With the hotter weather it’s important to remember to keep yourself hydrated, especially if you’re exercising. Avoid reaching for soft drinks, fruit juices, and other beverages that are loaded with sugar and empty calories. Instead choose good old H2O—preferably purified or filtered water—to quench your thirst. Water is crucial to many of the processes in the body, including circulation, digestion, absorption of nutrients, removal of wastes, and maintenance of a constant body temperature.
When you want a change from plain water, add a squeeze or two of fresh lemon or lime juice. Or make a batch of sugar-free lemonade or green tea lemonade using the recipe in Eating Alive II. Freeze the homemade lemonade in Popsicle containers to make healthy frozen treats.
The Lemonade recipe calls for stevia instead of sugar. Stevia is a plant that grows naturally in South America. Extracts of its leaves have been used for centuries in Brazil and Paraguay as a safe, natural sweetener. Stevia is 200 to 300 times sweeter than sugar, but it doesn’t cause an increase in blood sugar levels and doesn’t promote tooth decay. Apparently yeast don’t have enzymes to digest stevia but your good intestinal bacteria do. Stevia is sold in leaf, powder, and liquid forms. The recipes in Eating Alive II use the white stevia extract, which is a very fine powder.
You can keep a dropper bottle of stevia solution (1 tsp/5 ml of stevia powder dissolved in 3 tbsp/45 ml of filtered or purified water) in your fridge and use it to make a quick glass of lemonade: in a tall glass, stir together water, 1 or 2 droppers of stevia solution (to taste), ice, and freshly squeezed lemon juice (to taste)—add the sections of squeezed lemon for more flavour.
Another alternative to sugary beverages is to try your favourite herbal tea over ice. Just make the tea using boiled water as you normally would, remove the tea bag and allow the tea to cool a bit, then pour the tea into a glass juice jar and put it in the fridge to cool. Pour into a glass, add ice, and enjoy.