When you’re thirsty, water will always be a safe bet, though it doesn’t change the fact that everyone needs to mix things up a little every now and again.
After a particular upsetting episode of your favourite drama (I’m looking at you, Goblin), you need something to replenish the water in your body lost through crying. But before you reach for that bottle of mineral water, soda, or alcohol, consider their effects, and try out an alternative.
We all know regular soda isn’t exactly good for you, but really, diet soda isn’t that much better. Don’t believe me? Various studies have shown that people who drink diet soda gain three times as much fat as regular soda drinkers over a decade, even after taking into account smoking, age, and exercise habits.
Artificial sweeteners used in diet drinks to give them that non-existent sugar content actually change the way we taste food. They’re a lot sweeter than regular sugar, so naturally sweet fruits and veggies become even less appealing once we get used to that artificial sweetness. Needless to say, it’s best to avoid sodas as much as possible.
2. Concentrated Fruit Juice
Just because it says “100% real juice” on the label doesn’t mean it’s totally healthy. Many people think that, because sugar comes from fruit, it’s okay. But sugar is still sugar, no matter what form it comes in, and too much of it can be bad for you.
On the other hand, when we eat real fruits, the fiber content helps to metabolize the sugars and makes you feel full so you don’t end up eating too much. Bottled smoothies usually also contain concentrated juice as a sweetener, even if it claims to have no added sugar.
Instead, you can make your own juice at home. Using a juicer – electronic or manual – is super easy, and you can even mix various fruits together for an interesting twist.
3. Flavored Waters
Flavored water is seen as a healthier alternative to soda – I mean, it’s got the word “water” in its name, so it must be good for you, right?
Actually, flavored waters often contain a lot of sugar, artificial sweeteners, flavorings, and even food coloring – none of which should belong in your diet. To make your own healthy version at home, just add some fresh fruit to a jug of ice water to give it a sweet, fruity tang.
4. Flavored Coffee
Everyone loves a treat from Starbucks every now and then. From Pumpkin Spice Lattes to the decadent Caramel Mocha Frappuccino, there’s nothing more satisfying than a good cuppa. But while they may be delicious, the artificial flavoring inside your favorite drinks are something you should avoid.
They don’t appear on ingredient labels, though they often include additives like BHT and BHA, which have been associated with cancer. But that doesn’t mean you have to settle for bland coffee. Elevate your cuppa with some spices – I personally love adding a sprinkle of cinnamon to my morning brew to give it a little kick.
Alternatively, a cup of green tea in the morning will give you an energy boost without the dreaded caffeine crash. Meanwhile, Sloane Inc Detox Tea (which comes in Skinny and Burn) will help you flush out the toxins from your body, keeping your health in good nick. From stevia, senna leaf, to goji berries, the ingredients are all very gentle on the stomach, so you don’t have to worry about any side effects.
5. Flavored Milk
You might be starting to notice a trend here with artificial flavorings. If you’re passing on dairy or just trying something new, don’t play yourself by going for the wrong alternative. Sweetened, vanilla-flavored almond milk contains about 13 grams of sugar per cup, while the unflavored kind contains about half of that. To offer some perspective, your daily sugar intake should only be 25 grams in total.
Still, the benefits of almond milk are undeniable. You can either go for unflavored, sugar-free almond milk, or learn to make your own.
Simply soak 1 cup of sprouted almonds in filtered water for 12 hours, adding in half a teaspoon of sea salt. This helps to break down the enzyme inhibitors in the almonds. Then, all you have to do is blend the almonds with water, and voila! Your very own homemade almond milk. Easy right? If it tastes a little bland, feel free to add in some honey, dates, or vanilla bean.
6. Water in Disposable Bottles
Okay, this one is more for than environment. Bottled water might actually deserve the title of environmental enemy #1. Here are some stats straight from Bloomberg: around 17 million barrels of oil are used to produce plastic bottles in the U.S. alone. Most of the waste ends up in the ocean, where it wreaks havoc on the wildlife and ecosystem.
Instead of buying bottles upon bottles of water, get yourself a reuseable water bottle, and just fill it with boiled water. You can refill it whenever you need to, without having to make a trip to the store.