Five Alternatives to Soda

Five Alternatives to Soda

Soda may taste great, but it is not only full of empty calories. Some sodas even contain ingredients that can harm your health. Isn’t it time to give up soda? Try these five great-tasting alternatives that are actually good for you!

1. Coconut Water

Naturally sweet and refreshing, coconut water is an ideal alternative to sugary sodas. You can find coconut water in almost every major supermarket from a wide variety of manufacturers. Athletes, in particular, love coconut water because it is chock-full of electrolytes that help them stay hydrated throughout the toughest workout. Coconut water also contains a wide range of nutrients and has other benefits.

2. Shrubs

Shrubs combine the natural tartness of vinegar with the sweetness of fruit for a satisfying drink that has been quenching people’s thirst for over 400 years. You can purchase an almost endless number of premade shrub syrups online or try making your own. Mix with flat or sparkling water for the perfect summer (or anytime) drink.

3. Water Kefir

You probably already know about milk kefir, the popular fermented milk drink with a slight fizz. But did you know you can make a non-dairy version with water which is healthy and delicious? You can make your own using reusable water kefir grains, water, and sugar. Once you master the basic recipe, the sky is the limit when it comes to flavorings.

4. Kombucha

Kombucha is similar to water kefir since both are fermented drinks. But instead of using water kefir grains to do the work, it uses a mix of bacteria and yeast, also known as SCOBY. Like water kefir, kombucha has multiple health benefits such as antioxidants and antibacterial properties. Many people find kombucha an acquired taste. So, it is a good idea to pick up a bottle from the local grocery store to see if you like it before investing the time to make it yourself.

5. Seltzer

Carbonated water provides all the fizz of soda without any of the calories, coloring, or artificial flavors. If you want a touch of flavor, buy a pre-flavored variety, or add a splash of fruit juice or shrub syrup. Are you trying to cut down on your packaging? Try making carbonated water at home.

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Vegetarian Mushroom Stew

Vegetarian Mushroom Stew

Stews are warm and hearty winter meals, but they don’t need any meat to be delicious. This comforting stew is 100 percent vegetarian, yet tastes so yummy that even devoted meat-eaters will ask for it. The secret is slow simmering a combination of wild and cultivated mushrooms with fresh herbs in an all-natural porcini broth. Whether you serve it up over polenta or wild rice, this recipe will become a family favorite.

  • 1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms
  • 1/2 pound portobello mushrooms
  • 1/2 pound King Trumpet mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon of flour
  • tablespoon of flour
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 2 tbsp brandy

Rich and Savory Mushroom Stew Recipe

  1. Clean 1/2 pound each of shiitake and portobello mushrooms. Remove the stems and reserve them for another use. Slice the caps into 1/8-inch slices.
  2. Heat a large shallow skillet over a medium flame. Add two tablespoons of olive oil and saute one cup of diced onions until caramelized. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Remove from skillet.
  3. Turn up the heat to high. In the same skillet, add a tablespoon of olive oil and the sliced mushrooms. After the mushrooms begin to color, reduce heat to medium and add one teaspoon each of thyme and rosemary, a pinch of red pepper flakes, and a tablespoon of tomato paste. Stir to combine.
  4. After a minute, pour in a drained 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes, and sprinkle a tablespoon of flour on the surface of the skillet. Add the reserved cooked onions.
  5. Slowly add two cups of porcini broth while stirring well. Allow the stew to cook until it thickens slightly.
  6. Scrape out the mushroom mixture into a bowl and reserve. If you wish, you can store it covered overnight in the fridge.
  7. When you are ready to serve, clean and cut a 1/2 pound of King Trumpet mushrooms into 1/8th slices.
  8. Heat a large, shallow skillet over medium-high. Put two tablespoons of butter into the skillet and allow it to slightly brown. Add the King Trumpet slices. Season with salt and pepper. Add a 1/2 tablespoon of chopped garlic. Cook 1 minute. Carefully pour two tablespoons of brandy and cook off the alcohol.
  9. Add the pre-cooked mushroom to the skillet. Reduce heat to medium-low and warm through.

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