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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Espressoda

Some people find it harder to stick to a healthy eating plan in the winter because they crave high calorie comfort foods when it's cold.

I have the opposite problem. When it is disgustingly hot and humid (as it is EVERY summer in Toronto), I crave COLD LIQUID BUBBLES!! The obvious choices are beer and soda, of course.

But I try to minimize my alcohol consumption as much as possible. PLEASE don't fool yourself into thinking alcohol is healthy. Yes, it can lower your chances of heart disease, but it can significantly INCREASE YOUR RISK OF VARIOUS CANCERS!! There are many more healthy ways to maintain heart health that do not come with that risk attached.

And soda, well don't even get me started! I readily admit that I sometimes give in to my cravings with the occasional diet ginger ale or diet Dr. Pepper. But I actually don't like the taste of most other conventional soft drinks. Also, they contain a host of heinous chemicals (i.e. caramel colour, phosphoric acid, brominated vegetable oil, etc.).

Most of the time I can quell my craving with club soda spiked with fresh lemon slices. But sometimes, mid-morning, my mouth is dry and my energy dips (particularly when I am stuck sitting inside at one of the counselling clinics for hours on end) and I want BUBBLES WITH SOME KICK (i.e. caffeine).

Zevia, a brand of all-natural, sugar-free sodas I love, are very expensive ($1.50/can) so not a viable option for us right now.

I recently fell in love with Monster Zero, a sugar-free energy drink, but it too is hardly health food, and talk about expensive: try $3-$4/can!!!

I don't really like regular iced coffee or tea, and I love the palate-cleansing effect of effervescence, so my wheels got turning and I came up with this recipe.

Yum! The rich crema of the espresso allowed me to drink this black, something I NEVER do with regular coffee or tea. It is also easy and inexpensive to make at home. You can, of course, add milk to this and sweeten, to your taste.

You can also freeze espresso in ice cube trays and use them as the ice cubes in this drink. Or take the espresso ice cubes and throw in the blender, with or without milk, to make a granita style treat.

4 tsp (or to taste) good quality instant espresso powder
1 cup boiling water
1 cup cold club soda, seltzer, etc.
Sweetener, to taste (I used 2 packs Splenda)
Ice cubes
Milk, to taste (optional)

Spoon espresso powder and sweetener into a large heat-safe cup and pour boiling water, stiring until dissolved. Let cool. Pour into tall glass over ice cubes and add club soda. Serve black or add milk, to taste.