What Can I drink?

Our advice to everyone when they join SAF is to drink more water because it is essential to be properly hydrated and many of us rarely are.

Then to get your body running on fats rather than sugars you must stop drinking fizzy drinks, even ‘sugar-free’ drinks, fruit juices, squashes, fruit smoothies and milky drinks.

This leaves a lot of new members stumped. If they normally drink tea with milk, squash, fizzy drinks, even ‘sugar-free’, cappuccinos and energy drinks they might understandably ask, ‘Well, what exactly can I drink?’

When we tell them to just drink water, there is often a bit of resistance. Many people say that they don’t like plain water or they can’t drink it with nothing in it. Or they don’t like the taste.

This might be true but it is a bit like saying you don’t like the smell of fresh air.

Drinking water is essential to living but we have all just got out of the habit.

We have been bombarded with so much advertising, urging us to buy the next sugar filled product that we have forgotten to just drink water. We tell ourselves, ‘I need a coffee’, ‘I need a coke’, ‘I’m dying for a cuppa’ or ‘I need a Red Bull to get going in the morning.’

We are all so used to being told the answer to all our needs is to buy another product that we have forgotten that we don’t need any of it!

Well, this is where all that stops! You don’t need any of that carbonated corn syrup to keep you hydrated, in fact you should avoid it like the plague. Find out why here!

The answer to this question of what to drink is – to drink more water!

Simple!

It’s free! It comes out of the tap! And happily, with our new awareness of the scourge of plastic bottles on the environment, anywhere you go you should be able to refill your reusable bottle for free!

Once you get into water being your main drink throughout the day you will wonder how you ever managed without it.

Actually, you didn’t manage without it. You interpreted dehydration as hunger, as low blood sugar or fatigue and topped up your sugar levels with a biscuit, a slice of toast, juice, squash, fizzy drinks and caffeine resulting in headaches, mood swings, exhaustion and weight gain.

Well, you can wave goodbye to all of that! Drinking water will keep you feeling bright, alert and full of energy. Your skin will improve and your bowels will thank you! And, best news of all, it will help you become fat adapted and lose weight all the faster.

But if you are still looking for a bit of variation, especially in the early days of adapting to your SAF lifestyle here are a few suggestions to switch up your drinking options.

Water with ginger.
Pour boiling water over sliced fresh ginger, enjoy hot or cold.

Water with fruit.
Lemon, lime or cucumber, with or without mint leaves tastes great. Just squeeze and drop a segment of lemon or lime into a large glass or bottle of water and keep topping it up throughout the day. A real refresher!

Or if you like your bubbles, try soda water or carbonated water with any of the above. This is good as an occasional alternative but it is best to move towards no bubbles in the long run.

How about this for a real brightener first thing in the morning: ice cold water with a teaspoon of organic cider vinegar with the ‘Mother’.

Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it!

Shake up the bottle before pouring the teaspoon of vinegar into a large glass of water and stir well. The taste is more citrus than sour and you feel clear and bright, inside and out! A great little ‘mover’ if you are feeling sluggish in the early days of your new lifestyle. As long as you buy apple cider vinegar with the ‘mother’, Braggs seems to be a best seller, it will provide beneficial bacteria to support heathy gut function. It has been shown to improve insulin function and lower blood sugars after meals and it promotes satiety, making you feel full for longer and reducing the chance of snacking. I only drink it in the morning and clean my teeth straight afterwards as it is not good for tooth enamel.

Black coffee with a splash of double cream is there in every breakfast suggestion on the 90 Day Plan. Cream is better than milk; it has less lactose and therefore less carbs. Full fat milk is better than skimmed because the fat to carb ratio is better but no milk is best. You will be getting your calcium from yogurt, cream, cheese and greens in your diet. However, we realise that a solitary tea bag in a mug with no milk is a sorry sight. So up grade your tea drinking experience!

Have your regular tea but instead of milk have a slice of lemon in it like they do on the continent. Earl Grey and Lady Grey teas are best enjoyed without milk as are Green tea and Rooibos (or Red Bush) teas. Typhoo Red Bush is really good. Jon has switched to Green tea, which contains polyphenols that reduce inflammation in the body, antioxidants that prevent cell damage and enough caffeine to get you firing on all cylinders without the ‘jitters’ that too much coffee can cause. I usually go for Rooibos which is has a lighter, almost sweet taste and contains no caffeine.

If it’s sweetness you are looking for herbal and fruit teas are a great option, enjoyed hot or cold, just look out for added honey or sweeteners in some of the fruit teas which are unnecessary and will not help you ditch the sugar habit. My favourite Brand are Yogi Teas, which are inspired by Indian Ayurvedic medicine. They are relatively cheap and taste fantastic! Available in health food shops.

Make your own fresh teas with herbs from the garden. Try mint tea, lemon verbena tea made with the leaves, chamomile tea from the dried flowers, sage from the leaves, bergamot leaves, lemon balm from the leaves. Obviously make sure you know what you are picking and how to use it.

My favourite is mint tea and it’s easy. Pick some fresh leaves, pour boiling water over and steep for 5 minutes and pour into your best white china! The white tea cup and saucer are not essential obviously, that’s just my preference!

If you are looking for a hot drink with a real kick you could make your own spiced chai. Be careful of buying chai in a packet, they are often packed with sugar! Buy your spices in the world food section of the supermarket, or better still from an Indian supermarket for the best value and flavour.

There are many recipes out there but here is my favourite:

  • 2 litres water
  • 1 tea bag or level teaspoon of loose leaf tea
  • 15 whole cloves
  • 20 black peppercorns
  • 2 thumbs of ginger, sliced
  • 3 sticks of cinnamon or cassia bark
  • 20 cardamon pods, split open

Put it all in a big pan, bring it to the boil, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
Allow it to cool slightly, strain into a large jug.
Enjoy a steaming hot cup straight away and store the rest in the fridge.
Fabulous hot, with or without a drop of cream or cold, straight from the fridge or mixed over ice with a drop of cream.

But for a summer evening my final suggestion can’t be beaten.

Fill a glass with ice, mint leaves, slices of cucumber and a strawberry or two. Drizzle a tiny amount of your best balsamic vinegar over the ice and top up with sparking water! Smells and tastes like summer in a glass!