Monday, January 14, 2013

Orange You Glad It's Not Pop?

I have always told people that one of the easiest changes they can make to their diet to lose weight and improve their health is to stop drinking calories.

Eat fruit instead of juice.  Skip the whip cream, whole milk and sugar syrups in your coffee drinks.  Alcohol should be consumed in moderation and should be considered a treat, NOT part of a healthy lifestyle.  Sorry folks! And pop (soda, if you're in the U.S.)?  Well, come on, who doesn't know by now that it's bad for your health?  Aside from all the sugar and calories, it usually contains some scary ingredients such as caramel colour, brominated vegetable oil, and phosphoric acid.  Even if you go for diet sodas, a lot of these chemicals are still present.

But hey, I understand the appeal of soda.  Sometimes there is nothing more refreshing and palate cleansing than something with bubbles.  I've been known on occasion to give in and drink a diet Dr. Pepper or diet ginger ale, but I try to do this as seldom as possible.  Instead, I usually reach for a club soda with a twist of lemon or lime, or a Zevia.  My problem, however, is often when my craving for bubbles hits, we have no fresh citrus in the house.  The other is that Zevia, a better alternative to conventional pop, is really expensive.  So, I was intrigued by a product I spied at Essence of Life - probably my second favorite health food store in Toronto - the other day. True Orange (also available in Lemon and Lime), claims to be 0 calorie/0 sugar packets of crystallized orange that can be used to flavour your beverages, cooking and baking.  At $3.99 for 32 packets, it was certainly more cost effective than Zevia, which costs at least $1 a can!  I also thought perhaps the girls might like it, since we don't routinely allow them to drink juice.

The box describes 1 packet as providing the orange flavour equivilent of 1 orange wedge, while 2 packets is akin to 1 tbls orange, and 8 packets is equal to 1 whole orange. 

I tested it out by adding 1 packet to a glass of plain seltzer and found it was sufficient to make it orangy and sweet enough for me.  If you are used to drinking much sweeter beverages, you can add more packets.  I like that I can use it in a pinch should I have no fresh citrus in the house.  It's also perfect for travel or if you are just on the go.

The one thing that's odd is that the last ingredient is organic evaporated cane juice, which is a fancy name for sugar.  I'm guessing that there must be so little of it, that it adds negligible nutritive value to a packet, but I have to wonder if this could add up significantly if you are using multiple packets at once.  In any case, this is a much better option that sugared pop!  They do sell some products specifically for flavouring water that are sweetened with stevia, but they are more expensive.

If one of your resolutions for the new year is to cut out pop, you might want to give this a try.

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