Monday, July 23, 2012

True Lemon Drink Mix

I saw a coupon in the paper a couple weeks ago that caught my attention.  It was for a new, all natural powdered drink mix.  I added it to my grocery list and when I got to the store this weekend I was pleasantly surprised to “approve” of the ingredient list.  It was priced at Dillon's for $2.69 and then I had a $1.00 off coupon.  I am not sure if there are other options at other stores, but Dillon's offered lemonade and raspberry lemonade flavors.

I am fortunate that I love water.  Good 'ol plain water is just fine with me.  If I'm feeling a little wild and crazy I add a squeeze of fresh lemon and I’m ready for a few more glasses.  However, sometimes on those hot, summer days a nice glass of lemonade hits the spot.  And, let’s face it; we haven’t dipped under high temps of 100 plus degrees in weeks…this girl wanted some lemonade!
I used to be a Crystal Light drinker.  Okay, more like addict.  I made the Peach Tea by the pitchers and enjoyed it all summer long.  It was a great day when I discovered those convenient packets that I could add to a bottle of water. However, I noticed I often got headaches when I drank it so I started cutting back.  Coincidentally, around that same time I read a few books and learned more about artificial sweeteners.  The things I learned (one of which is they can cause headaches) led me to quit purchasing Crystal Light.  As I have mentioned before, I am not a dietitian or nutritionist so all this information is just from books or articles I have read and things I believe to be true.  Obviously, you can find pros and cons to everything.  I suggest if you are skeptical to do some research of your own. 

Crystal Light’s main sweetener is aspartame, which is also the sweetener in NutraSweet and Equal.  Although the FDA approves of this sweetener, they also verify 92 side effects that potentially come with consumption.  (Don't get me started on my thoughts about the FDA...who approves a product that is now added to TONS of our food on the shelves while also acknowledging an astonishing 92 negative effects?)  Aspartame is 200 times sweeter than sugar and the side effects range from digestive issues, headaches, dizziness, nausea, ADHD and weight gain to more serious things like cancer and seizures.  Although the serious side effects are usually with a large consumption of aspartame, I still do not want to put anything in my body that causes any side effects.  Aspartame contains Phenylalanine (up to 50%), and one of the components of Phenylalanine is methyl alcohol, which converts to formaldehyde in your body.  I immediately think of dear Frederick, my high school pig for dissection, and know that in no way, shape, or form do I want formaldehyde in my body.  That is for dead things; not for consumption by a living human. 

I have also mentioned in other posts I try to avoid high fructose corn syrup.  This is a liquid sweetener from corn that is chemically altered.  It is much less expensive than sugar and much sweeter, so the manufacturer can use it instead of sugar for a fraction of the our health's expense. 
Lastly, when anything lists sucrose as an ingredient, that equals Splenda.  I avoid Splenda like I avoid lake water.  (Not for any scientific reason, I just find lakes disgusting)  Although sucralose, or Splenda, is much newer that aspartame, initial studies show many of the same side effects.  This is an excerpt from one of my favorite books:
"..Splenda is made by chlorinating sugar, changing its molecular structure. The finished product is called sucralose. The makers of this poison tout its lack of calories and claim it’s safe for diabetics. The FDA calls sucralose 98% pure. The other 2% contains small amounts of heavy metals, methanol, and arsenic. Well, gee, at least it doesn't have calories. So what if it has a little arsenic? Sucralose has been found to cause diarrhea; organ, genetic, immune system, and reproductive damage; swelling of the liver and kidneys; and a decrease in fetal body weight. What a splendid product!" According to Dr. Joseph Mercola in Consumer Research magazine's article "The Potential Dangers of Sucralose," "There is no clear cut evidence that sugar substitutes are useful in weight reduction. On the contrary, there is some evidence that these substances may stimulate appetite." Skinny Bitch, page 35-36.
Pretty much, I say if God made it, enjoy it.  Before you get all giddy, hold on there Cookie Monster.  It doesn’t mean go eat cookies until you're content because God made sugar and flour. It does mean to try to eat things in their most natural form.  I would much rather eat a homemade chocolate chip cookie than a store bought "healthy" one full of Splenda.  Just remember, moderation is the key!
Anyway, back to the drink mix.  I am aware that Crystal Light makes a powder mix with all natural sweetener called Crystal Light Pure.  I was very excited to see this several months ago, but I purchased the strawberry kiwi and I didn’t think it was very good.  Perhaps I need to give a different flavor a try, but I ended up throwing mine away.  I found True Lemon tasted much better!
I know it's a little hard to read on here, but True Lemon is sweetened with Stevia. (so is Crystal Light Pure so if you like how that tastes, great!)  I have read lots about Stevia as well as Truvia and I am happy it has made it's way to America! 

"Stevia, another winner, is derived from a plant found in Paraguay. The Japanese have been using this wonder sweetener for decades, South Americans for centuries (but we'd rather give OUR country chemicals!). In fact, it is used by hundreds of millions of people around the world to balance blood-sugar levels, reduce cravings for sweets, and aid in digestion. Additionally, it is known for its antimicrobial properties (it inhibits the growth of bacteria). Unfortunately, however, it the most unrecognized sweetener in the United States. This NATURAL, HERBAL sweetener contains no calories, has no glycemic index (won’t alter blood sugar), and is even safe for diabetics. But for reasons unknown to intelligent species everywhere, the Food and Drug Administration won't approve Stevia for use in food products. Maybe they are sleeping with the sugar industry." Skinny Bitch, 30-31

*Although both of these quotes are from the same book they are not the only things I have read about these ingredients.  Many books I have read support these beliefs.
Evaporated Cane Juice is also listed as an ingredient in True Lemon Mix and from what I can tell this ingredient comes from the sugar cane, but there is not as much processing as regular, white sugar.  I see no problem with that.
You still awake?! All that was my LONG way of telling you about a great new product I was really excited to try this weekend.  Here’s the deal: I will still drink this sparingly as water is always best, but it is a great alternative to other sugary drinks, and a MUCH better choice than drink mixes with artificial sweeteners.


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  11. I found this article when researching side effects of sweeteners - I have a very profound reaction to MOST sweeteners and had found some success with Stevia. However... I have become increasingly sensitive to the Stevia additives as well - I was hoping to find more information because I notice when *I* add the True Lemon to my drinks, I'm experiencing similar reactions as I did to the other sweeteners (aspartame, nutrasweet, etc.) which include joint pain, swelling, difficulty walking, headaches, bloating... I have found that SOME Stevia products don't bother me, but this one has started to. I'm not sure if they're not using a pure extract or what, but I wanted to warn you that I have found with increased use of this product, I have had many similar side effects and I'm SO disappointed because I really liked it!

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