Healthy Ways to Upgrade Your Beverage Choices
When it comes to beverages they are the fastest way to load up on empty calories and sugars. If you want to upgrade your health, this is a great place to start!
- The quality of your coffee is very important. Most coffee beans are heavily sprayed with pesticides during the growing process. In order to avoid consuming pesticides (bug killing chemicals) every day, purchase organic coffee. If you can get organic Fair Trade coffee – that is even better! Some coffee shops in San Diego use organic beans. Starbucks and other conventional coffee shops do not.
- How many cups of coffee are you drinking per day? If the answer is more than two, then it’s time to reconsider your dependency on caffeine. Also, pay attention to the size of your coffee cup. One 8 oz. cup of coffee, or two shots of espresso, is considered a serving size.
- Timing of coffee: if you are someone who has a hard time sleeping, consider having a cut-off time to stop drinking caffeine. Try having your last coffee before 3 p.m. I recommend you drink your morning cup of coffee after breakfast. Coffee tends to numb your hunger cues so your body can’t tell that it’s hungry. This leads to a later breakfast time which is not ideal for metabolism or blood sugar levels.
- What do you put in your coffee? Flavored creamers, artificial sweeteners and white sugar are not recommended. These are all processed ingredients that you should not drink on a daily basis. Use coconut palm sugar or coconut palm nectar for a sweetener instead. For a non-dairy creamer, you can use an organic coconut creamer or try unsweetened coconut milk. If you can tolerate dairy, you can use organic half & half.
- A great coffee alternative that still boosts your energy is called Dandy Blend. I like to mix it with coconut milk and coconut palm sugar.
- Coconut water is the most balanced electrolyte available. Make sure to get raw coconut water without any fancy flavorings like chocolate or pineapple. Drink a maximum of 8 oz. of coconut water per day.
- Ultima Electrolytes: add 1-3 packets per day into water. Electrolytes help your body to absorb more water to help you stay hydrated.
- Heavy beers (IPAs, Guinness etc.) have far more calories and are harder for the liver to process than lighter beers.
- Lighter colored alcohols such as vodka and tequila are easier for the liver to process than dark liquor like whiskey, bourbon and rum.
- Red wine and white wine are good options too – limit sweeter wines like rose and champagne.
- Recommended amount of alcoholic beverages per week is 0-7 for women or 8-10 for men. Ideally these would be spread out throughout the week instead of all on the weekend.
- Eat something before you drink alcohol to protect your stomach lining and your liver. Have a little snack or a meal before you start drinking.
Juices & Smoothies
- Most juices have a large amount of sugar in them. Focus on green juices that don’t have a ton of sugar. Evolution is a good brand and Suja has one green juice that is lower in sugar.
- Smoothies have more fiber than juices. Avoid the pre-made smoothies from Naked because they are loaded with sugar.
Other Recommendations for Healthy Beverages
- Filtered water.
- Water with lemon, lime, mint, cucumber or berries.
- Unsweetened tea (hot or iced): green or black.
- Herbal teas: mint, citrus, berry, cinnamon, chamomile, ginger, ginger/turmeric, etc.
- Sparkling water (up to 3x per week).
- Matcha green tea powder (hot or cold beverage).
This tip is brought to you by Aya Healthcare nutrition expert Amy Krasner of Nourished Balance.