Sunday, August 13, 2006
Okay, yes, I used to drink pop all the time. Coke, Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Root Beer, Ginger Ale - you name it. I like the taste of pop. I like the sweetness. The fizziness is okay, but I could do without that aspect.
Over the past few years, however, I've found out a lot that's bad about soda. The high fructose corn syrup does a tap dance on my blood sugar levels. The phosphoric acid is a harmful chemical. The sodium levels are high, adding to water retention, etc.
So I quit drinking soda. Totally. If I have 3 sodas a year, that's a lot.
What to substitute though? Soda does taste really good, so what is a sweet drink without all the sugar, sodium, etc. Basically, I want a sweetened, no calorie water.
Forget about the high priced "flavored waters."
Here is my solution.
I buy Sweet Leaf liquids in various flavors. I add a few drops to a big glass of water. And I have it! No calories. No sodium. Just water.
Sweet Leaf liquids contain stevia. Stevia is a plant that grows in South America (but actually can thrive here in the U.S. too) that has very sweet leaves. Incredibly sweet. So, if you take an extract from those leaves, put it in a liquid, you have a sweetener that makes a lot of sense.
No sugar. No calories. Zero aftertaste. (If your stevia has aftertaste, you're using the wrong stevia.) Nothing bad at all.
But there's more to stevia.
It is actually anti-viral and anti-bacterial. If you have a cut, you can put stevia concentrate (not the same as the sweetener liquid) on the cut and it will not get infected and will heal more quickly. Likewise, you can take stevia concentrate (again, this is not the sweetener liquid that I use) and spray it on your throat to inhibit a sore throat.
Sound good? It does to me too. The little bottles are very expensive - about $18 for a 2 ounce bottle. But, you have to take into consideration that you use about 15-20 drops in a big glass of water, so that costs you about a total of 40-50 cents per drink. Very comparable to soda costs (if you buy in bulk) and yet much, much better for your health.
Learn more about stevia at the Sweet Leaf Website. And you can buy the stuff online here.
(I'm not being paid by Sweet Leaf or anyone else to say all this.)
For some "not so good" studies on the manmade chemical sweetener Splenda, click here.