Strengthening the Mind, Body, and Spirit since 1993

What Can I Drink Besides Water?

Clients are always asking me that question, particularly after I take away their diet soda and coffee! (one cup of coffee a day, okay. More than that, not a good idea. As for diet soda, please read this.) Fortunately, there are plenty of options that make healthy and refreshing summer time drinks. Here are a baker’s dozen of my favorites.

  1. Iced Tea Brew a pot of herbal or green tea, double strength, and then pour it over ice for an instant cool-down.  If you want it sweetened, add stevia* or xylitol* while it is still hot.
  2. Jazzy Seltzer There are lots of great tasting flavored seltzers, from raspberry to white chocolate.  Just avoid anything with artificial sweeteners.
  3. Lemonade! My kids loved making fresh lemonade when they were little.  You can find a perfectly good citrus press for just a few dollars. Then all you need is some lemons (preferably organic), some water and some xylitol or stevia to sweeten.
  4. Pick Your Own Blend This time of year, I love to harvest my tea from my garden and my evening walk: red clover, different mints, lemon balm, nettle or dandelion leaves – all tasty and nutritious.
  5. Cool Down Tea Mix red clover and a few leaves of sage for a very pretty and cooling brew.  (Especially recommended for menopausal women.)
  6. Kombucha I’m a big Kombucha fan. Please don’t be misled by past negative hoopla, which was more about commerce than health. Kombucha is a great tonic and is so easy and inexpensive to brew at home.  If you’re a fan like me, you’ll want to invest in a home brewing system, rather than paying $4 a bottle.  I recommend using glass or lead-free ceramic, but you can get beautiful wooden casks too. The most important attributes to look for are an open top (you’ll cover it with cotton while brewing) and a tap, so even an inexpensive iced tea container will work well.

    Here’s an example:

    Read more about Kombucha here. And if you want to get started, ask me for a SCOBY and a little starter!

  7. Electrolytes In this heat, I see many clients’ hydration going down, down, down.  That can make you feel sluggish, and has a huge impact on your metabolism as well.  Electrolytes can help, but please don’t drink those sugary/corn syrupy artificially colored and flavored drinks.  I have several formulas that are all natural and sugar free. Some come in convenient packs that you can carry and use as needed.  I also have an unflavored concentrated liquid or powder that you can add to anything you’re drinking. Improving your hydration by even single percentage point can help your brain with focus, and your boost metabolism too.
  8. Vitamin C I offer flavored or unflavored powders that you can add to water or seltzer.  Kids love this!
  9. “Milk Shake” Mix some unsweetened coconut milk (or almond if you prefer, but I always choose coconut for its healthy benefits), stevia or xylitol, and some fresh local strawberries, blueberries, a peach – use your imagination!  Add some crushed ice and blend.
  10. “Egg Cream” Did you drink these when you were young, or was that just a NY phenomenon?  My updated healthy version: half seltzer, half unsweetened coconut or almond milk, some vanilla extract, and some stevia or xylitol. You can even put a dollop of canned coconut milk on top for a creamy, healthy treat. I recommend Thai Kitchen Organic.
  11. DandyBlend Formulated as a healthy, alkalinizing, non-caffeinated coffee substitute, a glass of iced DandyBlend with coconut milk is one of my favorite summer treats. Gluten free, of course, or I wouldn’t recommend it. Most coffee substitutes are not, so be careful.
  12. Cistus Tea Cistus tea helps make us (and our dogs) less attractive to ticks, but it also has many other health benefits. You can read more about that here. In the summer, I love to brew it with a fruity herbal tea, and some stevia, and use my infusion pitcher, filled with strawberries, to give it a lovely summer flavor.

  13. 13. Use the infusion pitcher with other iced tea, or even plain water. Try sliced lemon, lime, cucumbers, berries, or anything else that strikes your fancy! It’s a lovely way to liven up “plain” water!

Now with all those options, you never have to feel bored. Or thirsty!
Notes

*Xylitol, also known as birch sugar, has many therapeutic benefits. You can read more about it here. Please be aware that as xylitol has gotten more popular, many brands have appeared that are cheaper but not as healthy.  These are generally made from corn husks, and have additives and fillers.  I find, however, that the the distinction is not whether it is made from birch or corn, but the quality of the raw materials and the quality of the processing. The one I use and sell is made to pharmaceutical standards and is both better tolerated and tastes much better than most of the commercial products.  It does not feed intestinal yeast, and does not raise blood sugar or insulin levels. Best of all, it looks and tastes just like sugar and can replace sugar 1:1 in recipes.

*Stevia, too, has become much more popular and available. That’s great, but unfortunately a lot of the products are not.  Because stevia is so much sweeter than sugar, it is often mixed with other ingredients, both to dilute the sweetness and to fill the package.  This not only makes it less healthy, it makes it less tasty, and is why people often complain of an aftertaste  I recommend 100% pure stevia mixed in a glycerine or water base, and offer that in my office (and in my waiting room, by the tea pot!).

*You can drink all day and still be under-hydrated.  Just as with other nutrients (Calcium, for instance), it’s not what goes in your mouth that counts, but what your body can absorb and utilize. Many people drink water all day long, but it never gets into their cells, and so their hydration never goes up.  This generally has to do with insulin resistance and other chronic health issues.  Along with making nutritional changes to address this, I recommend two products to add to water that help get it into your cells more effectively.  Please let me know if you think this might be helpful for you.

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7 Responses to “What Can I Drink Besides Water?”

  1. Kim Sumner-Mayer says:

    So that explains why, when I made lemonade with stevia, it had a funky, bitter aftertaste–it’s not a pure stevia that I used. Yesterday i made it w/ xylitol and it was delicious.

  2. fransussman says:

    exactly! glad you enjoyed the 2nd batch, Kim.

  3. Christina says:

    This is an awesome article! My mom loves diet soda and I’ve been trying to get her to drink different things for years. She hates water. I’m going to buy her xylitol and see if she likes that.

    By the way, do you have any idea what would make a 53 year old woman have sporadic blood pressure spikes? She’s been tested for everything, from her heart to her kidneys, and they can’t find anything wrong with her. But her blood pressure will go from 110/80 to 140/110 out of no where. She has a hard time taking blood pressure medication, because when her blood pressure is normal, the medication drops it too low and she gets dizzy.

    Thanks =)

  4. fransussman says:

    Thanks Christina! Make sure you get xylitol from birch, rather than corn husks. It makes a really big difference. As for the blood pressure spikes, I could speculate on possibilities, but I’m successful at what I do because I don’t do that: I take a thorough history and work with the individual circumstances. We’re a very complex system. Designed for healing, but each of us uniquely.

  5. Pam says:

    Which two products do you recommend to add to water? I drink two liters of water a day and I would like to help get it into my cells more effectively. Thanks!

  6. fransussman says:

    Thanks for the excellent question, Pam. I see so many clients who drink water all day long but are still severely under-hydrated when I check their body composition. And you’re right that not just drinking, but getting water into the cells is a very important measure of health. If water is not getting in to the cells, there is a great likelihood that other nutrients aren’t, either. It can even be an indication of insulin resistance.

    I use M Water and BioPure’s Electrolyte products to help get water into the cells, and usually see a difference in hydration within a couple of weeks. For more information on these products, or to purchase them, please contact me.

  7. jessica says:

    All great suggestions- sun tea is a good one also- just put some ta bags in a glass bottle with water and leave it in the sun all day. Makes a very distinct tasting iced tea

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