Informed consumers are the choir when it comes to preaching on the health hazards associated with soda consumption. However, not all buyers are as savvy. In the year 2000, Americans spent over $61 billion on soft drinks, many of those consumers were young children. To continue sales, the soft drink industry spends over 700 million dollars annually in advertising. Today, soft drinks comprise over 25% of the beverages consumed daily. This is, in part, due to the fact that most members of the family are away from home during the day. With 65% of mothers working outside of the home, and children engaged in segregated activities most weekdays, soft drinks become an easy solution to thirst. You’ve probably heard it said, “Don’t go grocery shopping on an empty stomach!” The same applies at other times, too. That’s because when you are hungry, you will tend to gravitate to junk food. Sugar, fat, and salt are desired, but unless you’ve thought ahead and prepared healthy choices, your options are limited to foods designed to sustain shelf life, not health. So what happens when you are in a public facility (such as an office or school) without access to your kitchen? Well, you look for the fastest and easiest form of food available…a vending machine or the office snack bar! Here are 10 alternatives to what is currently available on the market.
- Water – Buy a water filtering system for your home (or office). They even make portable ones you can hook up to the office sink (and take back when you’re done). Drink pure water!
- Lemonade – Make homemade lemonade using fresh lemons and stevia.
- Kefir Juice – Juice that is pasteurized is basically pure sugar. However, if you add kefir grains to pasteurized juice, such as grape juice, you will add valuable enzymes and nutrients to aid digestion. And, it’s pro-biotic. If you have kefir grains from milk, you can rinse them and add them to juice (do not return juice grains to milk, only juice.) Cover the juice container with a cloth and secure with a rubber band. Make sure that you have at least 2 inches of space between the juice and the top of the jar because when the juice begins to ferment, it will bubble. You can drink it when it has small bubbles on the top. If you continue fermentation, it will turn into champagne and then wine. To slow the fermentation, remove the cloth, put the top on, and put it in the fridge. Loosen the top daily to release the gasses. You can leave the grains in it and when you finish the bottle, pour off the grains and 1/2 of a cup of the previous batch to help jump-start the process. FYI – If your juice develops some white on the surface, it may mean that you didn’t rinse all of the milk off of the grains. It is fine to consume, or you can strain it through a cheese cloth. Most likely, the next batch will not have this.
- Raw Milk – Milk from cows or goats eating green pasture. Be sure to know the husbandry practices of the the farmer from whom you get your milk. If the farmer is you, well..that’s easy enough. Raw milk, as opposed to “organic”, means that it is not pasteurized or homogenized. You can read more about it here.
- Tea – Teas such as rooibos, peppermint, chamomile, white tea, pregnancy tea (if pregnant), and nursing tea (if nursing) all serve their purpose.
- Milk Kefir – See this article for making milk kefir.
- Smoothies – Fruit smoothies made with kefir.
- Almond or Coconut Milk – Both of these can be made in the Vita-Mix. Place about two cups of raw almonds or unsweetened coconut meat in the Vita-Mix with 3 cups of water. Turn on high until the liquid begins to steam. Add 1 cup of ice to cool it down. To strain, place a tea towel over a bowl (draping corners over the edge) and pour the liquid into the bowl. Gather corners and squeeze out all of the liquid. The resulting solids will be nearly dry with little effort. The solids can be used for things such as arrowroot cookies (see this or this) or various cakes. You can also freeze it for later, or just discard. Milk is ready to drink. You can add flavorings such as cinnamon, carob, honey, Rapadura, homemade vanilla, and more.
- Kombucha – If you are not familiar with kombucha, it is a cultured form of sweet tea. Its ingredients include: black tea, white sugar, and the kombucha culture. Kombucha takes about 7-8 days to ferment, depending on the temperature of your kitchen.
- Last but not least…..Homemade Soda!!!! Yes, it can be done! For more information, please read http://www.westonaprice.org/foodfeatures/Realthing.html.
Here’s to your health!