Healthy Drinks

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Rows of Coca-Cola soft drink line a supermarket shelf in Sydney, Australia, Nov. 17, 2008.

In a somewhat disturbing revelation, it has been revealed that Coca-Cola has been paying fitness and nutrition experts to call soda a healthy treat amidst allegations that the beverage giant is responsible for fueling the obesity epidemic.

Last month, several of these experts wrote posts for American Heart Month that included a can of Coke as a snack idea. These pieces appeared widely in major newspapers and nutrition blogs.

Ben Sheidler, a Coca-Cola spokesman, compared the pitches to product placement deals a company might have with TV shows.

“We have a network of dietitians we work with,” said Sheidler, who declined to say the amount these experts were paid. “Every big brand works with bloggers or has paid talent.”

One post refers to a “refreshing beverage option such as a mini can of Coca-Cola.” Another suggests “portion-controlled versions of your favorites, like Coca-Cola mini cans, packs of almonds or pre-portioned desserts for a meal.”

Robyn Flipse, a dietitian who wrote one of the sponsored articles for coke, said that she would suggest coke as a healthy snack even if she wasn’t being paid to do so.

“I absolutely think that I provided valuable information,” she said.

She did note, however, that she doesn’t drink soda herself, which should be pretty telling.

Regardless of whether or not it was ethically acceptable to pay health experts to pitch unhealthy products, it really goes to show the limits you can truly trust these people, and any website that peddles health cures of any kind. Hey, that’s us, isn’t it? We’ll be the first to admit that you should consult a physician or dietitian if you have any questions about your health.

But maybe try to find one that hasn’t been paid by Coca-Cola.

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The only sure fire way to lose weight and keep it off is proper diet and exercise, but this recipe will not only help you burn and flush away fat from your body, it will also energize and revitalize you! This is going to be a staple in my fridge from now on. Give it a try! It’s not too bad tasting either.

Ingredients:

  • 2 liters water
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 medium cucumber, sliced
  • 1 medium lemon, sliced
  • 12 small spearmint leaves

Place all ingredients in a large pitcher and let it steep overnight. The next day, drink the whole pitcher over the course of 24 hours. Say hello to weight loss!

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It really stinks when you have to get up early but you just can’t fall asleep. Your sleeplessness could be due to a number of things. You could be eating the wrong foods, trying to sleep counter to your natural rhythm, or spending too much time using electronics before bed. A good tip if you’ve been having trouble falling asleep is to stay away from screens for a couple hours before bedtime.

Just last night I was struggling to get to sleep, so I gave this little remedy a try. It definitely worked for me! Wasn’t bad tasting either. Let’s give it a try:

You will need:

  • 1 chamomile bag
  • 1/ 1/2 cups of organic milk or coconut, almond, or hemp milk.
  • 2 teaspoons of cocoa powder
  • 20 drops of Valerian

Instructions:

  1. Pour your milk or milk substitute into a small pan. I used almond milk. Add the chamomile tea bag and simmer for about ten minutes.
  2. Pour the cocoa powder into a mug and add a small amount of filtered water, forming a thick paste.
  3. Remove the teabag from the milk. Squeeze it to make sure the mix is drained from the bag.
  4. Add the Valerian tincture and pour the hot milk into the mug.
  5. Stir well and drink ten minutes before bed.

Photo credit: Marco Arment, Flickr

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When I get sick to my stomach, ginger is my go-to cure. Many people opt to eat ginger or drink a ginger ale, and I can absolutely attest to its abilities when it comes to settling the stomach and helping with digestion. Ginger has been used for thousands of years in China to treat nausea, arthritis, and heart disease. Instead of reaching for an unhealthy soda, let’s get into how we make our own “ginger ale” for nausea and pain.

You will need:

  • 1 cup of peeled, finely chopped organic ginger
  • 2 cups of purified water
  • 1 cup of raw organic honey
  • Sparkling water
  • 1 organic lime, juiced

Instructions:

  1. Boil 2 cups of water
  2. Add the ginger
  3. Reduce the heat to a medium-low setting, let simmer for 5 minutes
  4. Take it off the heat and strain

When serving, use 1 part of the ginger syrup to 3 parts water. Serve it over ice and enjoy!

Pretty simple, right? We hope you get to feeling better soon!

Image credit: Kim Knoch, Flickr

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Green tea is one of my favorite beverages, especially on cold winter mornings. I make sure I always keep a few different kinds in the cupboard. I may start with a cup of coffee, but I want to continue having hot beverages, so I switch to green tea. Not only is it delicious, but there are five clear reasons to add more green tea to your diet.

1. Green tea works as an anti-bacterial agent. It’s good for preventing infections and keeping you well, especially in the cold and flu season.

2. Green tea promotes good oral health, in part because it’s anti-bacterial. It helps you avoid cavities, plaque and gum disease. Of course, don’t forget to brush, floss and rinse.

3. Green tea boosts your metabolism, giving you more energy and helping you lose weight. How can you lose?

4. Green tea promotes cardiovascular health. But so does proper diet and exercise. Don’t forget that!

5. And finally, green tea helps improve your memory.

Image credit: Kelly Garbato, Flickr

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Our digestive tract is one of the hardest working series of organs in our bodies. Day in and day out, it’s working to get some of the nasty, toxic things we ingest out of our bodies. But when it falls behind, it can throw off the balance of our intestinal flora, the bacteria that lives in our intestines. Consuming probiotics like kefir is a great way to make sure the bacteria in your intestines are well balanced. This is my favorite smoothie recipe. It makes quite a bit of smoothie too, so make it a meal or share it with your friends!

You will need:

  • 1 cup of blueberries
  • 1 cup of raspberries
  • 4 large strawberries
  • 1 peach, pitted
  • 1 shot glass of prune juice
  • 1 cup of kefir
  • Water

Blend all of the ingredients in your blender and enjoy! The amount of water you use will determine the thickness of the smoothie. I personally like a thicker smoothie that you can eat with a spoon. It’ll make you feel full longer. Plus, as a rule of thumb, the more you blend a smoothie, the more oxidation will break down the nutrients. And of course, drinking your smoothie right away will deliver more of the nutrients to your body. Allowing it to sit causes some of the nutrients to break down before you can eat it.

A word of advice on the prune juice: prune juice is a force to be reckoned with, especially if you don’t typically consume prune juice. It’s a great regulator for your intestines, full of fiber, and good for your heart health too. But consuming too much if you’re not accustomed to it can have you running to the bathroom. Also, lots of gas. So take it easy with the prune juice.

A word on the kefir: you can buy yogurt-like, dairy based kefir, or vegan kefir. You can make kefir out of a lot of different things. Your choice. It doesn’t have to be dairy based.

Enjoy!

Image credit: stefano Merli, Flickr

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Stroke is something that runs in my family. Two years ago, my mother had a mild stroke. I’m proud of her for taking the initiative to improve her health, but I knew I had high cholesterol and was at risk for a stroke later in life too. So it became a requirement for me to find myself in better health too, or potentially expect the worst. Aside from eating well overall and getting plenty of exercise, this juice is one that can help us avoid it.

You will need:

  • 3 tablespoons of chopped organic basil
  • 14 medium organic carrots
  • 1/2 a peeled organic lemon
  • 5 medium organic peaches

You should do your best to find these foods at a local farmers market, and of course when you can, buy organic. Process all of the ingredients in your juicer, of course taking care to remove the pit from the peaches, stir, and enjoy. As always, make sure to consume your juice as soon after juicing as possible to get the most out of the nutrients. The longer you wait, the fewer nutrients you get from it.

Studies have shown that a carrot a day can reduce the risk of stroke by 68%. Sign me up! I love carrots. The high levels of beta carotene in the carrots has been shown to increase the survival rate of people who have already had a stroke. Additionally, this juice is good for treating acne, dry skin, ulcers, and constipation.

Image credit: ConstructionDealMkting, Flickr

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The evidence is mounting that dehydration can cause certain diseases and exacerbate others. Drinking a fresh glass each morning after you wake up is an important daily routine in Japan, and the results are clear. But what are they?

Water is universally needed to maintain good health and avoid metabolic problems, which is why the Japan Medical Assocation approved this water therapy as a successful way to treat some chronic illnesses.

According to the JMA, water therapy is effective in treating headache, heart disease, arthritis, epilepsy, asthma, tuberculosis, meningitis, kidney diseases, hemorrhoids (loosens up those bowels), eye diseases, and even menstrual pain.

Feel free to try this therapy at home. Can’t hurt, right?

  • First, drink four glasses of lukewarm water. We recommend warming cold water over the stove, as warm tap water can have a lot of nasty junk build up in the water heater.
  • Don’t eat or drink for the next 45 minutes.
  • Eat breakfast after 45 minutes.
  • Don’t eat or drink anything for two hours after you’ve eaten any meal.

If you can’t drink four glasses of water, that’s fine. Start with one glass and work your way up. Generally speaking, a good rule of thumb is to consume half an ounce of water for each pound you weigh.

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Gallstones are terrible. Members of my family have grappled with them for years now. This juice is an excellent remedy for keeping gallstones at bay, and even if you don’t have them, you should drink this juice occasionally to make sure you never get them.

Aside from helping with your gallbladder, this drink has some pretty awesome healthy bonuses that come along with it too! One problem in my house is that celery tends to go bad, so this juice helps with that little problem too.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 8 celery stalks
  • 1 lemon (peel intact)
  • 1 small tangerine (peeled)
  • 2 large green apples

Put all the ingredients into your juicer, juice, and serve!

So about those healthy bonuses. This beverage is also going to help with lower blood pressure, improved complexion, asthma, bone protection, lower cholesterol, weight loss, and digestion. As well as preventing liver cancer, lung cancer, colon cancer, breast cancer, and Alzheimers!

Image credit: Lily Monster, Flickr

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The pain from arthritis and inflammation can be downright debilitating, and while some medications will no doubt help you, you should try this juice to see if it can offer some relief as well. When it comes to health issues, I like to try everything to see what works.

You will need:

  • 1 golden beet root
  • 3 large carrots
  • 1 medium pear
  • 1/2 thumb sized piece of ginger root
  • 1/2 a cujcumber
  • 4 large celery stalks

As with any juice recipe, simply juice all of the ingredients, serve and enjoy! It’s best to drink it soon after making it. Immediately after juicing, the nutrients begin to break down.

The ginger in the juice helps reduce inflammation and the pear has anti-inflammatory effects too, which can relieve pain from arthritis and ulcerative colitis. This juice can also improve energy, lower your blood pressure, serve as a liver cleanser, reduce your risk of stroke, and lower your LDL “bad” cholesterol.

Enjoy!

Image credit: Caitlin Regan, Flickr

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