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It’s a known fact that I don’t like to drink my calories – so known actually that at a recent dinner date my friend’s husband announced loudly “Every time I drink, I think about Charlotte! And feel guilty!” (Downsides to having a very public blog: At another dinner party a different friend’s husband said upon meeting me, “Ah, Charlotte! You’re the one who’s weird about food!” That’s me: facilitating awkward dinner conversations one overshare at a time!) But my neuroses aside, there are times when I don’t want to drink just plain water and it turns out that certain drinks have amazing nutritional benefits!
Tart Cherry Juice
When Cheribundi first contacted me about their juice, I jumped on it because – and this is super scientific – the last time I was shopping at the expensive fancy-pants grocery store across town they had 1-liter bottles of tart cherry juice on sale… for $17.99. And I figured anything that expensive had to be awesome. Well that and I’ve been hearing about the wonders of tart cherries for some time now.
According to the Cheribundi site, tart cherries “have more powerful phytonutrients than other superfruits. That includes the trendy pomegranate, the imported acai berry, or grapes and blueberries.” Who knew? (Well the birds certainly did since we have a tart cherry tree in our backyard and every year they pick it clean before we can get any. Sigh.) In addition, they’ve been shown in research to help you sleep better, reduce joint pain, reduce inflammation and decrease incidence of heart disease. But the benefit I was most interested in? Tart cherry juice has been shown to help you recover from your workout faster and decrease muscles soreness. Considering we’re just finishing up the final phase of P90X 2 (review coming soon!), there is a lot of muscle soreness going on.
But how do they taste? Cheribundi set me a sampler of all their juices to try out (disclosure: I got the juice for free) and it’s been an adventure! Me being the girl who loves anything tart or sour, the straight-up regular flavor (with 50 cherries/bottle!) was my favorite. I also liked the “skinny” cherry because instead of using artificial sweeteners, which some research has shown may actually make you eat more calories than if you’d just gone for the full-sugar variety, they lighten up the calories with Stevia. Stevia is the one no-cal sweetener I’m not deathly afraid of and will actually let my children drink so that was awesome and tasty. Speaking of the kids, they thought this stuff was fan-freaking-tastic. My sons’ favorite flavor was the chocolate cherry (which I personally did not much like). But there was one flavor that was, well, an acquired taste: the ginger cherry. If a picture is worth a thousand words…
My husband trying the ginger cherry flavor. I didn’t correct his red-eye in the last picture because seriously how hilarious is this pic?
As a post-workout drink, I found them to be too sweet to just chug but I did like adding a few ounces to my protein smoothie (smoothie if you’re a girl, shake if you’re a guy) for a delish tang. And while my muscle soreness and post-workout recovery depends on a lot of different variables, I do think it helped with the DOMS (delayed-onset muscle soreness) the following day. I loved this juice not only because it was so yummy (by the end, the ginger cherry became my personal favorite although that first taste was…intense) but because it’s so natural. No weird ingredients or chemicals or fillers, just juice! You may ask why I don’t just eat the 50 cherries and get the fiber and other stuff too but if you are asking that then you have never eaten a tart cherry. Regular cherries are amazing on their own – holla Ranier cherries!! – but tart cherries are the ones with all the antioxidant powers and they are very tart. Drinking them is much preferable in my book. So take that, birds!
A year ago I reviewed True Lemon’s dehydrated citrus sprinkles and fell in love with them. While they sound kinda weird, these are one of the few products that I’ve reviewed that I can say I use literally every day (the Vita-mix and my Mizuno running shoes being the others). I got so attached to them that I signed up for their coupons just so I could stock up on sales. They’re not even giving me free stuff and I still adore them! I use the individual packets to add flavor to plain hot water or herbal tea. And I use the bottles to sprinkle the lemon, lime or orange on fish, in cookies (in place of grated peel), in fresh whipped cream, on steamed veggies and a million other places. My absolute favorite though is to pop a bunch of anti-oxidant rich popcorn in coconut oil and then sprinkle it with curry powder and lime crystals. Ah crunchy heaven!
The awesome thing about True Lemon’s stuff is the crystals are just dehydrated citrus fruit and so they taste like the real thing but without the spoilage factor. And now they’ve come out with a new flavor: grapefruit! So of course I begged them to let me try it and they sent me eight boxes. Fortunately this one may be my fave so far! It’s sour and citrus-y but it also has a little bit of natural sweetness to it. I’ve been adding a couple of packets to my water in the morning and I like it so much I don’t add anything else. Jelly Bean, in all her two-year-old-ness, thought they were sugar packets and opened up about 20 while I was in the shower. When I came downstairs, she had it in a bowl (and in her hair, clothes and diaper) and was licking every last crystal up. So you know it’s amazing if a picky toddler vacuums it up! Sadly I didn’t get a pic of her sticky highness.
The red (or ruby) grapefruit is one of the most powerful and also underestimated fruits out there. Not only is it known for being rich in vitamin C and lycopene but “a study published in March 2006 in the “Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry” suggest that diets that include fresh red grapefruit help lower cholesterol levels, particularly levels of triglycerides, or blood fat.” The grapefruits not only lowered cholesterol and triglycerides as well as the medication but in cases where the people weren’t responding to the meds, the daily dose of grapefruit still worked! Plus it’s yummy.
Honestly I haven’t been doing many giveaways/contests lately because they are a lot of work but I love these two things too much to not share them with you! Enjoy!! Cheribundi is offering one GFE reader their own sampler pack to try (caveat: if you win, you must write and tell me what your first sip of the ginger flavor was like!!). True Lemon is offering one GFE reader their own deluxe gift pack. All you have to do is leave a comment telling me what your favorite healthy drink is below! Contest is open until midnight on Saturday April 21, 2012.
So do you have a go-to health drink? Do you love sour stuff too? Anyone else get a kick out of making people drink crazy stuff and then taking their picture while they do it?