You’ve eliminated soda. You’re all about juice, not drink. You even drink water as much as you can. But when you hit the store, your taste buds want something sweet and light, and since you’re on the healthy tip, you want something nutritious. A kaleidoscope of colors catch your eye…VitaminWater . You pick one up and read the short blurb about how its special ingredients will boost your body in some way. Your eyes skip over the nutrition facts label…it’s called VitaminWater after all, and it promises benefits, so it must be good for you, right?
Well, not exactly. You gotta give it up to the marketing strategies of the drink company, as most of these beverages promise something that you’re in need of. Tired? Drink Revive. Need help concentrating? Try Focus. Even rapper 50 Cent has his own grape-flavored formula, boasting that it gives 50% of some recommended daily vitamins. While that may be true, just because something has vitamins doesn’t automatically make it the best choice for your body. What company is behind all of this marketing? Coca-Cola, yes, VitaminWater is owned and distributed by Coca-Cola. Red flag! While Coca-Cola owns Minute Maid, a popular brand that is made of 100% juice, it’s almost safe to say that the Coca-Cola company doesn’t have their consumer’s health as a priority.
The labels contain phrases like “Drink better water,” “Hydrate responsibly,” and even “The inside is natural,” but I can already taste the fallacies with those statements. Nothing is better than fresh clean water, and that’s the most responsible hydrating you can do for yourself. There is no way that VitaminWater can be better than water because it contains just as much sugar as a can of soda, and it’s the same type of processed sugar, too. True, VitaminWater contains more liquid than a can, but chances are, either way you’re going to finish all of either size. Reading the label may be tricky because the facts show that one bottle is 2.5 servings. If you just skim over to look at the sugar content, you’re not taking the whole bottle into consideration unless you do your math. And about the “natural” ingredients? There is nothing natural about a flavored fruit water containing almost no juice.
So what is the real vitamin water? Walk in to your favorite Mexican joint and you’ll see it sitting gloriously in huge jugs, in a kaleidoscope of colors just like VitaminWater, except these colors are natural, from real fruits, and processed fresh daily. Yes, aguas frescas, meaning fresh water, is exactly what its name says. While these drinks don’t come with witty remarks and nutrition labels, you don’t need those to want to buy it. Depending on the flavor, the drinks can also contain a good amount of natural sugar, but most of the sugars come from the fruits. The best part is that the vitamins don’t have to be processed into the drink for it to be healthy because the fruits used already contain vitamins. There is nothing better than fresh!
You can easily make your own aguas frescas at home, and the summertime is the best time to enjoy it because there are so many refreshing and nutritious fruits that you use.
Try these yummy flavors:
All it takes is a little patience and time and you can have your own batch of aguas frescas faster than it takes to drive back and forth to the store.
- Choose your fruit and chop into small pieces. De-seed if necessary.
- Blend chopped fruit and then strain the puree into a pitcher. If you like your drinks with pulp (which contains more fiber for the digestive system), skip the straining!
- Add water. You can determine how much water you want, more for a lighter drink, less for more flavor.
- Chances are, your drink is already sweet, but if you need more sweetness, try adding a little bit of honey, 100% maple syrup, or agave nectar, which are all great alternatives to sugar. If you don’t have those, a spoonful of sugar should do the trick.
- For more flavor, try to mix different fruits together, or add lemon, lime, or even mint.
If you don’t have the time or energy to make a giant jug or even a small pitcher of your own aguas frescas, then try a simpler version. I’ve seen infused water at fancier restaurants and bars, and the preparation is quite simple. Slice or muddle fruit and let it soak in cold water. I particularly enjoy sliced cucumbers, or muddled strawberries and mint. The longer you let it sit, the more flavor you’ll get. The result is a simple water with a kick, and, a little vitamin power for your body. No need for gimmicky labels, you get what you get, flavored water with vitamins.
And for those of you taking the Soda Free Summer challenge, VitaminWater is now a no-no.