What were you thinking…(I mean drinking)?

As soon as we start socializing we have a “glass in the hand”. This is especially true with the festive season gathering momentum. As we consume all kinds of beverages each day it is important


As soon as we start socializing we have a “glass in the hand”. This is especially true with the festive season gathering momentum.

As we consume all kinds of beverages each day it is important to consider the benefits and negatives of the various choices we make.   If we can make small changes in our drinking habits it will have a huge affect on our health over the festive season and in the long term.

Drinking fluids is essential as it does keep us hydrated and our lives depend on water, but you need to watch out for the following……

More often than not, ready-made drinks can be packed with kilojoules/calories! So, take careful consideration as to how much and what you are drinking. Many people get unhealthy or overweight, or stay overweight or obese because of what they drink, and not because of what they eat.

Did you know the top selling item in Pick ‘n Pay is Coke? Coke and its counterparts are loaded with sugar and calories. One tin of these cold drinks typically contains 600 – 800 kJ/140 -190 kCal, which is equivalent to eating 2 slices of bread. Should you have 2 tins each day, over and above the energy your body needs each day, you can pick up 7kg over a one year period if you don’t exercise it off or compensate by eating less food! There is no real health value in regular soft drinks and it taxes your pancreas and insulin function.

Energy drinks are for participants – not spectators! The formulations like Powerade, Energade and Lucozade were developed for consumption during strenuous sporting activities, and are not suitable for inactive people. These drinks will spike the blood glucose levels and leave you feeling flat after 90 minutes. Regular consumption without the exercise will harm your pancreas over the long run and as in the case of soft drinks, add kilograms of fat to your body.

Fruit juice does have some health benefits. It does contain some vitamins and doesn’t only comprise empty calories, like soft drinks. It does contain a little fibre (mostly <1g per 100ml), whereas soft drinks, energy drinks and alcoholic drinks contain no fibre whatsoever. It is very important to control the size of your glass though, as every 125ml (1/2 glass or 1 small wineglass) fruit juice will be equivalent to eating a portion of fruit. Unfortunately it is also loaded in kilojoules/calories. The perception that it is super healthy is often part of the problem because many people think they can drink it freely, but two glasses (300ml each) taken daily could add 15kg of body fat to your weight by the end of the year, if taken over and above the calories your body needs each day.

So what can you drink this festive season?

  1. Replace your soft drinks or energy drinks with the diet/lite version or flavoured water or diet soft drinks.
  2. First price would be not to have any alcohol whatsoever, but have a glass of water or a diet cold drink between each of the alcoholic drinks should you choose to have alcohol. You will tend to be less thirsty and drink less. People just want to see you with something in your hand – so pour your sparkling water with a mint leave and lemon or diet drink in a wine glass and enjoy!
  3. How about drinking a Bloody Mary – without “the Mary” – try vegetable juice eg tomato juice spiced up with some Tabasco and pepper?
  4. Keep fruit juice to less than 125 ml when you do have it or dilute it with water and lots of ice and because the flavour is always refreshing it should be very easy to make this small change. To compensate do not eat a fruit.
  5. Keep some home-made ice tea at hand for those hot summer days.

Here are two recipes to try.

South African Ice Tea

Yield : 1 litre 

Prep Time : 5m

Cook Time : 0m 

Ready In : 0m

  • 1/2 C (125 ml) xylitol
  • 1/2 C (125 ml) water
  • 1/4 C (60 ml) lemon juice
  • 2 rooibos or other tea bags
  • a few slices of fresh ginger
  • 2 stalks lemon grass
  • ice cubes for serving
  • sparkling water
  • lemon wedges and fresh mint for garnishing

Place the xylitol, water and lemon juice into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the tea bags, the ginger and the lemon grass and simmer for a few minutes until reduced to half. Cool completely by adding ice cubes. Pour into a glass jug and top up with ice-cold sparkling water. Garnish with lemon wedges and mint.

Moolicious Peachy Iced Tea recipe


1 cup Green Tea – 1 teabag infused in boiling water for 15 minutes

1 cup Rooibos Tea or other flavour- same as above

1 cup Flavoured Tea – (any flavour will do) same as above eg The Twinings Infusions

1 cup Cold Water

1 cup Peach Juice – use 100% unsweetened juice

1 tsp Advantage Sugar alternative – or other alternative sweetener

1 Orange or Lemon – cut in half then sliced thinly – 

A few sprigs of Fresh Garden Mint

Lots of ice cubes for serving


Mix all together (except the ice cubes) in a large jug then refrigerate until cold

Serve over lots of ice and make sure some of the delicious orange slices and mint plop into every glass.

Make up for the peach juice by not eating 2 fruit servings.

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