Drink Up! The Top 5 Drinks Of Summer
Most people have a drinking problem.
I hope that got your attention! What I am talking about has nothing to do with martinis. I’m talking about developing a good water drinking habit. Water is first and foremost, the beverage of choice, especially when you’re trying to lose a few (or a lot) of weight. We can also add a few other refreshments that will tote up your liquid quota, without putting on the pounds or rotting your teeth.
But before I give you those lovely libations, let’s talk about water, shall we?
The fact is, your body NEEDS water. If you’re interested in making sure your body uses the nutrients you give it via food, you gotta drink water.
If you’re battling blemishes and want nicer skin, you gotta drink water.
If you’re wanting to avoid constipation -- or what I like to call the ultimate form of procrastination -- you’re gonna want to get friendly with water.
And the best part of being a water drinker is that water totally helps you to pare down the pounds. Never underestimate the very powerful tool of a handy water bottle.
But even a devoted water drinker is going to want a little something else in her glass -- yes, even me!
Top 5 Go-To Drinks For Summer And Anytime!
1) Smoothie Patrol! I love slurping a smoothie, especially first thing in the morning. Just a little plain kefir (good for your digestion) a big handful of frozen blueberries, a scoop of protein powder and some OJ and you’re good to go.
Sometimes I like it thicker and sweeter, so I’ll add a little overly ripe frozen banana. And sometimes, I add a secret ingredient that will make you gag (but you can’t taste it) but ratchet up the nutrients. Wanna know what it is?
Here’s the link to watch me make it!
2) Cranberry Cosmo. We all know the girls from Sex And The City liked theirs straight up, cold and with plenty of vodka! My version is sans vodka and mixed with a little orange juice. Take a glass, add crushed ice, fill half way with orange juice (orange juice is a super food, by the way!) and top with cranberry juice. For optimal nutritional punch, buy the kind in the health food store with no sugar.
3) Lemon Up Iced Tea. This one is simple, easy and extra lemon really helps with the vitamin C quota. Simply brew regular tea, let it cool, squeeze two lemons in a glass, add crushed ice and pour your tea over the top. If you prefer it a little sweeter, try using xylitol to sweeten it up. Xylitol is a sugar alcohol and is available in health food stores. This is a safe alternative to artificial sweeteners for both diabetics and non-diabetics alike.
4) Green Gingered Tea. Brew some green, tea and set aside to cool. In a glass, add some crushed ice, grate a little ginger or sprinkle some dried ginger (you don’t need much!) and then add the cooled tea. You’ll be getting the health benefits of both green tea and ginger in one glass, as well as refreshing beverage.
5) Pomegranate Punch. The new darling of the nutrition world, pomegranate offers much more than a bunch of seeds that are hard to eat. The delicious juice actually has more antioxidants than green tea. Mix the juice half and half with either green or black brewed tea and you’ve got a wonderful (and powerful) antioxidant drink that is both refreshing and very healthy.
That’s it from me on the beverage front. I do need to mention however, that while I love everything listed above, water is my go-to beverage and it should be yours, too.
True Lemon also makes True Lime and True Orange. I have all of them. I can tell you they really do add that extra something to my water.
Stay cool this summer and remember, drink up!
Leanne Ely is New York Times Bestselling author and the Dinner Diva at SavingDinner.com. For more information, check out the website, www.savingdinner.com
June 28, 2010
Healthy Food Imposter: Crystal Light
Oh my Gawd!!!
It's the phrase we uttered most during our recent BestBrands shopping spree. Yes, your trusted food sleuths were regularly freaked out by the plethora of Healthy Food Imposters they found lurking on grocery store shelves from coast to coast.
With so many foods and drinks trying to pass themselves off as "healthy," we decided it might be insightful - not to mention fun - incorporating "The Healthy Food Imposter of the Month" award into our regular lineup. In order to be eligible for this award, a product must meet the following criteria:
Criteria #1: Extremely misleading information on the front label
Criteria #2: Three or more harmful junk ingredients
Criteria #3: Deceptive health claims (blatant or implied)
Criteria #4: A high shock value… the OMG response, if you will!
Our first recipient of this infamous award goes to (the envelope please)...
Crystal Light Immunity On The Go
Serving: 5 calories, 0g fat, 10mg sodium, 1g carbs, 0% vitamin A, 0% calcium, 20% vitamin C and 0% iron)
INGREDIENTS: Citric Acid, Maltodextrin, Modified Cornstarch, Natural Flavor, Aspartame (Phenylketonurics: Contains Phenylalanine), Red 40, Contains Less than 2% of Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Vitamin E Acetate, Beta Carotene, Calcium Carbonate, Sodium and Potassium Bicarbonate, Magnesium Oxide, Acesulfame Potassium, Blue 1.
Criteria #1: Extremely Misleading Information on the Front Label
These individually packaged drink mixtures are intended to be added to water to boost flavor and improve your health. The front label clearly states "Immunity on the Go" and "Cherry Pomegranate." Both terms imply that the powder will boost your immune system and provide antioxidant health benefits via the fruit.
However, after decoding the fine print, the Nutrition Facts label and the ingredients list tell a different tale.
For starters, each serving only provides 20% RDA for vitamin C, 0% for vitamin A, 0% calcium, and 0% iron; we're not really seeing a whole lot of immune boosting going on here.
Then, we find very little evidence that natural cherry and pomegranate exist in the mix. We did however find two artificial color ingredients clearly used to give the mixture the illusion that there was some real fruit involved.
Criteria #2: Three or More Harmful Junk Ingredients
We found a total of 15 ingredients - eight are potentially harmful chemical additives (junk ingredients), including:
Two artificial colors (Red 40 and Blue 1)
Two artificial sweeteners (aspartame and acesulfame potassium)
One refined sweetener (maltodextrin)
Two preservatives (sodium and potassium bicarbonate)
One thickener (modified cornstarch)
Criteria #3: Deceptive Health Claims (Blatant or Implied)
According to the Crystal Light Web sit, this variety is part of their "enhanced line that contains essential nutrients designed to hydrate you, energize and enhance your body's natural defenses." The site also states, "our bodies need water to function, to flush out the bad stuff…"
Really? This product is the BAD STUFF that needs to be flushed out! It's filled with some of the worst chemical additives and they counteract any benefit that you might receive from the water. In fact, this product could actually be detrimental to your health.
Oh my Gawd! (and, thus we meet Criteria #4)
Bottom Line: We found no immunity properties, no significant antioxidants (read: health benefits) and certainly no cherry or pomegranate!
Crystal Light Immunity On The Go Cherry Pomegranate exceeds the criteria needed to win our first-ever HFI of the Month Award!
Nothing replaces the benefits of plain old filtered tap water. It's detoxifying, cleansing and keeps you from getting dehydrated.
We recommend you save your money and stick with the real deal. You'll avoid the chemical additives that can sink your resolve to get healthier! If drinking tap water just doesn't do it for you, then trying adding a squirt of REAL lemon or orange juice to spice things up!
Remember, when you're armed with a little BrandAid know-how, you're in control at the grocery store.
Kerry McLeod is eBrandAid.com's chief Brand Doctor and a blogger here at Diet.com. Kerry's mission in life is to teach food shoppers how to cut through the clutter at the grocery store in order to find the truly healthy brand-name foods. If smart food shopping appeals to you, go to eBrandAid.com and sign up for free newsletters.
May 24, 2010
Vitamin-Enhanced Waters: Help or Hype?
There used to be three things you could count on: death, taxes and, and chemical-free water in a bottle. Now there are two. Yes, the Grim Reaper still looms, and no politician we know is calling for an end to their beloved taxes. But do take note – someone is screwing with our screw-topped waters!
By now you’ve probably noticed the new kids on the bottled water block of your local grocery store. Next to your spring and glacier waters there’s an oasis of “vitamin-enhanced” waters.
Vitamin-enhanced water… hmmm, on the surface it sure sounds like a super idea, right? Well, no. These products are all wet. They take this week’s prize for the most blatent Healthy Food Imposters.
Case in point:
Dasani Plus, Vitamin-Enhanced Flavored Water Beverage
Take a look at the front label. It seems to imply the product is extremely healthy. You can’t help but imagine this water is enhanced with super vitamins that will defend and protect your health!
But read the fine print and it becomes clear that the only thing this water will defend and protect against is being healthy. See for yourself.
(8 fl. oz., 0 calories, 0g fat, 25mg sodium, 0g carbs, 0g protein, 10% Vit E, 10% zinc)
Ingredients (chemical additives are in bold) Filtered water; Natural Flavors; Citric Acid; Potassium Sorbate, Potassium Benzoate and EDTA (to protect taste); Phosphoric Acid, Acesulfame Potassium, Ginseng Extract, Zinc Gluconate; Sucralose; Alpha Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E); Yellow 5; Red 40
Decoding the Fine Print
We dislike being manipulated by sneaky marketing types. But it’s obvious to our food sleuths that this manufacturer designed the front label with the average unsuspecting shopper in mind. It’s chock-full of trickery.
For starters, each serving only provides 10% of the RDA for Vitamin E and Zinc. We hate to douse good intentions but that’s just not a very substantial amount. Sadly, what is substantial are the chemical additives pumped into this once-healthy beverage. We found:
• Three chemical preservatives – potassium sorbate, potassium benzoate, and EDTA.
• Two artificial chemical sweeteners – acesulfame potassium and sucralose.
• Phosphoric acid, a chemical additive found in most soft drinks.
• Two artificial color additives – yellow #5 and red #40.
Just to be clear, they took an unadulterated bottle of water and mixed in a bunch of chemical additives, insignificant amounts of vitamins, artificial coloring and a splash of fizz for good measure. Oh, then they upped the price and slapped a colorful yet misleading label on the bottle.
It’s a brilliant idea… in a marketing and sales kind of way. But for the uninformed consumer, it’s just plain wrong.
The bottled water aisle is one place where it a pays to be a super-savvy shopper who’s soaked up a little BrandAid know-how.
Don’t be fooled by the health hype on ANY brand of vitamin-enhanced water. Bypass the front labels, and go directly to ingredients list. Regardless of the brand, you’ll find all the clues you need to drink in the facts not the fluff.
Remember, when you’re armed with a little BrandAid know-how,
you’re in control at the grocery store.
And when you're linked up with a proven diet based on your unique personality, you will lose weight. Click here to start losing weight today.
Kerry McLeod is eBrandAid.com's chief Brand Doctor and a regular blogger here at Diet.com. Kerry's mission in life is to teach food shoppers how to cut through the clutter at the grocery store in order to find the truly healthy brand-name foods. If smart food shopping appeals to you, go to eBrandAid.com and sign up for free newsletters.
September 7, 2009