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Exhilarating elixir-ing 

The dawn of a new year is an invitation for purging, letting go, detoxifying on all levels. If you're like me, you've probably had your holiday landfill of butter, cream, animal fat, alcohol and other things that have contributed to dull taste buds and big bulges in all the wrong places. Top this human sundae off with a measly dose of winter daylight and you've got a recipe for sludge.

It's a tough time of year to feel energized, but how are you gonna do all those cool things on the New Year's to-do list when you've turned into a toad?

Pull out the blender. Leave the booze in the cabinet, though; this drink is for restorative purposes only. Pineapple is the star of this New Year's show. It offers a bunch of that much-needed vitamin C as well as a unique enzyme called bromelain, which has anti-inflammatory and digestive benefits. If you bumped your head from wearing a lampshade on New Year's Eve, for example, the bromelain will help that injury. You get the idea.

A hunk of fresh ginger joins the fun, warming the winter body and working on that sluggish circulation. Canned or fresh pineapple will do, and all you need is five minutes to throw everything into the blender.

A diet drink this is not (although it's low in calories), but perhaps this little number will inspire a morning walk, a weekend hike or just a change in the same ole tune.

Wakey-Wakey-It's-A-New-Year Drink

Adapted from Wise Concoctions by Bonnie Trust Dahan

1 cup chopped fresh pineapple or canned pineapple chunks

1/2 cup pineapple juice (I really like Lakewood brand, which is flash-pasteurized and sold in bottles; available at Sevananda and Whole Foods)

1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated

Juice of 1/2 lemon

Honey to taste (start with 1 teaspoon and add to taste)

Place pineapple plus 1 or 2 ounces of water in bowl of blender and blend to combine. Add the rest of ingredients and pulse for about 30 seconds. Add more juice if you prefer a thinner drink. Serve immediately. Makes two 6-ounce servings.

Kim O'Donnel, the host of What's Cooking on washingtonpost.com, tests all the recipes so you don't have to. Send questions and comments to kim.odonnel@creativeloafing.com.

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