10 summertime ways to drink to your health

Originally published as my Holistic Outlook column in The Times Herald Record August 11, 2010  Link to original article

“What can I drink besides water?” Clients are always asking me that question, particularly after I take away their diet soda and coffee! (One cup of coffee a day, OK. More than that, not a good idea.)

Fortunately, there are options that make healthy and refreshing summertime drinks. Here are some of my favorites:

1. Iced tea. Brew a pot of herbal or green tea, double strength, and then pour it over ice for an instant cool-down. If you want it sweetened, add stevia or xylitol. Store extra in the fridge for later.

2. Jazzy seltzer. There are lots of great-tasting flavored seltzers, from raspberry to white chocolate. Avoid anything with artificial sweeteners.

3. Lemonade. My kids loved making fresh lemonade when they were little. You can get a citrus press for just a few dollars. Then all you need are some lemons (preferably organic), some water and some xylitol or stevia to sweeten.

4. Pick your own. This time of year, I love to harvest my tea from my garden and my evening walk: red clover, mint, lemon balm, nettle or dandelion leaves — all tasty and nutritious.

5. Cool-down tea. Mix red clover flowers and a few leaves of sage for a very pretty and cooling brew. (Especially recommended for menopausal women.)

6. Kombucha. This is a refreshing fermented tea drink that comes in many different flavors. Try a couple from the store, and if you’re a fan like me, you might want to invest in a home brewing system, rather than paying $4 a bottle. It is easy and inexpensive to brew at home. Here’s how

7. Electrolytes. In this heat, I see many clients’ hydration going down, down, down. That can make you feel sluggish and tired and has a huge impact on your metabolism as well. Electrolytes can help, but that doesn’t mean sugary, artificially colored and flavored drinks. Look for formulas that are all natural and sugar-free. Some come in convenient packets that you can carry and use as needed. Others are unflavored concentrates you can add to anything you’re drinking. Need suggestions? Ask me!

8. Vitamin C. Fizzy powdered vitamin C drinks are good for you and fun to use. They come in lots of flavors.

9. “Milk Shake.” Mix some unsweetened almond or coconut milk, stevia or xylitol, and some fresh local strawberries, blueberries, a peach — use your imagination! Add some crushed ice and blend.

10. “Egg Cream.” Did you drink this New York specialty when you were young? I did. My updated healthy version: half seltzer, half unsweetened coconut or almond milk, some vanilla extract and some stevia or xylitol.

Note: Stevia and xylitol are natural sweeteners that are good for you and have negligible impact on blood sugar — safe even for diabetics. As they have become more popular and available, brands are on the market that are not as healthful. For xylitol, look for pharmaceutical grade. Look for 100 percent stevia, without fillers and additives.

Fran Sussman has been a holistic practitioner in Orange County since 1993, combining nutritional counseling, kinesiology and homeopathy to address a wide range of issues for clients of all ages. Visit http://www.fransussman.com or fran@fransussman.com.

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