Need an Idea for an Original & Easy Holiday Gift?

I’m trying to have the holiday spirit, despite my constantly growing to-do list. This is, after all, the busiest time of year for many moms (and dads) and everyone else for that matter! From planning fun holiday activities and school vacation fillers, to thinking of appreciation gifts for teachers, the mailman and other people that we want to take an opportunity to thank and recognize. Then of course there’s figuring out the “Santa” gifts, planning the holiday meals, sending holiday cards, putting up a Christmas tree and decorating, fitting in at least one visit to Santa, baking sugar cookies, wrapping (I loathe wrapping), getting the house ready to host my parents,…….oh and did I mention work and all the other typical day-to-day activities that still need to get done? There’s just a lot to do, no matter how you cut it, and it’s really hard not to feel stressed.

For hostess, teacher and other appreciation gifts, I had big plans to make chocolate bark and gift this along with some nice hand lotion or wine. However, as you can probably guess from my first paragraph, this just isn’t going to happen. I always have great ideas and the best of intentions, but I just can’t find a way to get it all done (especially with a smile on my face). So, big kudos to all of you out there that have this in you……you must be far better planners than I can ever dream of being. I’m 43, and finally realize that there are just some things that I can’t change about myself; it’s time to accept my flaws and learn to work with them. Part of this means accepting the fact that I’m not, and never will be, anything close to Martha Stewart. I will never be a super-mom who can pull it all off….sigh. But the creative part of me still feels dissatisfied with  gifting something that feels completely unoriginal – like Starbucks, iTunes, or Amazon gift cards (even though I’m sure these are very well-received and appreciated gifts). Note, this is another part of me that I can’t seem to change – I have a knack for making things way more complicated than they need to be.

Well, now that you know more than you want to about what makes me tick, here’s what I came up with for this year’s teacher, hostess (and even some family) gifts. Obviously I have a personal affiliation with H2wOw, so I understand if you feel this post is biased, but really it’s not…….this is a gift that I would love to give, even if I’d never heard of H2wOw, and it’s also a gift I’d love to receive, truly.

For appreciation or hostess gifts, around $20

I’m giving a 4-pack of H2wOw Water Enhancer Drops. I live in San Francisco and am surrounded by people who like to live a healthy lifestyle. This feels like a perfect gift in the sense that it’s natural and healthy, somewhat obscure (since it’s only sold on Amazon and there’s nothing else like it), and is small and looks cute in a little gift bag. The 4-pack sells for around $21 on Amazon and ships for free if you have Prime.

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For appreciation or hostess gifts (and friends and family), $50 – $60

There are a few dinner parties of good friends that my husband and I will go to this year. I’m usually unorganized and last minute enough that I end up bringing a nice bottle of wine or candle, however this basically feels like the completely unoriginal “hostess gift” version of the gift cards mentioned above. So, this year, I’m bringing a 4-pack of H2wOw along with a really cool water bottle. I love the beautiful, simplistic yet sophisticated design of this Soma glass bottle, and that for every bottle purchased, Soma makes a donation to charity. By the way, one Soma bottle and a 4-pack of H2wOw fit perfectly inside a wine bag. For our special set of really good friends, we’ll gift two Soma bottles, plus the H2wOw 4-pack. If you’ve read some of my other posts, then you know I have a bit of a refillable water bottle obsession! By the way, this also makes for a great Secret Santa or White Elephant gift!

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Another option, in this same price range, is to gift the Soma Sustainable Water Pitcher and Filter with the H2wOw 4-pack. I’m actually gifting this to my father this year because I keep catching him with bottled water and he says it’s because the water at his office tastes horrible. This should be the perfect solution for him and will help the environment too!

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There are lots of ways to get creative with these gifts. Pick your favorite water bottle and “enhance” it with H2wOw. Or pair H2wOw with some other healthy snacks, like a selection of energy bars, roasted almonds and beef jerky. You can always buy a 4-pack and divide it up as well……make four mini gourmet food “survival” kits for teachers with one bottle of H2wOw, a small package of nuts, your favorite energy bar and a piece of dark chocolate (this could be done for $10 or less)! I might do this for some of the teaching assistants and support staff – if I can find the time 🙂

 

For more refillable bottle ideas, see these posts:

There Is More You Can Do to Help America Recycle and I’m a “Personal” Water Bottle Addict – Here Are My 5 Faves

featured post image: Superfactice via Pixabay

 

 

 

 

This Weekend’s Moscow “Wow”

Anyone who reads this blog knows that I’m a fan of health, wellness and HYDRATION. And, it probably won’t surprise you to learn that I’m not much of a social drinker. For the past several years, I’ve veered away from cocktails. Since having kids, there just isn’t much room in my life for even the smallest glimpse of a hangover. Waking up early, with a headache, isn’t worth the tradeoff. Sure, I enjoy a glass of wine here and there but don’t go much beyond that.

Lately though, even wine hasn’t been sitting well with me – in spite of my efforts to stay very hydrated, especially when consuming alcohol. I’m not sure if I’m more bummed about not being able to enjoy a glass of wine or by the reality behind it….I’m getting older, I’m often sleep deprived and my body is more sensitive to many things that, in my “youth”, never fazed me.  Recently, I was out to dinner with a friend, analyzing and agonizing over which varietal of wine would be least likely to produce a headache. My friend suggested that, instead of wine, I try a cocktail and that it would likely have less of an impact since I must be reacting to the tannins in wine not the alcohol itself. Ordering a cocktail hadn’t crossed my mind in many years (honestly, I’m that boring) but her explanation seemed reasonable and I figured I had nothing to lose. However, as perused the cocktail menu, I was disappointed by the choices – if I wanted to order one of the “signature mixologist” concoctions it seemed I had to chose between very strong, as in “that’ll put hair on your chest”, or very sweet, as in sweetened with trendily disguised sugar, like elderberry syrup, crème de violette, cherry cordial, and citrus honey.  Since I’ve never gone for either very strong or very sweet, I found myself in yet another predicament. By this point, my companion was over my exhaustive analysis, first of the wine menu, and then the cocktail menu, so in an effort to get on with it,  I finally ordered a simple vodka and soda with extra lime. BUT, I was determined to revisit my cocktail quest at a later time — convinced that I could create something tasty, interesting and most importantly without all of the calories and sugar.

This past weekend I found myself home, after a long week, with a hankering for an alcoholic beverage…..and so, my cocktail experimentation began. Having gone through a similar quest to create a healthy and natural water enhancer, I had some experience under my belt and once again brought out the fresh fruit, essential  oils and stevia. I played around on Friday night and served my husband and me up some decent drinks, but truth be told I didn’t make anything noteworthy and couldn’t even make it all the way through my one drink. Luckily, I truly enjoy a challenge, and with even more determination, I continued to experiment on Saturday night and achieved much greater success. With the simplest combination I made a delicious and healthy (it’s all relative) cocktail! I created a delicious and healthy version of a Moscow Mule, replacing the high-sugar ginger beer  with Ginger Lime H2wOw. I can’t believe I didn’t think of using H2wOw sooner; sure it’s a completely off-label use, but it makes so much sense for cocktails! I’ve been calling my cocktail the Moscow Wow and I’m so excited to have a fun drink to share with our next house guests.

Order some Ginger-Lime H2wOw, break out your copper mug (if you have one), and give this very simple recipe a try.

  1. Add ice to your glass or use a copper mug for an authentic taste
  2. Pour a shot of vodka over the ice (I used Tito’s)
  3. Add three squirts of Ginger Lime H2wOw (if you’re confused about how much a squirt is say the word squirt while squirting)
  4. Fill up the rest of the mug with sparkling water or club soda (I used Fever Tree)
  5. Garnish with a slice of lime
  6. Enjoy!

P.S. And for those of you that are wondering if any of these cocktails have left me with a headache, the answer is NO. I’m surprised and happy to report that I’ve (at least temporarily) converted from a tepid wine-drinker to a blooming healthy-cocktail connoisseur 🙂

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                                 My Delicious Moscow “Wow”

 

Make a Conscious Choice: Tap Versus Bottled Water

The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) holds all public sources of drinking water to strict safety standards, ensuring that the vast majority of U.S. citizens can trust the water that comes straight from their tap. However, in spite of this, many Americans choose to pass over free and clean water in favor of paying for bottled water. “There are many attributes that contribute to bottled water’s undeniable appeal to U.S. consumers,” said said Chris Hogan, vice president of communications for the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA). “Among them are bottled water’s healthfulness, convenience, reliability, and safety.”

Bottled water drinkers are part of a large and growing trend. In this decade alone, Americans have increased their annual consumption of bottled water by more than 11 gallons per person, from 25.4 gallons in 2005 to 36.5 gallons in 2015. In fact, bottled water is expected to overtake soft drinks as America’s largest beverage category by volume by 2017, if not by the end of 2016.

While it’s good news that Americans are choosing bottled water as a healthy alternative to other bottled beverages, including soft drinks, it seems that we’ve taken this health-conscious beverage swap to an “unhealthy” extreme. Sure, it’s great to buy water instead of soda, but our careless over-consumption of bottled water has a huge and growing impact on the environment.

I’d like to start by debunking the attributes of the ubiquitous bottled water that, according to the IBWA, have “undeniable appeal” to U.S. consumers.

  1. Healthfullness: While bottled water is healthier than soft drinks and other bottled beverages, it is by no means healthier than tap water. Pick yourself up a refillable water bottle and make a habit out of visiting the many refillable water stations that are popping up around the world. If you live somewhere that hasn’t quite caught up with the refillable trend, consider buying a refillable bottle with a built-in filter so that you’ll feel good about filling up with tap while on the go. There’s a wide range of filter bottles from this simple Brita to the extreme Lifesaver bottle, which can also get you through an emergency.
  1. Convenience: Americans love the convenience of a portable plastic bottle but does it really need to be disposable? Again, invest in a refillable container and make a habit out of keeping it full. In no time this solution will feel more convenient than anything else. Especially when you factor in the option to customize your water by adding booster drops, such as these Alkaline Drops with Antioxidants or natural flavor, such as H2wOw. There are small portable enhancers to meet just about any supplement or flavor boost you want, giving you the ability to completely personalize your water and have some fun with your hydration.
  1. Reliability: Is bottled water really any more reliable than tap? I would argue that tap water is one of the most accessible things in the U.S. We are so fortunate to basically be guaranteed clean and safe tap water, this is a luxury that should be appreciated!
  1. Safety: Many people choose bottled water because of concerns about the safety of their tap water, in some cases, these fears are reasonable however for the vast majority of people in the U.S. tap water is just as safe, if not safer. And, according to several blind taste tests, such as this one, tap is just as tasty as well. In the U.S. tap water is held to higher safety standards than bottled water. Tap water is regulated, often screened for dangerous pollutants and city government offices are required to share water information with their residents. Bottled water isn’t subject to the same reporting standards and doesn’t usually have to state what source it comes from or what methods were used to treat it. In addition, some microorganisms, that are normally of little or no public health significance, may grow to higher levels in bottled water. For example, Food Safety News reports that in June 2015, 14 different brands of bottled water had to be recalled because of possible contamination with E. coli bacteria. What’s more, the plastic used in single-use bottles can pose more of a contamination threat than the water itself.

When you look closely, IBWA’s attributes of so-called appeal aren’t valid, and are quite “deniable”. These claims are fueled in part by the huge marketing effort of the major water companies and bottling industry and in part by consumers, who need to justify their frivolous purchase of water.  In general, bottled water is no more pristine, tasty or healthy than water straight from the tap.

However, there are, in fact, real attributes to consider the next time you think about paying $1.50 or more for a bottle of water. The cost bottled water has on the environment and your wallet is very real. Bottled water is far more expensive than tap water, and it also uses many more resources to package, ship, and dispose of when the bottles are empty.

  1. Price: A Business Insider column noted that two-thirds of the bottled water sold in the United States is in individual 16.9-ounce bottles, which comes out to roughly $7.50 per gallon. That’s about 2,000 times higher than the cost of a gallon of tap water. Not only does bottled water contribute to excessive waste, but it costs us a thousand times more than water from the faucet. Furthermore, when you pay a price premium for bottled water, what you’re getting is often just tap water that’s been filtered or purified in some way. Both Dasani, bottled by the Coca-Cola company, and Aquafina, bottled by PepsiCo, start out with public water sources.
  1. Environment: Bottled water is a drain on the environment. The bottled water industry uses 1.5 million tons of plastic annually to package water, and the manufacturing and disposal of the plastic sends toxic chemicals into the environment. Transporting the bottles and keeping them cold also burns fossil fuels, which give off greenhouse gases. And, according to some estimates, it takes up to three liters of water to produce one liter of bottled water! In addition, groundwater pumping by bottled-water companies draws heavily on underground aquifers and harms watersheds. Some major bottled water companies are making the drought in places like California worse, and violating local communities, by taking water for bottling on expired (and potentially illegal) permits.  

Don’t get me wrong, I do believe that bottled water has a place and plays a vital role when public water supplies are compromised, such as in the aftermath of a natural disaster. So much so that I even wrote a post just last week urging readers to purchase bottled water to have on hand in case of an emergency. When clean tap water is unavailable, I appreciate that the bottled water industry is instrumental and has been (and will continue to be) there to ensure that people have access to safe, quality water. In developing countries where there is not a safe source of tap water, bottled water is necessary. And sure, even with our access to clean, safe tap water, there will always be times when buying a bottle of water is justified, such as on days of travel or when forgetting your refillable container. It’s not an all or nothing situation but it is an opportunity to be mindful of times of careless over-consumption. Bottled water clearly comes with a cost, both for consumers and the environment. We can each make a difference individually by choosing tap water more often. untitled_chart-1

Hydration During Exercise

Last week I wrote a post about the best times of day to hydrate, and I’m sure it came as no surprise that key times to hydrate include before, during and after exercise. While it’s obvious that exercise requires increased hydration, many people are unaware of just how much water intake directly impacts performance. Improper hydration can result in muscle cramping, decreased strength and reduced endurance, impeding energy and performance.

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Image Rubbermaid Products via Flickr

Sweat is one of the obvious things that happens during a workout; it’s the way our bodies cool down when they start to heat up.  It follows that the more a person sweats, the more water they should drink to replenish. Sweat rates vary by individual and are further influenced by factors including exercise intensity, exercise duration, the climate (including temperature and humidity), and the body’s pre-exercise hydration state.  It’s straightforward to check your individual sweat rate by weighing yourself directly before and after exercise and accounting for exactly how much water you consumed during the workout……you’ll also have to either hold your pee or take your pee-volume into account. You can google “calculating perspiration rate” for more details on how to compute your rate or use a handy sweat rate calculator like this one that I found on the Gatorade Sports Science Institute’s website. Another quick metric of proper hydration is to note how often you’re urinating. Ideal hydration leads to urination every 1 – 2 hours, even during exercise.

Depending on your gender, age, size and perspiration rate, you lose about four cups (approximately one liter) of water per hour of exercise.  If you’re working out in a hot climate, you can easily lose up to two litres of water per hour during a cardio session.

Adequate water intake before, during and after exercise does more than replenish water lost from perspiration, it also plays a key function in maintaining blood volume and electrolyte balance. Electrolytes such as sodium, magnesium and potassium, are lost from the body with sweat. However, except in extreme cases, losses are small and replacement during exercise is not a priority. ‘Sports drinks’ often contain electrolytes, particularly sodium. These have the effect of stimulating water absorption from the small intestine, which is beneficial during exercise. In addition, after exercise, replacing lost sodium is essential for full recovery and rehydration. Extreme athletes will require fluids from a variety of sources, not just water. However, if you’re not an extreme athlete who requires a sports drink, consider something, without the sugar and calories, that will provide a mild electrolyte boost, such as Glaceau’s smartwater or H2wOw’s all natural water enhancer, with extracts of real fruits and mineral electrolytes.

I had planned to use infogr.am to make a cool graphic that listed how much water the average person needs before, during and after a workout but during my research I found something better than anything I would be able to make! The graphic below is from a post on greatist.com and includes recommendations on how much water to drink while exercising as well as a lot of other great information.

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Make a Small Change That You Can Maintain: Start Each Day With a Glass of Water

I recently read an article in the New York Times, Rise and Shine, about what kids around the world eat and drink for breakfast. As a mom of two young daughters, I’m always looking for new ideas and inspiration. I wasn’t overly inspired by the food, much of it sugary and carb-filled, like the typical American breakfast (i.e. bread with butter and sweet sprinkles, Oatmeal with sugar, baguette with butter and jam and sweet cake). However, I was even less inspired by the beverages that children around the globe begin their days with, and surprised that only one of the 11 breakfasts featured in the article included a glass of water! Almost all of the children began their day with milk, chocolate milk or juice, which is probably similar to what happens in the US. Clearly this is just a small sampling but I still find it striking that less than 10% of these children have a glass of water in the morning.  After reading this article, I had to pause and give myself quick kudos for having at least one healthy habit that I’ve managed to pass on to my children 🙂

At my house, we all start the day with a glass of water. I’ve always enjoyed warm water with lemon (or sometimes lemon and honey) first thing in the morning and I make sure my girls have at least one glass of water before they leave the house because I know that they’re not always drinking enough during the day and I try to stay ahead with their hydration. I find that our little ritual of drinking our water together first thing helps us start the day off on the right foot – I am hopeful that doing something good for our bodies in the morning makes us more mindful of making healthy choices and drinking more throughout the day.

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I start my day with a tall glass of lemon water and my girls each chug a short glass of plain H2O. It’s a healthy way to start each day.

Most people know it’s healthy to start the day with a glass of water, but not everyone knows why or remembers to do it. Hydrating in the morning can make you feel more energetic by keeping your metabolism in check, helps remove toxins from your system, improves digestion and stimulates elimination. Having a glass of water first thing and then drinking more throughout the day will help you avoid health issues that may be related to dehydration.

If you don’t like to drink plain water, then try squeezing some lemon, lime or orange into your water. Not only does lemon give water a nice burst of citrus taste but it also provides many health benefits. For a really fast and convenient way to switch up the taste of your water but still keep it super healthy and natural you can also add a few drops of essential oil or try a natural water enhancer like H2wOw.

I know that it may not be a common practice to begin each day with a glass of water but it really should be. It’s such a small and easy change to make and keep but it is also a habit that can make a big difference. My girls and I toast our water glasses each morning — give it a try with your kids too.

I’m a “Personal” Water Bottle Addict – Here Are My 5 Faves

In Search of the Perfect Water Bottle

I’m always on the search for a great water bottle. I take my water bottle with me everywhere. I love leaving home with my bottle full of Hetch Hetchy water and a few squirts of H2wOw. Since I am usually carrying some kind of purse or bag, it’s really no big deal to throw my bottle in there. When I say I take it everywhere, I really mean it…..I’m not just talking about the obvious places like the gym. Last week I flew to Boston and so did my water bottle — I emptied it out before I went through security and then filled it, as soon as I was on the other side, at one of SFO’s awesome filling stations. It really does come everywhere with me and I honestly can’t remember the last time I paid for a bottle of water. Since my water bottle is such an important accessory to me, I’m always on the search for the newest and best one — and I insist on having different bottles for different types of occasions (which I always remind my husband is much better than a shoe fetish). When searching for a new bottle, the criteria that matter most to me include:

  • Size — I don’t want it to be too big but it also can’t be too small. A bottle that can hold around 20 – 24 ounces is generally the best size for me. This is equal to 2.5 – 3 cups of water and is big enough to get me through a workout at the gym or a few hours out and about.  A shape that is narrow enough to fit in car upholders is also important.
  • Materials — While I love the designs and ease of some plastic bottles, I worry too much about the chemicals in plastic and it just isn’t for me. I only use bottles that are high quality stainless steel or glass (I like them to be labeled BPA and toxin free). I also make sure whatever other materials are included (straw, spout etc) are made out of high quality materials, like silicone. For the stainless steel bottles, I want them to be double walled and vacuum insulated with a sweat-free (no condensation) surface.
  • Weight — I do love glass bottles but they’re just not practical to go very far with. I have a Lifefactory bottle that I often use at home but, beyond a car-only trip, I’ve stopped bringing it out of the house. Glass is much heavier and by the time it’s filled with water it’s just not something I want to lug around. That said, drinking out of glass (either a water bottle or a cup) is my favorite way to go and if it wasn’t for the weight I would always choose glass.
  • Drinking Valve — I like drinking valves that are easily accessible but that don’t come in contact with anything when they’re closed — meaning, I don’t ever want to touch the drinking valve or spout to open or close it and I don’t want it coming in contact with other items in my bag or wherever else my water bottle travels (like the back pocket of an airplane seat — ewwww). So, ideally, I like valves or covers that pop up with the press of a button and are designed so I don’t have to touch the spout (at all) to get it closed.
  • Leakage — I can’t believe it still happens but it does. I won’t name the bottles that are on my list of least favorites, but most of them have made the list because they leak (as in all over my purse and other places that don’t mix well with water). Leaky water bottles are the worst……weather it’s because the valves are not completely leak proof when turned sideways or because the top has threading that isn’t great quality and sometimes causes the lid to go on crooked, I have had my fair share of bad experiences with leaky water bottles, and leakage should in fact  be at the top of my criteria list.
  • Ease to Clean — I like a wide mouth top so that I can easily fit a bottle brush inside. As I mentioned in my post Keeping My Family’s Reusable Water Bottles Clean and Yucky Free, as awesome as reusable bottles are, it’s no secret that they’re also a perfect breeding ground for bacteria. I clean my bottles daily and want it to be a simple task. And, if you’re a cold water person, a wide mouth bottle also makes it easy to add ice to your water.

So in summary (because it sounds much less high maintenance this way), I prefer a 20 – 24 ounce stainless steel bottle that has a protected drinking valve, wide mouth and doesn’t leak! Trust me, it’s harder than you think to find such a bottle, but fear not it is possible, and I’ve found some that do make the cut. Here are my current five favorites:

  1. Under Armour Dominate 24 Oz – This is a great bottle that is actually made by Thermos. I love the Locking flip top lid with one hand push button operation and the flip up carrying loop. I also love the silicone grip for a comfortable hold. It’s a bit on the pricey side and too wide for some car cup holders. This is my favorite bottle to bring to the beach as the lid really keeps the sand out and the water stays very cold for hours, even in the hot sun.41GUzi0WjnL._SL1024_
  2. WaterVault Sports Tumbler 20 Oz This is a straight-forward wall vacuum insulated stainless steel bottle at a great price point. I like it’s slender design and protected “sipper” style top. There’s something about the sipper that just works for me — it doesn’t dribble all over my cheeks when I tip it back for a big gulp, it feels more dainty than some of the wide mouth spouts. I like bringing this bottle to yoga class.

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  3. Fliptop Aquatix 27 Oz This is a really great bottle that meets all of my criteria, except for the fact that it’s a tad big at 27 ounces. The pop up top functions similarly to the Under Armour bottle above and feels very sturdy. I do wish it came in other fun colors – I’ve only found it in boring black. This is my go to bottle for SPIN class, as it’s easy to get a big gulp quickly and I find I need and go through the extra volume it holds.Screenshot 2015-05-08 at 12.29.23 PM
  4. Contigo Autospout 20 Oz This is my go-to gym bottle. I love the convenience and functionality of the pop up silicone spout (yet it’s still very protected and covered when not in use). It’s much easier to drink water at the gym by sucking out of a spout versus tipping — trust me, tipping a bottle on the elliptical may not end well (it certainly didn’t for me). The only down side to this bottle is that it’s much harder to clean the straw and spout than it is to clean any of the drinking areas of the first three above.contigo
  5. Thermos Pop of Pink 18 Oz My favorite bottle for throwing in my purse for a day of errands. A great pop up lid with a silicone straw. At 18 oz. this bottle is slightly smaller than my usual but that’s perfect for days, with a lot of walking, when I want to lighten my load. With a the straw spout, it’s still slightly more time consuming to clean but still way easier than my Contigo. Thermos makes many great designs that are similar to this and also has awesome kid-sized stainless steel bottles. All-in-all they’re my number one brand.

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And, to see my favorite refillable bottles that are made with recycled materials read this

DIY Sparkling Chia “Soda”: A New Way to Wow Your Water

My two young daughters love to drink kombucha. We are a household without soda or juice so kombucha is a very tasty treat for them. Kombucha is a fermented tea beverage that contains a high concentration of b-vitamins, enzymes, probiotics and good acids including lactic acids. Although I make or buy locally brewed, high-quality kombucha, and I believe in it’s many health benefits, I also am very careful to only let my girls drink it in moderation. While, the fermentation process does get rid of most of the sugar and caffeine from the tea, some does remain. In addition, kombucha usually contains a small amount of alcohol, depending on the length of fermentation, that ranges from .5% and 3%. So, despite all the great benefits of kombucha, the sugar, caffeine and alcohol do make me think twice before giving it to my kids. Read more about the health benefits of kombucha here: 18 Healthy Reasons to Sip Kombucha

pictured above are three varieties of kombucha (Green Tea Nettle, White Tea Hibiscus and Green Tea Grape) from one of my favorite bay area businesses: Threestone Hearth, a Community Supported Kitchen.

Three varieties of kombucha (Green Tea Nettle, White Tea Hibiscus and Green Tea Grape) from one of my favorite Bay Area businesses: Three stone Hearth, a Community Supported Kitchen

Over the holidays, my girls had a two-week vacation from school so there were lots of extra snacks and meals together, as well as more time for them to ask for “treats”. I found myself giving them more kombucha than I was comfortable with and decided to try to come up with an alternative that would satisfy them and make me feel at ease. This was also right after the official launch of my all natural water enhancer, H2wOw, which proved to come in handy for my new concoction. The girls and I have been loving our new drink so much that I decided to dedicate this post to what it is and how to make it.

Here's Clover enjoying our homemade, kid-safe effervescent "treat" drink

Here’s Clover enjoying our homemade, kid-safe effervescent “treat” drink

Our Yummy Effervescent and Kid-Friendly Drink Recipe:

We always soak Chia seeds to include in our kombucha, I knew this would need to be part of the mix. Chia seeds have more omega3’s than salmon, more calcium than milk and lots of antioxidants, they’re also fun to eat – similar to a gelatinous tapioca drink. In addition to including chia seeds, I knew our concoction would need to have an effervescent quality — since this is what makes kombucha such a “special” drink to them. Finally, there would need to be some sweetness and flavor to turn it in to an actual “treat” and not just sparkling water with chia seeds.

So for step #1, we prepared our chia seeds, which is really easy to do and I highly recommend adding this superfood to almost any drink, even if it’s just to plain water (my kids even like chia seeds in milk).  They add so many nutrients and can really help to take the edge off hunger for hours. We use high-quality organic seeds, such as Nutiva or Navitas, which are also raw. To make your chia seeds gelatinous and yummy, you will need to soak them first (preferably overnight). Soaking your seeds will work best if your water is hot but room temperature will also get you good results. I start by adding around three tablespoons of seeds to a 16oz. Mason Ball jar, then I add approximately one cup of hot water.

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To make glutinous chia seeds, simply soak 3TB of seeds in one cup of water in the fridge overnight.

Once the seeds and water are added, I cover the jar and give it a good shake. I allow it to cool a bit and then put it into the fridge to soak overnight. After a night in the fridge, your chia seeds will be blown up and completely gelatinous and the “water” mixture should be more like a gel. Depending on how much chia you like in your beverage will determine how much this yields, I usually add a couple of tablespoons of “gel” to each drink so one jar’s worth is enough for several drinks and will stay fresh in the fridge for about a week.  A jar of chia “gel” is a staple in our fridge and I am usually making a new batch every other day or so.

So now you know how to make yummy seeds, like the ones you find in drinks that costs upwards of $5.00 each, such as like Mama Chia and Synergy Kombucha. Even if you stop reading here, you should have enough to play with to make your own nutritious and delicious drink recipes. However, hopefully you’ll keep reading and try our recipe too!

One of our most used kitchen appliances is the Soda Stream. We use it multiple times everyday and go through lots of sparkling water at our house. So, for step #2 we prepared our sparkling water. Of course, you can also used plain store-bought sparkling water but it’s certainly less expensive and less wasteful to carbonate water yourself. There are lots of ways to carbonate water, you can check out comparisons of some of the best choices here: The Best Soda Maker

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After making our sparkling water, we were ready to bring the pieces together and flavor it. I added a couple of tablespoons of our chia gel to a glass and filled it the rest of the way with our freshly made sparkling water. This brought us to step #3 adding our flavor. I wanted to make this part fun and “experimental” for the kids, so we played around with trying different combinations of stevia and essential oils before we brought out the big guns….H2wOw. As I mentioned in my last post, New Year, New Goals, I recently (or should I say finally) launched my product that I’ve been working to develop for three years. H2wOw is an all-natural water enhancer — and I do mean truly all-natural, it’s made with NOTHING ARTIFICIAL and is the first all-natural water enhancer made from the essential oils and extracts of real fruit and botanicals.  I know it’s a product I created so you might take this with a grain of salt, but I must say, H2wOw tastes absolutely fabulous in our chia seed drink! We played around with all the flavors. My favorite is the Ginger Lime, but, with the chia seeds, the kids love the Mandarin Grapefruit the most.

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Finally, we added the flavor. We used H2wOw for a natural and healthy alternative.

With only three natural calories and less than one gram of sugar per serving (H2wOw is sweetened with a hint of Organic Agave and a touch of Organic Stevia), I feel good about my kids drinking it, especially in this “treat” drink which is really more of a “trick” drink since it is also sooo healthy. Between the awesome health benefits of the chia seeds and the natural electrolytes in H2wOw, which  help them stay better hydrated, I even let them have seconds – but only on vacation 🙂

If you don’t have any H2wOw, you can still make a yummy effervescent drink that’s completely natural (although it doesn’t taste quite as good). Play around with different essential oils and stevia to find a combination that works for you. Or, simply order your H2wOw today from Amazon to make this chia drink and add to your water all day long.