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4 Ultra-Healthy Alternatives to Soda That Kids Will Love
What to do when you can’t stop drinking soda.
Soda is a tough one for both children and adults. A 20-ounce bottle of coke contains about 65 grams of sugar, not to mention a bunch of funky ingredients like colour and “natural flavour.” And yet, many are addicted to the sugary, fizzy taste. Not surprising that all that soda is being blamed for an obesity epidemic taking place worldwide.
Sugar is highly addictive. In a study by Connecticut College, when rats were given the choice between Oreos and an injection of morphine, they chose the Oreos about 50 of the time. So let’s start by giving our sugar-addicted friends a little compassion. It’s an uphill battle for many.
But it doesn’t have to be. Giving up soda doesn’t have to mean a dreary life of dragging around water bottles. (Though it wouldn’t hurt!) Any of these tasty beverages satisfy the sweet tooth while nourishing the body in a myriad of ways.
Reinventing the Smoothie
Store-bought smoothies are often packed with too much sugar and not enough fibre. This recipes solves that problem by adding chia seeds, which help to thicken the smoothie and ensure a good healthy bowel movement each morning.
Unless you have access to raw milk, skip the dairy and blend up your own “milk” with water, hemp seeds and/or almonds. If you’re using the milk in smoothies, you don’t need to filter it through a nut bag either. Just blend and go!
Make sure to soak the almonds overnight in apple cider vinegar, which helps to neutralize enzyme inhibitors and remove phytates, making all their lovely nutrients more accessible to your body.
Ninja Hemp Smoothie
1 cup water
1/2 cup frozen berries
1/2 cup frozen bananas
3 tbsp hemp seeds
2 tbsp goji berries
1 tbsp hemp oil
1 tbsp flax oil
1 tbsp chia Seeds
handful of soaked almonds
1. Soak almonds overnight in apple cider vinegar. Rinse in the morning.
2. About 10 minutes before blending, soak goji berries in water and allow them to rehydrate. (They won’t blend well if you skip this step.)
3. Add the remaining ingredients, blend and enjoy.
Exploring Fermented Drinks
Fermented drinks are exploding in popularity in the natural health world. They’re especially great for kids and soda-lovers because they’re fizzy and sweet, so thus delivering a one-two punch to the soda craving.
But fermented beverages do more than that. They contain a giant dose of probiotics, which does wonders for digestion. A few days of fermented beverages and you should have some of the healthiest bowel movements you’ve had in years! If you’ve ever suffered from constipation, this will help, and possibly solve the problem entirely.
Fermented drinks improve your gut bacteria, meaning you can absorb food better, getting more nutrients from less calories.
Coconut Water Kefir
3 tbsp water kefir grains
1 litre coconut water
1. Pour coconut water into a 1 quart Mason jar and drop the kefir grains inside.
2. Cover with a cheesecloth or dish cloth.
3. Wait 24 to 48 hours for the beverage to ferment.
4. Strain off the kefir grains and enjoy!
OPTIONAL: If you like your beverage fizzier, seal the Mason jar and leave it on the counter for a day or two. You can also add fruit or shrub before sealing, for a more soda-style beverage.
Kombucha is as good for kids as it is for adults. Don’t worry about the caffeine in the tea, the kombucha SCOBY will eat most of the caffeine and sugar while it’s fermenting. By the time the kombucha is ready to drink, only 10 percent of its sugar is left in the soda.
8 cups water
4 black tea bags
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup brewed kombucha
1. Bring water to a boil and add tea leaves.
2. Stir in sugar until it melts.
3. Allow the tea to cool completely. Leave it overnight if necessary.
4. Pour the tea into a 1/2 gallon jar, adding the SCOBY and the brewed kombucha last.
5. Cover with a cheesecloth or dishcloth and leave for seven to ten days.
6. Your kombucha should be ready to drink after about seven days, but leave it a little longer if you like it more tart.
7. Transfer the tea into 1 quart mason jars and seal. Leave on the counter for a few days if you like it fizzy, or transfer to the fridge to stop carbonation.
All-Natural Flavour Syrups
Shrubs or drinking vinegars are natural syrups that make a tasty addition to kombucha, kefir, or even plain old carbonated soda.
Although it required a little more work, this cold-process shrub yields a tastier syrup. There are hot-process methods that are faster if you’re in a pinch, but you won’t get the same brightness in the taste.
This is a beginner shrub that can be added any of your fermented beverages after the fermentation is finished. Add a little shrub as you are transferring the soda into smaller jars and then leave it on the counter to carbonate.
Beginner’s Fruit Shrub
1 cup berry of choice
1 cup sugar
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1. Mash berries with sugar and refrigerate for a day or two, until the fruit and sugar mixture turns to a liquid.
2. Strain out the chunks and add vinegar.
3. Transfer back to fridge for about a week, shaking the mixture daily.
4. Your shrub is now ready to use. It does not need to be refrigerated and can last on the shelf for up to four months.