Hibiscus Iced Tea, refreshing Cool Drink for these Balmy Hot Days

Hibiscus Iced Tea

Hibiscus Iced Tea

Try this wonderfully refreshing drink which is both healthy and easy to make.  This was one of our hits during our detox and Yoga retreat in Guava House, Kegalle District last weekend.

Hibiscus Iced Tea

  • Heatproof glasses or mugs (or, to make a larger quantity, use a teapot or jug)
  • Red hibiscus flowers, organic and pesticide-free (one for each glass)
  • Lemon or lime juice
  • Boiling water
  • Ice
  • Stevia (natural sweetener available at the Good Food Market, Waters Edge, Battaramulla, Colombo- see below for details about Stevia)
  • Kasa Kasa (Poppy Seeds) (available at all Supermarkets in Sri Lanka)


Hibiscus flower

Hibiscus flower

1) Remove the stamen from each flower. Remember to use hibiscus flowers that are free from pesticides (fresh hibiscus flowers are growing all over Sri Lanka). We picked them from the hedgerow near Guava House). Soak the Kasa Kasa seeds in drinking water.



After steeeping the flowers

After steeping the flowers


2) Place one hibiscus flower in a glass or mug, or for larger quantities in a heat proof jug, then cover in boiling water. Allow to steep. Stir (the water will turn a blackish-purple as the colour comes out of the flower). Remove the flower.

After adding the lemon juice

After adding the lemon juice



3) Squeeze the juice from a wedge of lemon or lime into the glass (watch how the colour turns an amazing bright pink!). Set aside, to cool.

Hibiscus drink with Kasa Kasa

Hibiscus Iced Tea with Kasa Kasa


4)  Add pre-soaked Kasa Kasa, a few drops of stevia to taste and ice.  It is a deliciously refreshing and cooling drink perfect for the balmy hot days we are experiencing at the moment.  Plus it is a very healthy drink, see the health benefits of Kasa Kasa and Stevia below.


220px-Stevia_rebaudiana_flowersStevia is grown in tropical regions. They leaves are used as a sweetener and sugar substitute, stevia’s taste has a slower onset and longer duration than that of sugar.  It has up to 300 times the sweetness of sugar.

INTERESTING FACT – In Japan stevia has been widely used for decades as a sweetener.

Kasa Kasa (Poppy Seed) Health Benefits

Pictures of Poppy Seed

Numerous health benefits can be derived from them:

  • They contain many chemical compounds with anti-oxidant, health promoting and disease preventing properties.
  • Around 50% of their total weight is composed of various essential fatty acids and volatile oils.
  • They are an excellent source of oleic and linoleic acid.
  • Their outer coats are rich in beneficial dietary fibers.
  • These seeds are beneficial for the digestive system and help to relieve constipation.
  • The seeds are rich in B-complex vitamins including pantothenic acid, thiamin, riboflavin, pyridoxine, folic acid and niacin.
  • They also contain high levels of copper, iron, potassium, calcium, zinc, magnesium and manganese.
  • Poppy Seeds are used in Ayurvedic medicine for preparing a moisturizer for skin. The seeds are soaked in water, made into paste and applied to the skin along with milk.
  • The seeds are also beneficial for the human nervous system. They can cure nervous irritability.
  • They are effective as pain killer.

Hibiscus Tea Health benefits

Hibiscus tea


Drinking hibiscus tea can lower blood pressure  and can help to reduce hypertension.



Healthy Snacks

How is snacking going? It is difficult to stop thinking of snacks as sugary breads, biscuits, chocolate and crisps.  Lets start associating fast, on the run food with easy, healthy alternatives.  How about washing and eating a whole bell pepper or tomato like an apple. Or wash celery, cucumber or carrots throw them into a bag and pop them into your handbag.  You do not have to spend lots of time cutting and chopping so whole veggies are a good option.
Here is another taste crispy snack.
Olive oil
100g Kale stem removed
dried mixed herbs
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees.  Line the baking tray with foil and lightly brush the kale with a little olive oil.
Cut the leaves (removing the storks) into wide slices and arrange evenly spaced on the baking tray.
Bake for 15-20 mins being sure to stir, cook until the Kale is bright green and crisp.
Remove the leaves from the oven and season with herbs.

Another great one is celery sticks with peanut butter. Buy the Natural Source brand in the supermarket, this brand does not contain sugars or loads of preservatives.
Keep snacking the trick is not to let yourself get hungry.



A typical breakfast consists of at least 50 percent fruit and/or vegetables. Ideas for breakfast include:

  • Green Smoothie or smoothie (See list below)
  • Fresh juice
  • Kiribat (milk rice) with pol (coconut) sambol
  • Steamed yam and freshly scraped coconut.
  • String hoppers with pol sambol and yellow sweet potato curry
  • Oat Muesli (see recipe below)
  • Oatmeal porridge
  • Herbal tea, black tea (without milk), or green or white tea


If you are at work or on the run I think it is always a good idea to have a healthy snack at hand especially nuts or fruit, to kill sugar lows.  Also carry a bottle of water with you as most hunger pangs are signs you are thirsty.

Snack ideas include:

  10 to 15 raw almonds or cashew ( almonds take the skin off by soaking them)

  Apple sliced, with 1 tablespoon peanut butter (natural choice or one without added sugar)

  Piece of fruit

  Carrot, celery and/or cucumber sticks with hummus

  Smoothie made with allowed foods

  Green vegetable juice


A typical lunch on a detox diet consists of approximately 60 to 80 percent vegetables, preferably raw, such as greens, bell peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers and red onions. You can then fill the other 20 to 40 percent in with other plant foods, such as cooked chickpeas, steamed broccoli, gluten-free grains such as rice, kurakkan, quinoa, and baked sweet potato.

A salad is an easy, packable detox lunch. Assemble a bowl or plate based on the ratios above. Make a simple dressing using 2 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil, 2 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice, and an optional 1 teaspoon of fresh-chopped herbs. Other lunch ideas include:

  Chickpeas, mung beans and vegetables seasoned with turmeric, ginger, and cumin

  Salad with choice of vegetables, such as green leaves, cucumbers, onions, and steamed beets.

  Lentil soup

  Rice and curry but only 20%-40% organic red or white rice ( again purchase from The Good Market or ask at your supermarket)


Time for a healthy snack as above mentioned


Dinner is 60 to 80 percent vegetables. An easy dinner is a Buddha bowl. You don’t have to follow a recipe to make one, just combine 1 cup of cooked brown rice or quinoa, 1 to 2 teaspoons of an allowed oil such as extra-virgin olive oil, vegetables, beans and legumes, seeds and seasonings, such as chickpeas, spinach or kale, steamed broccoli, avocado, hemp or chia seeds, or seaweed.

Other dinner ideas include:

  Steamed kale sprinkled with cashew nuts and tossed in lemon juice and olive oil

  Brown rice, kurakkan pittu or quinoa

  Steamed fish with fresh herbs and lemon with bok choy (not to be eaten after 22nd April)

  Vegetable curry with brown/red rice

  Broccoli soup

  Black bean salad with quinoa

  Thai cashew vegetables with quinoa