Thursday, September 1, 2016

Drinking Responsibly

One of the joys of summer is drinking a cold glass of iced tea with plenty of ice.  I understand ice isn't nearly as popular in other parts of the world, but Americans love their ice and I am no exception.  Fresh home-brewed iced tea is my favorite because I can mix up my own special flavor blends.  Right now, I am favoring white jasmine, green, lemon and ginger mixed together.  The glass pictured above is that mixture along with a small portion of a bottle from the supermarket.  The Big Guy hosted a BBQ last week and the half jug in our refrigerator was not going to be consumed in its "natural" state because we hate all of the sugar in the manufactured beverage.  By using a variety of teabag flavors, I can brew a concentrated cup of whatever combination I like, add just enough sugar, then balance it out with plain filtered water.  For this week's batch, I filled plastic pitchers with 1/3 of the supermarket stuff, five ounces of my concentrate, then filled the rest with water.  Including the half jug of supermarket tea I started with, I now have two gallons of iced tea on deck waiting to be enjoyed this week.

Convenience beverages are loaded with chemicals and sugar.  If you want to cut down on sugar, it seems you have two choices; unsweetened or sweetened with Splenda.   As a person with a Splenda aversion, who also doesn't want 12 teaspoons of sugar in a single serving, bottling up the homemade stuff is the best alternative.  There's a cooler of beverages at work and I could by Sweetleaf iced tea any time I wanted, or I could splurge on a Starbucks Frappucino.  Neither option works for me.  I'd rather save the calories (and money) by bringing my own from home.

By saving salad dressing bottles and removing the labels, I have my own more "responsible" version.  I'm recycling and drinking less sugar.  For the coffee version, I took some of the coffee from the pot this morning, added a little sugar, then took a small piece of Bakers semi-sweet chocolate and melted it with some more coffee in the microwave.  Adding that to the bottle and filling it half way with milk, then giving it a good shake meant I had my own mixture of coffee, milk, sugar and chocolate -- not much different than what I'd get if I bought an iced beverage.  I'll have a bottle of each in my lunch bag tomorrow.  That means iced tea with lunch and a coffee treat when I get ready to nap at around 3PM.

Each of these beverages provide me with a single serving containing less than one teaspoon of sugar. When I do this without starting with a supermarket base (which is usually the case,) the chemical/preservative content is minimal (if non-existent).  The packaging is 100% recycled.   We feel a lot better about making our own and although it takes a little bit of extra time, the flavor is well worth it.


  1. You nap at work? Where do I apply for a job?

  2. Actually, I don't nap but often feel like I'd want to -- hence the benefit of iced coffee!

  3. Alex, there is a natural alternative to fake chemical sugar...stevia. I have it growing in the yard this year. While it can be expensive in the commercially made form, as a diabetic, I prefer it to putting dangerous chemicals in my body. I've scored big bargains at El Lotto Grande on stevia several times. They even are carrying stevia at Starbucks now. Just a thought.

  4. I actually like unsweetened, iced tea--no sugar, stevia or artificial sweetener. The taste of plain tea is good to me. I drink it year round, and I never drink hot tea.