When it comes to adopting a healthier lifestyle, much ado is made about changes in diet. But for many folks, it’s not the food they consume, but the liquids. Honestly, sugary drinks (even “sugar-free” drinks) are the silent saboteurs of more fitness goals than “bad” foods. Because sipping is so mindless, we don’t consider the hundreds of calories we gulp down daily. Fortunately, we live in a culture that has a product solution for every problem, and drink options are no exception.
Here are some healthy substitutions for the libations we love:
Tea may sound boring, but it’s far from it. This satiating, nutritious drink offers a world of options: hot or iced, sweetened or plain, bag or full leaf. Beyond that, there’s the choice of black, white, green, oolong, chai, or yellow tea. The possibilities are endless. On top of that, so many delicious, innovative flavors are available now that there’s literally no room for boredom. Luxe tea brands like Teavana offer literally hundreds of fragrant options like Strawberry Daiquiri, Lavender Crème, and this author’s favorite, Citrus Lavender Sage. Mid-shelf organic grocery store teas like the Rishi and Pukka brands offer delicious lavender and turmeric teas, which help with sleep/relaxation and inflammation, respectively.
Tea is not only friendly to the palate but to the digestive and nervous system. There are numerous health benefits to all of the various teas; you’re certain to find a delightful option that addresses your health concerns. While it can be fun to [lightly!] sweeten tea with stevia or organic cane or rock sugar, drinking tea plain can also count towards your daily water intake. Nothing not to love here!
We’ve given coffee a bad rap. While dumping sugar and cream into your joe is not the way to win fitness wars, you can enjoy coffee. In fact, health professionals have credited coffee with everything from antioxidizing to staving off Type 2 diabetes and lowering risk of stroke. The key to enjoying coffee is to limit your additives. Replacing your half & half, heavy cream, or milk with a non-dairy option and replacing sugar with a stevia-based sweetener are key to enjoying daily coffee without repercussion.
This might be a new consideration for you, but its amazing health benefits mean you shouldn’t overlook it. In fact, the Chinese, who originated this Far East drink centuries ago, call it “The Immortal Health Elixir”. Even contemporary western health professionals now recommend drinking a serving of this highly probiotic solution daily. The most immediate health benefit to drinking kombucha is improved digestion. In fact, I’ve recommended it to several people who suffer from digestive issues, and only great reports come back. Other health benefits include increased energy, immune support (huge during the cold and flue months!), reduced joint pain, and even cancer prevention.
Kombucha, or the far less sexy “drinking vinegar”, is having a moment right now, which is great because the flavor offerings on the market are excellent. There are tons of brands and they all offer something different. The most important factor in your kombucha choice is sugar. Make sure you read the labels and choose your most delicious-sounding option that has the lowest amount of sugar.
Staying hydrated is incredibly important, but nullifying water intake with sugary beverages is pointless. There is hope in the many delicious options that leave you feeling better, mentally and physically. For extra health benefits to any flavored drink, toss in superfood chia seeds to stave off hunger and fortify antioxidant capabilities.
Stock up on some healthy-edifying sips today and reach your goals that much faster!