It’s true. There’s never been a better time to be a non-drinker. And that’s because the world has finally realised that non alcoholic drinks are the bombdiggity, which is why roughly 98.7% of restaurants now feature their own full-fledged non alcoholic drink lists and menu pairings. It’s amazing. But what’s even more amazing is just how nutritious and delicious these non-alcoholic drinks have become.
When we were kids, going to a restaurant and picking a “special drink” pretty much meant ordering a Shirley Temple. Oh the excitement. Watching the barmen from the table, silently urging him to hurry up and then smiling as he walks toward you with that glass of pink liquid — a much more exciting colour than the nothingness of water — full of all those sugary ingredients. The super sweet grenadine syrup, the equally sugary ginger ale, and the glazed cherry (or two) to top it all off. It was the best. But it wasn’t healthy. Or even healthyish. And that’s the problem.
The Sugar Secret Is Out
It’s 2019. That means we all know that fizzy drinks (soda) aren’t good for anything. It’s not good for your teeth, your weight, your general wellbeing, or the world. Now we’ll get onto that last point in a bit but, for now, let’s crack on with the unhealthy argument, shall we? A huge amount of people still slurp on sugary soft drinks. People are all to ready to grab some fizzy drinks in the sort of 12-ounce cans that hide their fluorescent colour and glug down the 39 grams of sugar they contain. Why are we telling you this? Because we clearly need to drink better. We clearly need to give a few more dollops of consideration to the non alcoholic drinks we’re knocking back.
And don’t be thinking you’re being healthier on the sugar front by bidding adieu to booze and taking a few colas, some orange juice and a Lipton Iced Tea to your mate’s barbecue bash instead. You’re not. That’s not a reason to leap off the wagon and choose booze instead, but it is a reminder to think more, read the labels, consider your temple of a body, and make good choices when it comes to non-alcoholic drinks. Don’t believe us, just have a gander at this quick graphic. It’s crazy.
Choose Ethical Tipples
Thankfully, natural and organic are among the most desirable features for everyone that needs to drink in order to live, which is pretty much everyone we know. And that doesn’t just include the non alcoholic soft drinks we’ve mentioned so far. It goes for coffee too.
Growing coffee is a complex process. Like, there’s much to consider on the path from farm to cup. The problem is, people are still buying cheap coffee sourced from whoknowswhere (that’s not a real place in case you were about to Google Maps it). What we should all be doing instead, is blowing on and then slurping down ethical coffee. And, no, cheap coffee is almost never ethical coffee.
Cheap coffee is disgusting coffee, and that’s because it’s probably instant, which is sort of fine-ish if you’re making a brew at home, but not what you want when buying a coffee from a restaurant, shop or café. Anyway, what makes cheap coffee so cheap is the coffee organisation’s main priorities: efficiency and profit. They want to keep production costs low while making coffee as quickly and cheaply as possible, with roundabout zero regard for human or environmental welfare — or the quality of the coffee for that matter. It’s a bad-bad situation.
Now flip that on its head and you’ll see why ethical coffee is oh-so-groovy. Not only will you get to avoid drinking coffee that tastes of exploitation and guilt, but you’ll also get to sip on coffee that tastes proper delish. And that’s just the start. Ethical coffee uses beans instead of granules, meaning a) a lot less waste, b) a lot less plastic, and c) better investment into organic farming where native trees are left alone so that the environment gets some yummy benefits too – woo woo.
And the same should go with the other non-alcoholic drinks you enjoy. Fruit juices, smoothies, shakes, virgin orders – they should all be ethically sourced, whether that means they’re made from locally picked ingredients or they have a few ethical stamps of approval, like the Fairtrade one. It’s simple.
Light Non Alcoholic Drinks, Heavy Weight Gain
As we’ve established, non alcoholic soft drinks are full of sugar and sugar is bad. Not to alarm you or anything but it causes weight gain, increases your risk of heart disease, gives you spotty skin, ups your odds of getting diabetes, cancer and depression, makes you look way older than you are, saps you of energy, and a bunch of other unpleasant stuff.
Of course, you’re probably thinking, “well, I’ll just swap full-fat drinks for diet versions, that will help, right?” Wrong. We know this kind of defies the laws of physics — given regular non alcoholic fizzy drinks are full of calories (like 140 calories per can and up) and diet sodas have zero calories, and so the logical thing to do is replace one with the other — but several studies have proved that drinking non alcoholic diet soda is going to do bad things for your weight loss aspirations. And the reasons are threefold:
- Too much insulin – the moment your brain tastes any artificial sweeteners, it automatically pings a signal to your pancreas that says START PRODUCING INSULIN NOW. This isn’t ideal because insulin is what tells our body to either use sugar as food or store it as fat. Of course, when your pancreas starts producing insulin to deal with the anticipated arrival of sugar, only for no sugar to arrive, your body gets confused and your metabolic process freaks out.
- Addicted to sweetness – the more you taste something, the more you crave it, which is what makes artificial sweeteners bad. They are dramatically sweeter than sugar, meaning diet drinks are, in fact, much sweeter than full-fat drinks. So not only is your metabolic processes getting weirded out, you’ll actually start to crave sugar more than before.
- You eat and drink more – The most common way to try and lose weight is to count calories. In fact, it’s the way Weight Watchers and the popular weight-loss app, Lose It, both conduct their plans. So, if you’re counting calories, and you’ve drunk a diet drink, you’ve “enjoyed” zero calories, meaning you get a free pass to eat and drink more. Psychologically, you could be left feeling hungry and wanting even more food. It’s really far from ideal.
Super Drinks That Will Make You Feel Immortal
Let’s get one thing cleared up here, shall we: if you were to eat dead foods that are highly processed, drank lots of nasty drinks, and glugged very little water, then it makes sense that you’d look a little bit (read: a lot) older than you are. That’s why you need to try harder to be awesome, starting with what you drink.
That said, there are only so many times you can say, “Just water for me, please,” before you get bored of the blandness. Thankfully, the age-old cliche “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” actually has scientific backing because apples have loads of prebiotic benefits — not least of all, it feeds your gut bacteria. And it’s not just apples.
So, without further ado, here’s a list of super-nutritious non alcoholic beverages that promise to spice up your waterlogged palette.
- Pomegranate Juice: This guy packs a hefty antioxidant punch that can help prevent inflammation, heart disease, and cancer. Just make sure you’re sipping on pure pomegranate, and don’t accept anything that’s been diluted with other liquids or has added sugars.
- Green Tea: You can’t go wrong with a cup of the green stuff. It doesn’t matter if you just want to top up on the antioxidant front or you want to enjoy a mid-afternoon pick me up without the crash later on. It’s a total winner.
- Beet Juice: We doubt there is a drink with a more impressive CV given beets have the ability to lower your blood pressure, increase your stamina, increase the blood flow to your brain, reduce the progression of dementia, and make for a healthy liver (thank you high magnesium, calcium, and iron levels).
- Kale Juice: We know, we know – kale was 2018s most annoying trend of trendiness, but people’s love affair with stuff was totally justified. This dark and leafy green is bursting with vitamins and minerals that pretty much make everything better, from bone health to your bowels.
- Ginger Tea: Holy-moly, ginger is awesome. It’s awesome for your health, for soothing an upset stomach, relieving motion sickness, and for all those annoying parts of pregnancy, like nausea.
- Lemon Drink: In case you’re thinking we made an error, no, we didn’t mean to write lemonade – we meant lemon juice. You should be drinking lemon juice. Of course, your face is probably wrinkling up at the thought of drinking the juice of a lemon, but it’s worth it. It’ll cleanse your liver and help with digestion, not to mention boost your immune system and add a bunch of Vit C to the boogie. And, nah, you don’t have to drink it straight. Simply squeeze half a lemon into your bottle of water and enjoy.
- Coconut Water: This is probably the healthiest drink on the planet for the simple fact it contains so many bio-active enzymes and electrolytes that a) aid digestion and b) help various metabolic processes. And that’s just the beginning. It’s got loads of potassium, strengthens your immune system, eliminates nasty toxins, breaks up kidney stones, stops you ageing and, yup, quenches your thirst.
- Chach, Lassi and Kanji: Okay, so these are fermented beverages, which doesn’t sound overly-appetising, but they are still a great way to give yourself a health boost with some good gut bacteria.
- Seed Smoothie: Seeds are good for you, especially seeds like hemp and chia which are uber-wealthy on the protein and fatty acid front, not to mention they’re high in fibre too.
And there we have it: everything you could possibly need to know about why it’s unwise to sip down a non alcoholic drinks with a smile on your face, not thinking twice about what’s in it, how much sugar there is, the health implications, and what it could mean to our pretty wonderful planet. So the next time you’re a bit thirsty or picking a place to meet your BFF, make sure you pick somewhere that knows just how awesome non-drinks should be, and then delivers on that promise with a nice tall glass of something nutritious, delicious and ice cold (unless it’s a coffee or green tea that is). Enjoy.