A Healthier Soda
With the weather getting warmer and picnics for Memorial Day planned, you may be wanting to pack some refreshing beverages. I still see so many people drinking Coke, Pepsi and other commercial sodas. I wish I could grab these death brews from peoples’ hands and pour them out, saving them from this toxic mess but I’d probably get arrested. Instead I will let you know here that these soft drinks are incredibly bad for your health and you should stop drinking them immediately for a number of reasons.
The #1 reason to avoid them in my opinion is the sugar or high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in commercially made sodas. Sugar and its worse twin HFCS cause a huge insulin release when consumed in the quantities found in just one can of soda, sending your body into hormone fluctuations and fat storage. Did you know there is 39 grams of sugar in a 12 oz can of Coke? That is nearly 10 teaspoons! Would you ever measure out and add 10 teaspoons of sugar to a glass of anything?
If you drink soda or other sugary foods frequently, spiking your insulin in this way causes what is called Insulin Resistance, where your body no longer pays attention. The next step is Diabetes. Sugar is also the most inflammatory food you can eat. What this means is that sugar is causing so much inflammation to your body, it goes into overdrive repairing all the damage. Your body increases production of cholesterol, the cell repairer, causing plaque build up. Not only that but your immune system has trouble keeping up with the damage and you end up with inflammation related diseases like Heart Disease, Arthritis, Cancer as well as Auto-Immune Diseases like MS, IBS, and Crohn’s. Yes, all from too much sugar.
But don’t think that diet sodas are any better! The chemicals the companies use to sweeten those drinks like Aspartame, Saccharin and Sucralose, have been shown to release insulin as well (not to mention cause cancer)! And even though they are zero calorie, diet sodas actually cause weight gain, not weight loss. Researchers from the University of Texas found that over the course of about a decade, diet soda drinkers had a 70% greater increase in waist circumference compared with non-drinkers. And if they drank two or more sodas a day? A 500% greater increase!
Sugar isn’t the only reason to avoid soda though. There is also the chemical coloring, artificial flavoring, and the hormone disrupting chemicals leaching from the plastic bottles into the drink, just to name a few (see infographic at right for more).
So stay away from the commercial sodas and make your own much healthier refreshing bubbly beverage instead. There are recipes online for making your own root bear and cola, but since strawberries are coming in to season and are super good for you, I’m sharing a recipe for a sugar free bubbly strawberry lemon soda made even more fabulous by adding a few basil leaves. It is really delicious. Enjoy!
Strawberry, Lemon, and Basil Soda
SERVINGS: Makes 1 12 oz. drink but I encourage you to make a whole pitcher!
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 6 drops of liquid stevia
- 6 fresh basil leaves
- 5 small strawberries (or 3 large strawberries, quartered) plus 1 thin slice for garnish
- 1 pinch kosher salt
- 3/4 cup sparking water
Combine fresh lemon juice, stevia, basil, whole strawberries, and salt in a pint glass. Muddle ingredients with a muddler or a wooden spoon until strawberries release all of their juice. Strain by pressing through a fine mesh strainer into a 12-oz. glass filled with ice cubes. Add sparkling water and stir to combine. Garnish with a strawberry slice.