Summer is upon us so let’s talk about drinks. There are many choices out there these days. How do we make the best choice? Do we need the extra sodium, sugar and ingredients we can’t even pronounce? How much water do we really need? For some of us these are questions going thru our minds but we end up ignoring them and keeping with the habits we already have. Habits are easy to maintain but hard to change! With so much information available these days on the internet how do we know what to believe? You use your best judgment based on what information you have dredged up and then you should add a little instinct in there. In today’s information world we tend to forget we have instincts that can help guide us into making the right decision.
For my family we choose to go a more natural route to stay hydrated. Coconut water is hydrating, naturally sweet and has more potassium than a banana. Potassium will help keep cramps and Charlie horses away. A banana a day will help control those leg cramps but for those of you that don’t care for bananas coconut water will do the same. You can get coconut water in many pre-bottled flavors or if you are adventurous or have them readily available crack in to one and drink the water straight out of the coconut. For those of us that live in the north and can’t grow coconuts it is easier to just buy pre-bottled coconut water. For those of you now searching coconut or for when you go to the store and start staring at all the coconut stuff you need to remember you are looking for coconut water not coconut milk. Coconut water is just that, the water that is inside a coconut, coconut milk is extracted from the coconut ‘meat’ or the white that is inside the coconut.
There are many brands of coconut water, some are heat expelled and some are cold processed. If you can find cold processed it is better because heat kills off some of the nutrition you get from the water. Either way you are still picking a better product than other drinks with added electrolytes that have ingredients we can’t even pronounce or added sugar and sodium. My husband really enjoys the coconut waters with pineapple, mangos and peach flavors and I really enjoy the ones that have added tea and wild orange or mango black tea. These ingredients are natural and are not additives. Look for the waters that have simple ingredients such as coconut water and pineapple or coconut water and mango and black tea. Keeping with the ones with these simple ingredients will ensure you aren’t getting coconut water that is just as tainted with chemicals as other drinks. The goal here is natural, non-gmo, organic and no additives.
As for price, yes you are going to pay more per bottle for coconut water than the other drinks. The benefits, in my opinion, out way the cost difference, pay it in eating and drinking better or pay it in doctor bills. You not only get the electrolytes your body needs to hydrate with, you also get calcium, magnesium, phosphorous and potassium which are all good for the body. There are studies that say drinking coconut water daily can lower blood pressure and improve cholesterol. Now as I said we are in the information world so for every study for something you can find a study against it too, so this is where our instincts need to kick in. My instincts say to me if I stay with more natural ingredients it has to be healthier than chemicals found in the other types of drinks. There is also something comforting about being able to pronounce the ingredients and actually know what those ingredients are without doing a google search.
My dogs have enjoyed receiving a coconut water drink on these 100 degree days because we can’t forget our pets can over heat too. They get excited when they see me holding the carton of plain coconut water; it has become a treat for them. I give them each a bowl during the hottest part of the day and they lap it right up.
I have also found that I can brew ice coffee and make lemonade with coconut water and it is delicious!
Here is a wonderful Lavender Lemonade recipe:
Make lavender syrup by heating on the stove top 3 parts honey to 1 part water and adding about 4 tablespoons of lavender. Stir this well on a low heat and let it steep all together for about 20 minutes. Now place a cheese cloth over a bowl for use a fine mesh sieve to strain. You want to strain out the lavender. Put it aside or in the fridge and let it cool. Play with this recipe to make it the consistency and flavor you like. You can store this in your fridge so you have it to add to teas, lemonades, etc.
Now squeeze about 9 lemons into a pitcher, add a cup of honey (give or take depending on your sweetness level), about 8 cups of coconut water and 2 to 4 cups of regular water to make it the lemonade consistency you want and then add about half the recipe of lavender syrup. You can add and remove ingredients as you need to in order to make this recipe work for you. Keep it in the fridge and pour it into a reusable bottle for a grab and go homemade hydrating drink. I use honey but you can use sugar in this recipe as well.
Enjoy the summer, stay safe and enjoy the things nature has given us!
“To keep a lamp burning, we have to keep putting oil in it” Mother Teresa