Just a side note: According to NPR, “Artificial food dyes are made from petroleum and approved for use by the FDA to enhance the color of processed foods.” They are linked to cancers and hyperactivity….and are illegal in the UK! (Note: They are LEGAL in the US!) Start reading more labels, you’ll be shocked to know how many foods have artificial dyes!
My new favorite drink this summer is a homemade soda. It’s so simple and SO MUCH better than a store bought soda. Just a warning…once you start drinking this, you’ll never drink a store-bought soda again.
Simple Syrup + Mint + Club Soda or Sparkling Water
To make the simple syrup, bring one part water and one part organic sugar to boil (I usually make at least 1 cup.....which makes around 8 sodas). After it cooks for 2-4 minutes and the sugar is complete dissolved, set aside, add mint leaves (or any other flavors such as vanilla bean, lavender, etc) for flavor, if you want it, and let fully cool (minimum 20 minutes). Add as much or as little simple syrup to the club soda and enjoy!
When I used to work at AOL, they always made fresh flavored waters everyday….which I found to be amazing and it hooked me big time! Adding fruits or veggies to water does not provide a strong flavor, but it’s just enough to turn a simple glass of water into a fun, satisfying drink! Plus, it’s great to make when you have leftover fruits and veggies. I really enjoy adding citrus fruits (lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruits) to water, as I think this provides the strongest flavor and I love the lime + ginger flavor (any way I can factor in fresh ginger to my diet…is pretty much a win!).
And if you know me at all, you know my favorite, all-natural drink is tea :) Thus, when Tea Horse from the UK sent me some tea to taste, I was delighted to write about it on my blog! They have a program similar to a wine of the month club….but for tea: you can subscribe to get a few samplings of loose leaf tea each month. I received Cylon Nuwara Eliya (black tea), Silver Rose (white tea) and Panyong Golden Needle (black tea). Naturally my favorite was the Panyong Golden Needle; this tea contained notes of caramel and cocoa and had hints of spiciness. I typically always drink my tea with local honey and milk….and both tasted delicious with this cup. This is certainly a cup I could drink all day long….
FYI...My obsession with tea is now making it’s way to my baking! Rather than using water, I have planned a few recipes which I’ll swap the water with tea….for an extra dash of flavor. Recipes to come!
As I was searching the Tea Horse website, I found a list of health benefits of tea that I thought would be interesting to share:
- Regular drinking of black tea contributes to reduced blood pressure, which can help reduce the risk of heart disease
- Tea contains polyphenols, which have an antioxidant effect on the body - protecting against some age-related diseases, heart disease, acting as an anti-inflammatory, boosting immunity, improving skin condition and have been shown to inhibit the development of cancer cells
- A component unique to black and oolong teas like our Monkey Picked Oolong, theaflavin-2, has also been found to kill cancer cells, suggesting that these teas can contribute to reducing the risk of cancer and protect against brain disease
- Tea, particularly pu’erh and oolong, can help reduce cholesterol and these two types particularly are known for contributing to weight-loss, when drunk as part of a healthy diet
- Tea also contributes to dental health, strengthening tooth enamel and protecting against cavities - particularly green tea
- On its own, tea contains no calories and is really hydrating (being mainly water!), so great to keep us feeling good throughout the day
What is your favorite all-natural drink?