You may enjoy having a drink or two during happy hour, but the resulting sugar crash? Not so much. Oftentimes, drinks are filled with refined sugars, artificial flavors, and dyes.
Two holistic health coaches, Beth Ridder Nydick and Tara Roscioli, are aiming to redefine that through their book, Clean Cocktails: Righteous Recipes for the Modernist Mixologist. These experts bring a clean-living mindset to craft mixology, where they highlight ingredients with health benefits, such as ginger and cilantro.
We had the pleasure of chatting with Tara Roscioli, the owner of Align Wellness Studio and Highway 2 Well, who provides nutritional counseling and a clean meal delivery service throughout New Jersey, New York City and Brooklyn. Here, Tara talks about her journey becoming a health coach, what mixology is, and how to make our drinks “cleaner” with good-for-you ingredients. If you ever wondered how to mix a nutritious yet delicious drink, we hope you find this interview helpful.
Healthified Magazine: Thank you for speaking with us today. What inspired you to become a holistic health coach?
Tara Roscioli: After several years of practicing law, I realized that my health and wellness were adversely affected by some of the habits I had developed. I smoked cigarettes on my way to and from work, drank nothing but coffee, and barely made time for food and exercise. My idea of lunch was a fat free KRAFT slice on 2 pieces of diet bread, sometimes with a pickle if I was feeling fancy. My habits took a toll on both my physical and emotional well being. When I had my son in 2008, I knew I wanted to live a healthier lifestyle and be a better version of myself. I became certified as a holistic health coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, and I’m now pursuing my Masters in Nutrition Science.
HM: What sparked your interest in mixology?
Tara: The primary focus of my health coaching practice has always been an evidence-based and holistic approach to sustainable weight loss. Over the course of a few years, my clients would ask again and again whether they could still enjoy wine or the occasional cocktail and still lose weight or maintain their weight loss. I partnered with another health coach, and we started to research options for healthy cocktails using low sugar spirits and fresh ingredients. This is what spawned my interest in mixology. Mixology is actually a science if you think about it-it’s the act of creating delicious cocktails with the layering of flavors and structuring of ingredients.
HM: Tell us a bit about your book, Clean Cocktails: Righteous Recipes for the Modernist Mixologist. How do you define “clean” cocktails?
Tara: Clean Cocktails: Righteous Recipes for the Modern Mixologist is a beautiful cocktail cookbook with over 80 cocktail recipes, including a few mocktail recipes as well as our recipes for cleaner cocktail syrups and bitters. We take 4 low sugar spirits – vodka, gin, tequila, and bourbon – and pair them with fresh fruit juices and vegetable purees, flavorful herbs, anti-inflammatory spices, and syrups made with gentle sweeteners, such as honey and pure maple syrup.
HM: Do you believe that food is medicine? How does your book promote this?
I do believe that food is thy medicine. I do believe that we can maintain good health and prevent disease by reducing our consumption of sugars and processed foods. I do believe that the consumption of foods and drinks loaded with saturated fats, refined sugars, additives and chemicals can lead to obesity and diabetes. At first we thought about the implications of two health coaches publishing a book about alcohol. After careful consideration, we decided that it was our responsibility to put some healthier options into the marketplace so that those who aspire to live a healthful life can still enjoy a healthy and flavorful drink responsibly.
Additionally, the simple syrups and filler ingredients are what cause a nasty hangover. Cocktails made with whole food ingredients and gentle sweeteners have far less impact the morning after, so long as they are consumed responsibly.