For those who are accustomed to sweet drinks, but are trying to drink water instead, commercially flavored water and vitamin water can be enticing. So, what are these liquid water enhancers made of? I researched the most visible brand of water flavoring by visiting their website, where I discovered that each flavor contains two artificial sweeteners, at least one preservative, and several artificial colors, depending on the flavor. In addition, nearly all of the flavors list propylene glycol as the second or third ingredient.
I have been trying to avoid propylene glycol in my family’s food and cosmetic products for years (not an easy task―it’s everywhere) since a friend told me it is a possible carcinogen. According to my old copy of The Consumer’s Dictionary of Food Additives, propylene glycol is used in food industry and RV anti-freezes. It’s also widely used in processed foods, over the counter children’s medicines, and cosmetic products. Don’t believe me? Go check a sampling of products that your family uses; I’ll wait.
According to this article, the main function of propylene glycol, besides providing moisture and acting as a solvent, is to penetrate the skin so other chemicals can reach the bloodstream. Even though most studies suggest it is safe in small quantities, I’m not a fan of putting chemicals on or into my body, so I try to avoid propylene glycol. The article linked above also suggests avoiding it, and if you consider that the artificial colors and preservatives in most foods that contain propylene glycol (such as water flavors) can interfere with children’s sleep, this makes sense.
I avoid sweet drinks, so I drink a lot of water, but sometimes I want a little something to flavor it. My children are learning to drink plain water, but they are not always cooperative. Homemade lemonade is wonderful, but sometimes I want to avoid the sugar in the lemonade, and I definitely don’t want my children drinking the sugar, artificial colors, and artificial flavors of other drinks. Sometimes, I just squeeze some lemon or lime into our water. Other times, I splash some juice into it.
Recently, I ran across Fork’s post about Sassy Water on her blog Fork fabrications (via Karri’s My Favorite Things Link up). I have tried a similar water flavoring before, using only a cucumber, so I just had to try this recipe. As Fork explains, you just slice up your citrus and cucumber, toss it with mint into the water and let it sit in the fridge a few hours. She found this recipe at Prevention Magazine, and when I clicked over there I learned that their recipe uses grated ginger. I used a few thin slices of ginger root instead. I pulled the mint right out of our garden.
This beverage is indeed a yummy sugar free homemade flavored water. Even my kids liked drinking it. They especially liked putting slices of cucumber and orange in their glasses, and they liked the yellow tint the orange gave to the water. You can tell by their excitement over over such a pale color that we don’t drink artificially colored stuff that often! We will definitely be drinking this regularly!
Because I have made flavored water before with just a cucumber (you can try that too), I know you can refill the pitcher and get a second batch, although the flavor is not as strong. Also, you can vary the citrus and the type of mint, and leave the ginger in or out, creating different flavors.
By the way, the glass pitcher in my photo belonged to my parents; they received it as a wedding gift. I also have all eight of the matching goblets. I just love the heavy green glass look of the set; it’s so 1960s!
I also have bowls and other kitchen items that belonged to my grandparents. I am overjoyed to have a direct connection to the women who taught me how to cook; using these items reminds me of the many hours I spent with these two women, along with many other aunts and cousins, in the kitchen preparing daily meals and food for family gatherings.
Linked with Catholic Bloggers Network, Welcome Home, Farm Fresh Friday, Making it Count, Your Green Resource, Food on Fridays, Better Mom Mondays, Try a New Recipe Tuesday, and Healthy 2Day Wednesday.