Skinny Daily Post

Invincible.

It’s easy to overshoot your calorie target for the day when the things you drink are sweet. Pop, juice, any drinks with added sweeteners all load up empty calories without providing much nourishment at all, and without filling you up — double threat for people who are very overweight and trying to drop pounds.

The new habit I’m working on is trading sweet drinks for ones with fewer calories. Herbal teas, herbal infusions, heavily diluted juices, water lightly flavored with citrus oils, and plain old water are all healthier alternatives. If you want to drink juice, water it down, aim for freshly squeezed ones, or drink juice with the pulp included. Vegetable juices are the best of breed.

But these days I prefer eating my calories, thank you. Maintaining my weight loss means eating many fewer calories per day than I’d like to, so I want every calorie to bring great nutrition. As a former soda-pop addict, I love finding new ways to solve the problem of wanting to drink something other than water.

I constanly prowl for drinks that are interesting, tasty, refreshing, calming or zippy, sweet or spicy or both, but always calorie free. Experimentation is my friend here. I experiment with infusions — steeping citrus peels and vegetables, roots, herbs and spices in hot or cold water. Single drops of culinary oils — peppermint, lemon, orange, cinnamon, and nut oils will turn your plain old glass of water into something refreshing, interesting, and even breath sweetening. My goal is to see how much flavor I can muster and blend without resorting to artificial sweeteners, colorings, or preservatives.

My latest interest has been blending my own herbal teas. With a good herb source and a friend or two to test your blends, you can soon develop mixes that will make you forget about your old thousand-calorie-per-day habit. Order your herbs in bulk. Collect a few infusers, and you’re in business. Below is a recipe for our latest happy experiment, named for our home, whose mortgage forces us to live like monks.

Are you kicking the sweet drink habit? Do you have hints to share? Please share your ideas.

Monastery Blend
2 parts Peppermint leaf
2 parts Lemon verbena
1 part Chamomile blossoms
1 part Stevia leaves
1/2 part lemon zest

Blend herbs. Steep two tsp. of blend per mug in boiling water for four minutes. Enjoy.

Penzeys

Special Teas

Mountain Rose Herbs

13 thoughts on “Drink Clean

  1. ellie says:

    good points–one thing I read recently though, is that a drink with some calories with a meal can raise your blood sugar and trigger a satiety response more quickly than just a meal alone. So, if you take, say, 4 ounces of juice (about 50-80 calories) and water it down, or drink 8 ounces of a sports drink, or have a cup of tea with a bit of honey, you may end up consuming fewer calories at the meal. I’ve tried it, it seems to help some.

  2. Beth says:

    I used to make regular orange juice, pour half a glass, and fill the rest of the glass with plain sparkling water. Delicious! Now I actually dilute the orange juice when I make it AND add sparkling water. I love it!

  3. Kathryn says:

    Good subject to bring up… i have been questioning my own habits lately and i need some advice. Even when i was overweight i still made sure i wasn’t wasting precious food calories on sugary sodas and juices. Yet i love the taste of diet pops and drinks. I think they are filling and are good to drink if water isn’t satisfying at the time. My problem is i just don’t know if it’s still healthy to replace diet sodas for regular? I also drink Diet Lite which doesn’t contain any sodium. is sodium what’s the problem?? if it is i think Crystal Light is an awesome juice drink! Thanks for the post… i love your insight.
    Kathryn

  4. JuJu says:

    Reader Laura sent this recipe in:

    like making Russian Tea (what my family calls it).

    In a big pot of boiling water, steep 12 whole cloves and 3 cinnamon sticks for 3 minutes. Remove the cloves and cinnamon. Add 5 decaf tea bags. Steep for 3-4 minutes. Remove the tea bags. Add the juices of 3 oranges and 2 lemons. Also add 1-2 cups of Splenda (depending on how much water you used.

    Good hot or cold!
    Enjoy!

  5. marisa says:

    I gave up a 25-year addiction to Coke (not diet) in August, when I read that a very solid medical study (Nurses Health Study; 55,000 women) had shown that even one sugar-sweetened soda a day (1) was incredibly effective at packing on weight and (2) increased the risk of diabetes by 80%! And I was drinking up to 2 liters a day (but not while on WW; then I drank “only” 24 oz). I stopped drinking it, although I continued to eat other sweets. I relapsed a bit in my post-election depression, but stopped again a couple of weeks ago. And I cut out not only Coke, but almost all sweets. The cravings were gone after two days, and I feel much better.

    Some recommendations for low-sugar drinks:

    fresh ginger tea: finely chop about 1″ of fresh ginger, boil for a while in water, strain and drink. Great for colds, and lovely any time.

    sparkling mineral water (some of them have significant amounts of calcium) either alone, or with a bit of unsweetened cranberry juice (available at Trader Joe’s) or a few drops of lime juice.

    sugar-free yogurt smoothie: blend partially thawed frozen raspberries or strawberries, partially thawed frozen mango or peaches, a small banana, and plain fat-free yogurt.

    I hate diet drinks, and never touch Splenda.

  6. Susan says:

    I make Celestial Seasonings Chai Tea. It smells wonderful and makes my tastebuds sing.

    I also like to carry around Crystal Light singles for the times when I just can’t do another glass of water.

  7. Chris says:

    I keep a regular supply of lemons in the fridge at work. I cut a wedge and put it in my water glass. This will do for several refills from the water cooler. I have also found that I can tolerate tea without sugar or milk if add a lemon wedge.

  8. Marie says:

    Another reason pop (any pop) is bad, is the acid. My dentist told me mountain dew (either kind) eats the enamel from your teeth. I can’t seem to entirely break the habit, but I’m working on it.

    A while back I had decided to cut out all caffeine and nutrasweet, and of course sugared drinks had been out a while ago. No caffeine + no nutrasweet at the time left me with not a lot of choices. So I set out to like tea, figured there must be *some* kind I liked, and I found out that tea is actually not half bad. What I had thought was a dislike for tea, was actually a dislike for plain black lipton, plunked in boiling water and then left there for 10 minutes. I found out later this is NOT how to treat tea. Stash tea is great btw.

    Aside from regular tea I’ve found ginger “tea” to be pretty good. From fresh ginger, or from tea bags you can get in the health food store. Supposed to be good for you in a zilion ways too. And, good in a pinch if you have a Thai food craving that won’t go away.

    I also had two doctors (friends that are docs, not my personal one) tell me nutrasweet was bad bad bad, and SPlenda is better and that’s what they drink. Not sure if I entirely trust it, but I like the taste. There are several varieties of sparkly splenda fruit water out there, that are good. Carbonation is also supposed to be bad for you though ..for bones or something. So, one thing I like is the water H20, that’s some darn good stuff. Tastes like it might actually have fruit in it, imagine that. And oh yeah, Hansen’s pop, has the carbonation, but has splenda instead of nutrasweet, and tastes pretty amazing..again, like actual fruit. Haven’t seen faygo taste like that in a long while.

    And oh yeah, I water down my orange juice too. I get some really odd looks, but it tastes better to me that way now.

  9. Quinn says:

    Cold filtered water. That’s my drink of choice for most of the year. Yup, even in winter. Took awhile to develop a taste for it, but well worth it. My face doesn’t break out, moods tend towards the even-tempered, just feel better.

    As a general rule, if you feel thirsty, then your body wants water. Ordinary water is best, no flavorings or additives or sweeteners as they interfere with re-hydration. Gatorade was designed for people running marathons in 90+ heat. Us regular folks don’t need that stuff.

    A mug of hot tea on a cold winter’s day fills a lot of needs though. mmmmmmm, hot tea with ginger and just a half teaspoon of wildflower honey. happy sigh.

  10. victoria says:

    I am in love with Fruit 2-0, especially strawberry and peach; also sparkling fruit waters (the wal-mart brand is the best, believe it or not!) over ice for a refreshing “sweet” fix. If you haven’t tried them, you are missing out!

  11. jen says:

    I’ve just been catching up — I haven’t been here in a while. Given my current effort to get back to my good eating habits, I have a feeling I’ll be back often.

    An old boyfriend of mine played baritone in a drum and bugle corps every year, which often meant 12-hour rehearsals on a summer day in CA. His philosophy was, “If you don’t have to pee, you’re dehydrated and you need water.”

    I still live by that rule.

  12. Amy Solomon says:

    These drinks all sound wonderful.
    But still the healthiest and lowest (no calorie) drink is still water.
    Have you ever tried “Pi water” or living water, this is the only water I know which has turned my dehydrated friends into water drinkers.

  13. Stretchy says:

    Tried Beth’s suggestion and it is great.
    I switched to STEVIA, and I add a cinnamon stick to my black tea to spice it up.
    Most of all, I drink lots of plain water, but like fruit 2-0 on hot days.
    A friend suggested Black Cherry Berry Tea (Cel.Seasonings)
    and it is good in the early evening, as it has calming camomile. I like to start to wind down …
    Green teas: I like em plain or with flavors like lemon
    my fave green is Long Life Jasmine green tea. (fragrant!)
    Many Many times a cup of tea has stopped me from eating a muffin or something like that. I’m going to try Russian Tea.

    I want to try Pi water too.

    I do have a question. I am a sipper, drinking my 8-10 glasses as I go through my day. My daughter drinks her water like this: she downs 3 glasses before work, and 5 glasses back to back when she gets there at 9am. Then she is “done” for the day.
    I couldn’t do that, and it seems…. well??? what do you think?

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