It’s summer, and that means it is time for lemonade. (Actually, I love lemonade, so all year long is lemonade time.) The problem is that lemonade is made with sugar, and more and more studies are suggesting that sugar is not only addictive but is a toxic poison. (Yeah, I know the words “addictive”, “toxic” and “poison” are strong, but I’m just referencing the words used in places such as here and here.) I even spoke about it last fall during the Jewish Holy Days and encouraged my community to begin taking their health more seriously. (Read it.) (According to one study on average, we now eat 130 pounds of sugar PER YEAR!)
The problem is that I love sweet things, and I really do love lemonade. So when trying to cut down on my sugar intake, I turned to Crystal Light Lemonade. It is tasty, and the label even says “Natural Lemonade”. That’s all well and good, but have you ever actually LOOKED at the label? It lists chemical after chemical after chemical!
Seriously, the ingredients in beverages like Crystal Light look more like a laboratory research project than something anyone should consume. Still, for a couple of years I drank this stuff by the gallon. It was even a staple in my diet when I first went on South Beach and dropped a significant amount of weight.
Maybe it has something to do with seeing 50 looming before me in two years, but a few months back I decided I was done putting these chemicals into my body. I turned to water but, as great as a cold glass of water is on a hot day, I missed the lemonade. So Elana and I began experimenting. First we squeezed fresh lemons and limes, added some liquid stevia to taste and enjoyed. It was tasty, but it was also a good bit of work each time I wanted to make a new pitcher of lemonade — and the liquid stevia Elana uses is pricey.
So we experimented a little more, tried different brands of lemon juice and powdered stevia, and we finally came up with a recipe that is quick, tastes the same each time we make a pitcher, is fairly inexpensive, and, perhaps most importantly, tastes great.
What do we do? We take half of a 10 oz bottle of Santa Cruz Organic 100 Percent Lemon Juice, mix in 1/2 tsp of Trader Joe’s Powdered Stevia Extract, add filtered water (we have a reverse osmosis system), and mix the concoction. It takes no more time than mixing a batch of Crystal Light and, unlike the chemical drink, it’s healthy.
A 10 oz bottle of Santa Cruz Organic 100 Percent Lemon Juice is about $5. Buy it.
A 2 pack of Trader Joe’s Stevia Extract is $24.99 Buy it.
That means each half-gallon pitcher of lemonade is about $2.60. And if you make the lemonade weaker, then the price obviously goes down. It is fast, delicious and healthy. Summer is practically here; give it a try!