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Thursday, February 5, 2015

SICK OF DRINKING WATER? Some Healthy Alternatives

Hi there!
Half of Gabby 
has moved to a new kickass website! 

Read this article, in it’s updated version, HERE. 

The page that you are on right now (www.halfofgabby.blogspot.com) is no longer posting new articles and information. Half of Gabby has moved to www.halfofgabby.com and will continue to post new material regularly! In addition, all older articles have been updated on the new site!

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Okay I know, water is the best thing to drink when you're trying to lose weight, be healthy, and stay hydrated. 

But sometimes I just don't wanna!
{said in a really whiny yet defiant voice}. 



I do drink a ton of water, but seriously... sometimes I just need a break from it. And I'm not gonna lie, I really don't like it that much.

There are only two times where I thirst for water and actually crave it. The first is when I'm super parched. If my mouth is dry and I'm dying of thirst, no other liquid will do, I must have water. 

Secondly, if I'm working out, water is like pure liquid gold. I don't know why, but it is the only thing I could even fathom drinking when I workout. I am taken aback when I see people exercising and drinking beverages such as Gatorade and Powerade. What in the hell? For reals.

Quick Lesson on Sports Drinks:

1. Most of the sports drinks out there are full of horrific ingredients. They're loaded with added sugars (heavily refined sucrose syrups), dangerous artificial dyes for coloring, and brominated vegetable oil (BVO). BVO is also added to gasoline and farming fumigants among other insane products. It is by far the most toxic ingredient in most sports drinks. BVO has been banned in over 100 countries.

Sports drinks have long been revered as great electrolyte restorers. Yes, they do contain electrolytes but not nearly as much as fruits, vegetables, milk, and nuts as well as some other drinks (I will mention in a bit). We also load up our children with sports drinks when they are sick. STOP! They are pure chemicals.

2. Unless you are working out like a maniacal beast (which hey, awesome if you are), you are not going to become severely depleted in electrolytes. So save yourself the calories and just stick to water when you're working out.

3. Our bodies have a hard time even processing electrolytes when we are still in an active state. Electrolytes are best absorbed either BEFORE or AFTER a workout, not during. Our body processes them best in a rested state.


Okay, thats my 2-cents on that! 

Back to my love/hate relationship with water.

So if I'm dying of thirst or I'm working out, I love water. Really, REALLY love it. But at any other time, well... not so much. If I'm being honest, I really have to force myself to drink it. If you're anything like me and have trouble gulping the H2O, I have great news! I have found some alternatives that I'm really happy about and I thought I'd share them with you.

I'm going to list them by lowest to highest amount of calories.

HEALTHY ALTERNATIVES TO WATER:

Drinks That'll Still Hydrate You, But Don't Taste Like Air



1. DECAFFEINATED ICED TEA: 
Sweetened with Stevia - 0 Calories


photo from pixgood.com

I love iced tea, but not nearly as much as the hubs. Dear Lord that man, I swear he would bleed tea if he were cut. He definitely prefers the caffeinated tea (as do I), but if we're going to be drinking this up until bedtime, caffeine is a no-go. And then you have the munchkin factor. We don't let our little ones have caffeine so making a family pitcher of decaf is just much easier.

Recipe
  • Bring 8 cups of water to a boil.
  • Remove from heat and add 6-8 decaffeinated tea bags.
  • Steep for 5-10 minutes (depending on the strength you like).
  • You can opt to sweeten entire pitcher or per glass. In my home, we sweeten per glass since we each have different sweetness preferences.
  • Let cool and transfer to a pitcher and keep refrigerated. 
*You can obviously use caffeinated tea as well. 
*Iced GREEN TEA is an excellent choice given that green tea has amazing health benefits.


2. DECAFFEINATED ICED COFFEE: 
Sweetened with Stevia - 0 Calories



Ah, coffee. My love for coffee poses no temperature discrimination. Hot, cold, it doesn't matter, if there is coffee, my ass is drinking it. However, unless I wake up and it's 2000 degrees outside on a blistering summer morning, I do prefer my coffee hot in the morning. I also prefer it to be strong, which means caffeine. Lots and lots of caffeine. 

However, once we're moving into the afternoon and evening, I switch to decaf (I know, how sad.) I also really love iced coffee. So a switch to hot-caff from the first part of the day to iced-decaf in the second half of the day is a nice change.

Recipe
  • Simply brew a pot of decaffeinated coffee, let cool, and store in a pitcher in the fridge.
  • Again, you can opt to sweeten by pot or by glass.
  • If you have a Keurig machine, fill a large cup (not a coffee cup) with ice and press brew. Then add more ice and sweeten with stevia and add almond or coconut milk as your creamer.
*Again, you can opt for caffeinated.

*Obviously if you are adding milk to your coffee (I often add almond milk), the caloric value of your beverage will increase slightly.


Want to try a yummy Coffee Smoothie for breakfast? Perfect for a super busy morning. It's your coffee and your breakfast all in one drink! Click HERE for the recipe!


3. BAI 5 DRINKS: 
Sweetened with Stevia - 5 Calories (per 9 fl oz serving)



I just discovered these drinks a few months ago. OMG YUM! Bai 5 drinks are antioxidant infusions. The company infuses coffeefruit into the beverages. Yes, you read that right, coffeefruit. You know how our morning java is made from the inside of coffee beans? Well this drink is made from the OUTSIDE of the coffee beans. Don't worry, it doesn't taste like coffee at all. Each fruity flavor is out of this world. 

*There is caffeine in this drink so you might not want to chug it at night. But damn, you're still gonna want to :)

This company has a sense of humor too, which I totally appreciate. Check out the top of the box.



LOL, it made me smile :)

I just love them... and they single-handedly kept me hydrated during a recent bout of the flu. We buy them by the case at Sam's Club but most grocery stores sell them individually (usually near the organic or health section). They are sweetened with stevia so no artificial sweeteners to worry about, just a lot of yummy fruity flavors. I thought my favorite flavors were Costa Rica Clementine and Molokai Coconut but I just recently tried Congo Pear. 



OMG seriously, so delicious!


4. FRUIT INFUSED WATER: 
5-10 Calories (depending on if you eat the fruit/veggie slices)


You can easily make homemade fruit infused water. You can even add cucumbers for an added nutritious and refreshing spin. Many of the citrus fruits serve as a natural detox for the body as well, especially lemons! 

You can get my Lemon-Cucumber-Mint Infused Water recipe HERE. Super yummy! My 10 year old fills her water bottle up with it every day! She loves how pretty it looks too with the lemon and cuke slices floating around.




5. ALMOND MILK: 
40 Calories (8 fl oz serving: 5 calories per oz)


photo from store.bluediamond.com

I have a hard time with dairy so an excellent alternative for me is almond milk. It took me a little while to get used to the taste of it, but I really like it now. When I just don't feel like downing another glass of water, I'll change it up with some almond milk.




6. COCONUT WATER: 
60 Calories (11 fl oz serving: 5.5 calories per oz)



Coconut water is the water INSIDE of the coconut whereas coconut milk is made from the actual flesh of the coconut being pureed. Coconut water is nearly clear whereas coconut milk is pure white. Coconut milk is also very healthy for you and wonderful to use in recipes, but it is a little higher in calories.

Coconut water (pure, not from concentrate) is one of the healthiest liquids on the planet. The benefits far outweigh the calories. Okay, remember when we were talking about electrolytes earlier? Coconut water is the absolute best beverage to replenish electrolytes... and it's all natural. No chemicals, no poisons, no toxic dyes, just absolute goodness and nutrition. Coconut water is an excellent choice for when you or your Littles are sick. It not only hydrates you, but is very nourishing. Coconut water can also aid in weight loss, reduce blood pressure, help with digestive problems, boost energy, and clear up skin.


Here's an insane fact for you!


Coconut water is identical to human blood plasma. In extreme emergencies, coconut water can be used as a substitution for a blood transfusion. Many people who live in third world countries have had their lives saved by IV coconut 'blood' transfusions.

In addition, it has been reported that coconut IVs were used both by the British and the Japanese during World War II.


Pretty crazy, huh?




7. ALMOND COCONUT MILK: 
45 Calories (8 fl oz serving: 5.6 calories per oz)


I love this stuff. It's basically half almond milk and half coconut milk. I love the subtle coconut flavor.  I actually drink this way more often than almond milk and I use it as my creamer in my coffee (hot and iced).




8. HOT CHOCOLATE: 
50 Calories (8 fl oz serving: 6.25 calories per oz)

photo from wholesome goody.com

During winter time I'm ALWAYS freezing. I'm talkin' block-of-ice freezing. And as much of a Java Junkie I am, sometimes I just need a new hot beverage. I don't know many people who don't like hot cocoa. I mean, it's just so yummy. But I won't buy the processed junk that comes in the packets at the store. There is nothing natural or healthy about that junk and I definitely do not want my little girls drinking that chemical shit. With this hot chocolate, you are getting the low calories of the almond milk and also the many benefits and antioxidants (flavonols) of the unsweetened cocoa, even more if you use the dark cocoa powder. My girls drink a lot of hot chocolate in the cold weather and it is an absolute must for after playing in the snow!

Microwave Recipe

Ingredients
  • 1 cup Almond Milk (or preferred milk)
  • 1 TBS Unsweetened Baking Cocoa
  • 1/4 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
  • Stevia Packets, desired amount (I use 2) *NOT baking stevia
Directions
  1. Put cocoa in a mug, set aside.
  2. Microwave milk for 1 minute, then in 30 second intervals until hot.
  3. Gradually add hot milk to cocoa mug and stir well.
  4. Add vanilla and stevia and stir well.

9. CHOCOLATE MILK: 
50 Calories (8 fl oz serving: 6.25 calories per oz)


photo from www.theorganicprepper.ca

I love chocolate milk. Really love it. Almost to the point I can't stop. So I don't make this if I'm hungry. If I have an empty belly, I could drink this until I explode. Now first up, it is not going to taste like the thick, fattening chocolate milk you buy at the store. Let me just let you in on that right now. But if you love chocolate milk like I do, this really let's you feel like you're getting a treat.

Secondly, do you have any idea how much crap is in most store bought chocolate milks? Yikes. One of the first ingredients is High Fructose Corn Syrup. This is a BIG no-no. Also, most are made with cocoa processed with alkali. This method destroys all of the cocoa's wonderful antioxidants. Then throw in all of the artificial flavors and added salt and you got yourself a cup full of junk. Not to mention the typical 8oz cup of store-bought chocolate milk weighs in at around 200 calories. That's a big difference from this 50 calorie recipe (a healthy and still yummy recipe I might add).

Recipe
  • Combine 1 cup almond milk (or preferred milk), 1 TBS unsweetened baking cocoa, and 1-2 stevia packets in blender.
  • Mix on puree until all ingredients are smoothly blended
  • Serve cold

10. ORGANIC CARROT JUICE: 
70 Calories (8 fl oz serving: 8.75 calories per oz)


Now don't let these calories scare you! Obviously you're not going to want to chug this stuff all day long but for a change of pace in your hydrating world, carrot juice packs with it not only a punch in the taste department but has a slew of health benefits. It's high in potassium and in just 8 ounces, you're getting over 700% of your daily vitamin A. Carrot juice is also another wonderful, natural electrolyte restorer. It's crazy good for you and oh my is it yummy. 

Now you'll have to like carrots to like it but if you do, watch out. This is a party in your mouth! The only ingredient is carrots, THAT'S IT. 



So it shouldn't surprise you that it tastes exactly like carrots, but I gotta tell ya, it still amazes me every time. Both of my daughters and my hubs love this juice as much as me. Currently we have four big bottles of it in our fridge. It goes quick! I feel so good knowing my little girls are drinking something so absolutely pure and healthy for them and they don't even look at it like it's a health drink because it's so good :)

So moral of this story is:
Ya, you should mostly drink water to hydrate. But there's nothing wrong with changing it up. Hydration comes in many forms, some of which are very nutritious. 

You don't want to get so sick of only drinking water that you stop altogether, right? Lord knows I need to keep things interesting. I get very bored with the same food and drinks over and over.


Go forth and hydrate your sexy asses!!!


*The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content in this article is for general information purposes only. I am not a doctor, nor am I a dietitian. Talk to your physician before making any changes in your diet or exercise regimen.  The information found in this article is from various sources which include, but are not limited to, the sites listed above. I encourage you to do your own research and talk with your physician before making any changes in diet or exercise. This information in this article or on this website should never replace or serve as medical advice. NEVER DISREGARD PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE OR DELAY SEEKING MEDICAL TREATMENT BECAUSE OF SOMETHING YOU HAVE READ ON OR HAVE ACCESSED THROUGH THIS WEB SITE.

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*The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content in this article is for general information purposes only. I am not a doctor, nor am I a dietitian. Talk to your physician before making any changes in your diet or exercise regimen. The information found in this article is from various sources which include, but are not limited to, the sites listed above. I encourage you to do your own research and talk with your physician before making any changes in diet or exercise. What has worked for me may not work for you. This information in this article or on this website should never replace or serve as medical advice.

NEVER DISREGARD PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE OR DELAY SEEKING MEDICAL TREATMENT BECAUSE OF SOMETHING YOU HAVE READ ON OR HAVE ACCESSED THROUGH THIS WEB SITE.














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