One of the best steps you can take towards better health is to simply ditch processed foods and transition to real whole foods. To some that could mean entirely gutting your pantry leaving nothing left to utilize in your kitchen, and needing to make a clean start. In an effort to help those who want to take it one step at a time, let me break it down for you in order of importance (at least how I see it). The top two things you should change in your S.A.D. (standard American diet) pantry to make it a REAL FOOD pantry are the fats/oils and meats you choose and consume. Today I am going to discuss another key switch to make and that is how to ditch sugary drinks, including soda, juice and other store bought beverages loaded with sugar. Hopefully, I can help some of you learn how to ditch a major health hazard in your life.
Ditch That Soda!
Are you one of the 50% of Americans that drinks soda, juice or other sugary beverages daily? The good ole USofA is #1 in it’s ranking of soda consumption compared to any other country. Yikes! Perhaps some people don’t even think about the health implications since it is so commonly accepted, so easy to get and not to mention CHEAP. Please read this post and consider making the transition off of those health harming beverages to healthier choices!
Cornell University researchers have found that the consumption of soda and fruit drinks has tripled among American adolescents since 1978. (I don’t know what the figures were in 1978 but no amount of fruit juice and soda consumption is going to support a growing body, let alone an adult).
There are a multitude of problems with this scenario; I’ve been out and noticed that kids/teens really do drink soda, gatorade, even Red Bull energy drinks and the list goes on. This is a nightmare on so many levels. The amount of sugar alone is worth being VERY concerned about, not to mention the chemicals, dyes and caffeine that they contain.
Caffeine is a diuretic and so is juice believe it or not, it causes you to lose water and also taxes your adrenal glands and increases your body’s need to produce insulin and consuming soda and caffeine will create a vicious cycle of causing you to crave more and continue on the slippery slope. Sugar depletes valuable nutrients, as does caffeine, the chemicals and dyes hit your liver hard and it’s already working hard to adjust to the body’s new hormonal rhythm. For kids/teens that are still growing, drinking sodas is absolutely not a good idea. Not to mention the phosphoric acid in soda can negatively affect the health of bones.
If you’re getting a disproportionate amount of phosphorus compared to the amount of calcium you’re getting, that could lead to bone loss. Soda does not allow the body to hydrate, instead it dehydrates the body. Caffeine, can also interfere with calcium absorption. These are just a few aspects of soda consumption that are alarming. Here’s a brief list of health issues that can come out of regular soda consumption.
10 Ways Drinking Soda Regularly Can Harm Your Health
- Excess Sugar – causes insulin spikes
- Regular consumption can lead to weight gain
- High Blood Pressure
- High Cholesterol
- Inflammation Leading To Pain
- Dehydration – which leads to numerous health conditions
- Heart Disease
- Higher Cancer Risk
- Increased Risk of Bone Fracture
- Dental Issues (as soda can dissolve the tooth enamel)
- and many more……
If you are a regular soda consumer, it’s time to bite the bullet and ditch it! You may think it isn’t harming you, but it most definitely is and you will be so much better off ridding yourself of such a health risk.
Why Juice Isn’t a Health Beverage
Store bought juice is NOT a health food. The process of juicing fruit concentrates its sweetness. There is as much sugar in a glass of orange juice as there is in a candy bar, and most of it is fructose, which is more harmful than the sucrose of sugar. Consumption of apple juice has been linked to failure to thrive in infants. Most fruit juice is also filtered and pasteurized, refining it even further and removing any chance of really benefiting from any of the nutrients once available in the whole fruit.
Juice is just as bad as drinking a cup of sugar water, seriously. I know a man who is a Type 2 diabetic, who insists on drinking juice. The ‘logic’ for him is that since it’s from fruit, and fruit is healthy, then juice is healthy too. WRONG! Juice is a concentrated form of sugar that goes straight into the blood stream causing insulin to spike. Why do you think they give juice to diabetics when their blood sugar gets dangerously low? To bring it back up quickly. However, we do not want our blood sugar to go up like that any other time. It’s just really faulty logic folks. We have to look at what the ‘so-called’ healthy foods actually do once they are inside our bodies.
Wanna read more about what juice really is and does to our bodies? Read my post; ‘Sugary Drinks: A Real Food Mom’s Nemesis’. Your kids don’t need those juice boxes in their school lunches, trust me! Teach them to drink WATER instead (our bodies most IMPORTANT nutrient).
Don’t Drink Your Carbs!
When you eat, most digestible carbohydrates are converted into glucose and rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream. Too much glucose causes and insulin response and too much insulin is not good. Carbohydrates in liquid form are much more quick to cause this response. Most often when someone drinks a ‘carb/sugar -laden’ beverage it’s a pretty large quantity and usually is repeated several times per day. Don’t drink your carbs is common knowledge for a diabetic and for good reason!
Don’t want diabetes? Don’t drink your carbs…..Avoid sugary drinks like soda (even diet), fruit punch, fruit drinks, energy drinks, sweet tea, low-fat or no-fat milk and other sugary drinks. These will raise blood glucose quickly which is not good for anyone, diabetes or not. Don’t like water? No worries, I’ve got recipes and ideas for you just ahead!
So, What Is A Healthy Drink? Healthy Drink Recipes..
So, you’ve decided to bail on the sugary drinks. I’ve got you convinced it’s high time, but now what on earth are you going to drink? Many people do not actually enjoy drinking plain water. I get it! I personally like water, but sometimes I want some flavor. Not to mention there are other beverages that hold nutritional value as well.
Some of the healthiest beverages, apart from pure filtered water are lacto-fermented beverages (learn more here, here and here). However, I do realize many folks won’t be ready to jump into drinking those or making them right off of soda. You can however, start by buying store bought kombucha -look for it in a health food store or Whole Foods. Also, herbal teas and even sparkling mineral water can be excellent beverage choices.
Other decent choices for occasional consumption would be; naturally brewed sodas made without fructose, sparkling mineral water with a splash of organic fruit juice (not from concentrate), organic unpasteurized beer and organic wine.
AVOID all commercial soft drinks with fructose, high fructose corn syrup, or natural flavors, diet drinks of any kind, canned, bottled and frozen juices (all are from concentrate), fluoridated water, coffee (read more about coffee here), teas (bottled), cartons of ‘milks’, and any beverages containing agave nectar. Ditch all those powdered drink mixes of ANY kind, including hot cocoa packets.
Lucky for you, I’ve got real food blogger friends all over the world that are just as passionate as I am about drinking healthy beverages. We’ve got some fun drink recipes to share with you!
Healthy Drink Recipes
Fruit Based/Lemonade (go easy on the fruit drinks, even if they are homemade. Best to drink in small amounts (4 ounces), with a meal or paired with some fat to buffer a rapid blood sugar spike, as well as to help your body assimilate vitamins and minerals. Some of these recipes may require a juicer.
- Watermelon Limeade – Richly Rooted
- Dairy-Free Homemade Orange Julius – Health Starts in the Kitchen
- Truly Natural Lemonade – Rethink Simple
- Sweet & Simple Winter Detox Juice – More Than Mundane
- Sparkling Punch – Healing Cuisine by Elise
- Homemade Honey-Sweetened Lemonade – Red and Honey
- Copycat Jamba Juice Orange Dream Machine – Life Made Full
- Green Lemonade Juice Recipe – Gourmande in the Kitchen
- Go-To Detox Green Juice – A Happy Health Nut
- Juice Recipes Galore – Hybrid Rasta Mama
- Deliciously Spiced Apple Cider – Natural Living Mamma
- Homemade Sugar-Free Lemonade – Whole New Mom
- Pick Me Up Juice – Girl Meets Nourishment
- Gatorade Replacement: Real Food Electrolyte Drink – Real Food Girl Unmodified
- Sparkling Apple Cider Vinegar Water – More Than Mundane
- Water Kefir (Healthy Homemade Soda Alternative)– Divine Health From The Inside Out
- Flavors for Water Kefir – Delicious Obsessions
- How To Make Kombucha: A Beginner’s Guide – Delicious Obsessions
- Flavors for Kombucha– Divine Health From The Inside Out
- Homemade Strawberry Soda – A Life Made Full
Teas/Coolers & Water Flavors
- DIY Kool-Aid (sugar-free) – Divine Health From The Inside Out
- Flavor Infused Water – Five Little Homesteaders
- Wise Water Tea – Studio Botanica
- Cranberry Nettles Tea – Divine Health From The Inside Out
- Hibiscus Raspberry Green Tea – Divine Health From The Inside Out
- Healthy Sweet Tea with Honey & Lemon – Health Starts In The Kitchen
- Sweet Hibiscus Iced Tea – Hollywood Homestead
- Hibiscus Rose Cooler – Fresh Bites Daily
- Agua de Tamarindo – Fresh Bites Daily
- Hibiscus Syrup for Tea – Fresh Bites Daily
- Green Apple Spiced Tea – Healing Cuisine by Elise
- Homemade Chai Tea Concentrate – Nourishing Joy
- Strawberry Apple Mint Iced Beverage – A Life Made Full
- Pomegranate Blueberry Matcha Tea Slushy – Gourmande in the Kitchen
- Lavender Tea – Fresh Bites Daily
- Winter Chai – Real Food Outlaws
- How To Make Sun Tea– Girl Meets Nourishment
Coffees, Hot Cocoas & Lattes
- Egg & Butter Coffee – Pickle Me Too
- Homemade “Coffee” – Scratch Mommy
- Easy Homemade Cold Brew Coffee – Health Starts in the Kitchen
- Swedish Egg Coffee – Raising Vintage Kids in a Modern World
- Hot Peppermint Mocha – Just Enjoy Food
- Chai Tea Latte – Healing Cuisine by Elise
- Perfect Keurig Iced Latte – Green Eggs & Goats
- Spiced Green Chai Latte – Jar’o’Honey
- Superfoods Spicy Hot Chocolate – A Harmony Healing
- Paleo Mocha Frappucino – A Life Made Full
- Rainy Day Paleo Hot Chocolate (Dairy Free) – Hollywood Homestead
- Homemade Gingerbread Latte – Your Gardening Friend
- Homemade Cinnamon Dolce Latte – Don’t Waste The Crumbs
- Rooibos Chai – Divine Health From The Inside Out
- Chocolate Syrup for Chocolate Milk – Pickle Me Too
- Spiced Vanilla Milk – Richly Rooted
- Sweet Strawberry Milk – Richly Rooted
- Quick Almond Milk – Completely Nourished
- Cashew Milk – Don’t Waste The Crumbs
- Rice Milk – Don’t Waste The Crumbs
- Homemade Hazelnut Milk – The Coconut Frontier
- Homemade Thick & Creamy Coconut Milk – 20 Something Allergies
- American Soda Consumption
- Can You Believe These Statistics on Soft Drink Use? Dr. Mercola
- Soft Drink Consumption: The Frightening Statistics & Associated Health Risks
- What Happens To Your Body Within An Hour Of Drinking Coke
- Teenaged Girls, Carbonated Beverage Consumption and Bone Fractures (Pub Med)
- Does Drinking Beverages With Added Sugars Increase the Risk of Overweight? (CDC- with 52 additional sources listed)
A great resource to have on hand while you are learning to navigate new real whole foods as opposed to the typical processed food options we are all so familiar with, is this handy Shopping Guide from the Weston Price Foundation -I believe it’s only $2. I find it to be an invaluable resource and I order a bunch in bulk every year for my local WAPF chapter group. It’s so handy and could fit in your purse, or your car’s glove box. Pick one up -you won’t regret it!
For more reading on How To Ditch Processed Foods, check out these posts as well;
- Transition To Real Food: One Day At A Time
- How To Ditch Processed Food: What Fats Should You Be Consuming
- How To Ditch Processed Food: Choosing Meat, Seafood and Dairy
- How To Ditch Processed Food: What Sweeteners Should You Use
- How To Ditch Processed Food: Replacing Condiments
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