You have heard the bad and the ugly from us with regards to soda. We have sounded the alarm over and over again that soda, both regular and diet, is not only a waste of money but a detriment to your health.
The average American downs two cans of soda a day. In fact, soda is the biggest source of calories for Americans.
High fructose corn syrup is a popular ingredient in soda and is a loosely bound, highly unstable sugar that forms compounds that damage cells and tissue, and is linked to diabetes. When products with HFCS are consumed, there is a tremendous strain on the pancreas and, according to research, the risk of pancreatic cancer may increase.
The risk of developing metabolic syndrome, a condition involving extra fat around the stomach, and organs beneath the stomach, along with elevated blood pressure, low levels of good cholesterol and obesity, is 50% higher amongst people who consume one or more sodas each day.This condition can lead to heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
This cheap and deadly sweetener is found in baked goods, as well as canned and most sweetened beverages on the market today. An average can of soda contains 17 teaspoons per 20 ounces, or 13 teaspoons per 12 ounces.
Another dangerous ingredient in soda is sodium benzoate – thought to induce hyperactivity in children. When sodium benzoate combines with citric or ascorbic acid it forms benzene. Benzene is a known cancer-causing agent which increases the risk of leukemia and other cancers.
Soda is high in phosphorus and researchers state that it is because of soda consumption that phosphorus levels in most Americans is “off the charts.” When levels are elevated, calcium is not absorbed well and leaches out of bones, causing bone loss and osteoporosis. Studies have shown that the phosphoric acid in soda pop can dissolve bones at a rapid rate.
In addition, individuals who consume soda on a regular basis may develop kidney stones because minerals are being flushed from their bodies. Adults over 40 need to be especially careful because the kidneys become less able to flush the phosphorus from the body. A low calcium to phosphorus ratio increases the risk of hypertension and colon cancer.
The most common artificial sweetener in soda and diet drinks is aspartame. Introduced in the 1970s as a “safe” alternative to sugar and saccharin, aspartame has been linked to numerous health problems. Recent studies have linked the chemical to neurological degeneration, seizures, chronic fatigue, cancer and death. Aspartame is also known to cause severe allergic reactions in people sensitive to it. Aspartame has also been linked to type 2 diabetes and obesity onset.
Ok, so now, that covers at least part of the ugly and the bad regarding soda, we actually have some good news. If you enjoy soda there is a way to enjoy the same bubbly goodness without all the dangerous additives.
Here are three alternatives to store-bought soda that not only taste good but are also good for you.
Hibiscus Ginger Ale
If you happen to grow hibiscus flowers you can use the dried flowers to make a lovely flavored tea. When you mix the tea with ginger, you have a tasty and refreshing drink.
- 1/2 cup of organic hibiscus flowers
- 3/4 cup coconut crystals
- 1/4 cup grated ginger root
- Juice from 1/2 fresh organic lemon
- Pinch of Himalayan salt
- Combine the flowers, ginger root, sugar, lemon juice, salt and 1 cup of filtered water in a small saucepan.
- Bring to a boil over high heat.
- Stir to be sure that all the coconut sugar has dissolved.
- Strain all of the syrup into a glass jar; squeeze the solids to get the most flavor.
- Discard the flowers and ginger root.
- To make soda, mix 3 tablespoons of syrup with 8 ounces of carbonated water.
- Store in the fridge and use within a few days for best results.
If you like energizing drinks, this one is for you. Packed with vitamin C and a refreshing taste that will satisfy your senses, this homemade soda is sure to please.
- 1/2 grapefruit
- 1/2 orange
- 2 limes
- 1 cup of coconut crystals
- Use a vegetable peeler to remove the zest from the fruit.
- Cut the fruit in half and extract the juice with a juice squeezer.
- Pour the juice into a glass measuring cup and add enough filtered water to make one cup of liquid.
- Combine the liquid zest and coconut sugar in a small saucepan.
- Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat.
- Remove when all of the sugar is dissolved.
- Let the mixture cool and then strain into a glass jar.
- Stir 3 tablespoons into cold carbonated water to make a delicious summertime treat.
- Store in the fridge and use within 3 days for best results.
Coconut Water – Kefir Soda
This probiotic powerhouse soda can be made in a number of flavors. Probiotics are beneficial in a number of ways. One of the primary benefits comes from their ability to help the digestive tract function optimally. Probiotics can help the body filter out damaging toxins, chemicals, harmful bacteria and other waste products.
Probiotics can also help boost the immune system. By making the intestinal tract function properly, good bacteria can help the immune system fight off infections and germs. Symptoms such as fatigue, diarrhea, urinary tract infections and muscle pain have been associated with imbalances in the bacteria of the digestive tract.
Coconut kefir water is simply coconut water (which is rich in health promoting properties) fermented with water kefir grains. Although you may be familiar with dairy milk kefir and fermented beverages such as kombucha, coconut kefir gets very little attention, although its nutritional workup is incredible.
You will pay quite a bit at a whole food store for a container of coconut kefir water. Save money by making your own – it’s simple. This kefir water is berry-flavored and tastes great on its own or as a smoothie base.
Glass mason jar with lid
- Piece of cheesecloth
- Plastic strainer
- Plastic measuring spoons
- 1 quart organic coconut water
- 3 tablespoons water kefir grains
- Place the water kefir grains in the coconut water.
- Cover the jar with cheesecloth so that grains can breathe – allow the kefir grains to culture the coconut water for 24 to 48 hours, out of direct sunlight.
- Once the culturing process is complete, remove the kefir grains using a strainer.
- To refresh kefir grains, add them to a quart of water with a ¼ cup of coconut sugar. Let this sit for about 48 hours so that the sugar water has time to feed the grains.
Note: Never use metal utensils when dealing with live cultures.
Making the kefir soda
- Once you have your kefir water made you can use it to make healthy and delicious soda that your whole family will love. Here are some simple ways to transform your coconut-kefir water. These drinks taste best if you use second fermentation water.
- Add 1/4 cup of organic orange, grape, blueberry, cherry juice to 1 quart of kefir water for fruity soda
- Add several slices of fresh ginger to make gingerale
- Add 1/4 cup of prune juice for a drink that that tastes like Dr. Pepper
- To make a delicious cream soda, place fermented coconut kefir water in the fridge with a tight-fitting lid. Add organic vanilla extract before drinking – experiment to find the right amount for you.
Always be sure to drink at least 8 glasses of water daily, in addition to these great tasting soda alternatives.
Coconut kefir water is just one of the many ways you can use coconut to improve your life. Discover how coconuts can boost your thyroid, fight cancer, accelerate fat loss and detox your body here.