the immune system, digestive tract, and major organs, naming this interplay between endocannabinoids and their receptors, the endocannabinoid system.
While the ECS may be new to the medical world, early examples have been found in sea squirts dating back 6 million years. In fact, every species with a spine boasts an endocannabinoid system. But that still leaves the question: what exactly does the ECS do?
The ECS – Bringing Balance to Our Bodies and Minds
Turns out, our ECS acts like a dimmer switch, increasing or decreasing cell activity within our bodies. It has been termed a homeostatic regulator and is involved in almost every single key biological function. Sleep, appetite, sexual reproduction, mood, memory, our immune system, cell proliferation, pain perception, and motor control are all regulated by our ECS.
We can think of our ECS as a bit like a conductor in an orchestra, ensuring no section is outplaying the other. But sometimes even a conductor can have an off-day, and the same goes for our ECS. In fact, endocannabinoid dysregulation has be found in many types of illness, including neurodegenerative diseases, autoimmune conditions, and cancer. And endocannabinoid deficiency may be a contributing factor in conditions where there is an oversensitivity to pain such as IBS, fibromyalgia, and migraines.
So, it is vitally important to do what we can in order to keep our ECS working optimally. How do we go about this?
Supporting The Endocannabinoid System So It Can Support You
Scientists know that there is a direct link between cardiovascular exercise and the production of anandamide. In fact, recent studies go as far as saying that the famous ‘runner’s high’ is more related to anandamide than endorphins. Incorporating plenty of Omega 3 into our diet has also been found to support endocannabinoid brain signalling, while excessive alcohol intake can deplete the ECS.
But what about cannabidiol (CBD) and the ECS?
It is no coincidence that the endocannabinoid system is so widely talked about in CBD circles. While CBD does not directly activate either of the endocannabinoid receptors, it is thought to strengthen the ECS by blocking an enzyme that breaks anandamide down. So in effect, by taking CBD, anandamide gets to hang out in our body for longer doing its mood-boosting and anti-inflammatory work. And we could all do with a little more bliss in our life, right?
Supporting endocannabinoid health is a key motivating factor behind our mission at MEDA. Achieving wellbeing amongst the chaos of our beloved metropolis can only happen when we create balance in every aspect of our lives. MEDA’s bespoke CBD infused products will take you in the right direction, but it should always be accompanied by a nutritious diet, moving our bodies, and looking after our emotional health.