Are your “healthy” beverages killing you or hydrating you?
by Jen Beck
In all reality, the only one true healthy beverage is…Water.
All the rest pose some kind of challenge to our health, big or small, so let’s look at them, so you can make educated choices for you and your family.
First, let’s look at the one we know is unhealthy – Soda. What is wrong with soda? It tastes so good, right? It may taste great to you now, but get off of it for a few months, then see how you like the taste. Last year, I was at my Aunt’s 90th birthday party and we had already polished off all of the bottled water. I used to love Diet Coke and guzzle it like it was water 10 years ago, so I figured I would just have some of that. After just a sip or two, I decided I wasn’t that thirsty after all. Back in the day I was so overwrought with artificial sweeteners and excitotoxins, that real food tasted bland and boring, but the processed stuff tasted normal (and yummy). Today, real food is what my body craves and my taste buds enjoy, while processed foods tastes like chemicals.
Soda is the top caloric source in America. Soda is unhealthy in many ways, the carbonation, the sugar or artificial sweeteners depending on if you are drinking diet or regular, the food coloring. None of these possess any nutritional value whatsoever and are all detrimental to your health. Statistics say that you will gain an average of 6 pounds per year from drinking just 1 soda per day. The carbonation, sugars (real or fake) contribute to cancer and the dyes can trigger ADHD or create kidney stones depending on what you are drinking. Need further convincing? Read this…http://www.livestrong.com/article/449074-health-dangers-of-drinking-soda/)
So now, let’s move on to the “Healthy” beverages.
First let’s look at juice. If you drink juice at all, it should be diluted. (Best case scenario, ¼ juice to ¾ water.)
Yes, juice is made from fruit & fruit is loaded with nutrients that are good for us. The unfortunate thing about juice is that most, if not all of the fiber has been removed from the fruit, so you are left with the nutrients, water, and sugar. This can create a big spike in our blood sugar, resulting in health complications like insulin resistance and blood sugar imbalances. This is especially dangerous for diabetics.
Next time you are at the grocery, look at the amount of sugar per serving, many of the small bottles have upwards of 50 grams of sugar per bottle. That is the equivalent to more than 12 teaspoons of sugar. Even though it is a natural sugar (if you are buying pure juice), it is still sugar. Sugar leads to inflammation, insulin resistance and also feeds cancer cells.
Eat your fruit, don’t drink it.
Milk is another “healthy” beverage. It has been proclaimed to be a great source of protein which is true. However, it also is full of hormones and antibiotics (unless you are drinking organic). These enter the milk from the cow through their feed and are passed to us through their output in things like milk, yogurt, cheese, and even meat products. Be very, very careful selecting beef and dairy products. Look for grass fed & grass finished beef and pasture dairy.
Any non-grass fed beef or dairy is very inflammatory and can create digestive issues. Milk has actually been linked to increased risk of childhood ear infections and asthma. My little brother is a perfect example of this. His entire life he struggled with asthma. He had trips to the ER for attacks. He always carried an inhaler with him and used it frequently. When he got to college, someone handed him a book called Don’t Drink Your Milk. After reading it, he cut out all dairy. His asthma literally went away. He has never gone back and is still symptom free almost 10 years later.
A great alternative to cow’s milk is coconut milk or almond milk. Just make sure you buy the unsweetened original. If you are having a challenge switching or helping your kids adjust, try switching for a week or two to the chocolate or vanilla. When upleveling our foods, it can take a bit to adjust if something is very similar to what we have been used to as far as purpose goes. Think almond butter switched for peanut butter. It is used in the same way, just made with different ingredients so they do not taste the same. Your brain needs to forget how different something is from what you are used to, then it can be a much smoother transition to something with healthier ingredients. When I switched, I couldn’t go straight from skim milk to unsweetened original. I had a memory of what it “should taste like” and the unsweetened original was definitely not it! So I drank chocolate for a week or two, then switched to vanilla, then I was ok with the original.
Sports drinks, Vitamin Water, etc.
First of all, please do not replace clean pure water, with Vitamin Water. You are adding a ton of sugar and/or chemicals to that healthful water and turning it into something that hurts your body. The sports drinks out there like Gatorade and Powerade are very high in sugar (some more than a soda), typically contain food dyes and other additives that rob our health vs. revive it. To get the same nutrients replenishment as you do from Gatorade, but without the extra crap, make a green smoothie after strenuous exercise. Spinach and Kale provide calcium and magnesium and you can throw in some swiss chard to replenish the natural sodium your body needs. Add in ½- ¾ of a banana and you have a sports drink that is not only replenishing the electrolytes you diminish through exercise, but you have gained so many additional nutrients your body needs as well.
If you are just looking for a flavored beverage instead of boring old water, try adding fruit to it, a mint leaf, peppermint or orange essential oils, cucumber slices or any other whole food you would like to add. I personally enjoy water with cucumbers and or frozen berries in mine.
Just remember, your body needs ½ of your body weight in ounces as a minimum. If you are drinking any of the above or alcohol or caffeine, your body needs additional water to repair any damage your body caused by the ingredients.
Cheers to your health! (Clinking with my water glass)
As a Registered Nutrition Consultant and CEO of Complete Health Revolution, Jen Beck’s straight forward approach turbocharges your transformation with real strategies that work for permanent, lasting weight loss and energy gain. Over the last 16 years, Jen has empowered thousands of men and women to take an active role in their health, lose weight, reverse chronic disease, look and feel younger.