Year after year, a good chunk of the most popular New Year's Resolutions all revolve around our own personal health and wellness. Whether the goal is loose weight, eat healthy or start any sort of diet (like Keto, Whole 30 or Paleo) one thing that we feel is often overlooked is what people are drinking!
I normally am a healthy drinker myself but in my previous job, I'd often get whole cases of samples of sweetened iced teas or other sweetened beverages. While having those in the house I found that it was so easy to drink 2 or ever 4 of those suckers in a day and before I knew it, I was drinking anywhere from 40-100g of sugar in a day! I noticed that I'd start getting sugar cravings and before I knew it, I was doing the same thing again the next day but even worse, I'd find myself going to the grocery store to buy one or two things of candy!
Just drinking those drinks really would throw off me off of my routine, make me sluggish and craving sugar like crazy. And I'm not the only one! Did you know that the added sugar from beverages is the single largest source of added sugar in the American diet?! There's tons more awesome info on sugar and beverages on this page if you're interested! With that being said, let's go through some options we have to curb this addiction and additionally I'm going to throw in a few tips, tricks and even other products that I love to drink myself!
Water is everywhere, it's cheap and super awesome for you! A key foundation of pretty much any healthy diet is drinking a lot of water. I'm not really picky when it comes to the water I drink (unless it's well water, sorry...I just can't do it!). The funny thing about that is in my last job, I actually sold 7 different types of premium bottled water and the fact that we imported plastic bottles of water from France and sold them for $3/bottle is actually part of the reason why I found myself starting BESTeas! I just didn't like the fact that it wasn't affordable, sustainable or good for the environment.
If you're not down with just the tap, here's some of my favorite recommendations:
- Filter It Up: Get yourself a good filter and use it often! One of my personal favorites is the Berkey Filter. They're made with high quality parts and there are multiple sizes to fit whatever your household needs are. Additionally, if you're looking to save a bit, they've got a discount on dented and dinged up filters!
- Bring A Water Bottle With You: Find yourself a good water bottle and bring it with you everywhere! This is a good habit for you to make sure that you're getting your 8 glasses in for the day! There are countless of excellent water bottle manufacturers but one that I personally love is Healthy Human Life.
- Mountain Valley: While I don't do it often, when I feel really run down I sometimes buy Mountain Valley. It's a high quality, domestically sourced water that can be found in glass bottles. I personally try to avoid using a lot of plastic so the fact that they've got such a premium product and it can be found in glass is awesome for me!
2. Sparkling Water
If you're used to bubbles from sugary sodas, one good way to still get those bubbles without any of the sugar is with a sparkling water. There are countless awesome brands out there but there a few tricks to be learned here!
- Naturally Flavored Bubbles: There are countless brands in this space right now and most retailers have created their own private label versions that are really good as well! Some brands you'll most likely find in this category are: LaCroix, Bubbly (owned by Pepsi) and Polar Seltzer.
- More Flavorful Bubbles: For those of us who want a bit more flavor, there are a few really good sparkling water options out there that have added in a bit of real fruit juice to create a really great beverage option. FYI. these are typically a bit more expensive on a per can basis than the first category. Some of my favorite options are Spindrift's Lemon flavor ($3.69/4 pack at Trader Joe's, $5.99/8 pack at Target) and the recently launched Lemon & Ginger offering from Trader Joe's ($2.99/4 pack).
- DIY Bubbles: If you're looking to get creative and have a SodaStream, one fun thing I like to do is to add a splash of fruit juice in the bottle to add a good deal of flavor! You can create your own fun concoction with multiple different juices even but just make sure you're not adding a ton of juice in there because juice is high in sugar!
3. Iced Tea
The ready to drink tea/iced tea aisle can be a landmine of sugar/sweeteners if you're not careful! Just because it's tea and tea is healthy does not mean that a tea with 50g of sugar added to it is by any imagination a healthy option. These are great options for people used to a caffeine boost and
- Good Bottled/Canned Options: There are countless good bottled/canned tea options available. Some brands that typically stay away from sweetening their teas are: Tejava Tea (can be found at Trader Joe's) and Ito En are my favorites.
- DIY Iced Tea: Making anything at home is far more economical and can be a lot of fun! There are countless great guides online and depending on the type of tea that you enjoy, there are even multiple fairly quick and easy ways to brew up something delicious without much effort! Having a fridge filled with plenty of unsweetened iced tea is one of my favorite ways to affordably hydrate myself!
My favorite way to get my probiotics! Kombucha is the definition of an acquired taste but once you get the hang of it and find your favorite flavor, there is a whole world of excellent kombuchas out there for you to try! They're high in anti-oxidants and a super source of probiotics for those of us who try to keep our guts in check! One major downside of kombucha is that it isn't the most affordable product out there. This is because it's never pasteurized (to keep the probiotics alive) and therefore needs to be refrigerated throughout it's lifecycle which makes it really hard for companies to keep the price down.
- Favorite Kombuchas: There are so many awesome kombuchas being made across the country right now so this is a hard one to nail down! Anything made by GT's is bound to be good since this is the company that pretty much brought the category to the world. Besides GT's some of my personal favorite flavors are the Pink Lady Apple by Health Ade, Brew Dr's Superberry and finally Holy Kombucha's Prickly Pear (based out of Austin so might be hard to find!).
- Drink Local Kombucha: Beyond those big brands, I'm sure wherever you are there's a small kombucha company within your neck of the woods! There's somebody out there, putting their everything into making their best kombucha and they'd truly appreciate your support! My personal favorite local Kombucha right now is Forage Kombucha based in Madison, WI (I'm in Chicago). As a small business owner, I really try and to support my fellow small businesses when possible because I know how much that support matters!
- Watch Out: So recently there's been a few brands that are pasteurized which can kill the probiotics in the kombucha. This isn't "authentic" kombucha and in my opinion is pointless.
5. Sparkling Teas
Last but not least it's time to pump up what we've made here at BESTeas! We're committed to making the BEST unsweetened beverages possible and think that there's so much fun to be had in the idea of a full flavored beverage that's both functional and affordable! We've got 3 flavors currently and we're on a mission to continue to create the BEST unsweetened drinks possible and make them accessible and affordable to everyone!
- Black Tea w/ Lemon - Light and refreshing but just enough caffeine (45mg) to get you through the afternoon.
- Green Tea w/ Pomegranate - Bold green tea mixed with the subtle sweetness from real pomegranate and a bit of fun from the carbonation! 35mg of caffeine per can for these green delicious babies.
- Hibiscus w/ Lime - Super refreshing and delicious bubbly hibiscus with a bit of tartness from real lime juice. Chocked full of antioxidants but free from caffeine makes this a personal nighttime favorite for me!
Try your best to avoid excess added sugars or sweeteners! I completely understand how hard this can be but once you commit to this and your taste buds change, you'll never want to go back! Think of those sugary cans as completely wasteful calories that are holding you back from reaching your goals. After a few weeks this gets a whole lot easier!
That sums up our beverage guide to start off 2019! We hope that this was helpful for you and we truly believe that taking control over what you drink is paramount to taking back your health. To help empower you on this journey, we're offering 15% off with the promotional code "2019Guide" (or follow this link) and for our final pro-tip all orders of 2+ cases get free shipping!
I hope you have a wonderful start to your year!
Founder - BESTeas