Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Perfect Summer Drink

     I used to quaff my fair share of soft drinks. Mostly I went for the diet colas, telling myself:  They're diet. Zero calories. They can't hurt me.

     But somehow -- I don't know how -- those diet sodas set me up for padding on the pounds. So a few years ago, as part of a health kick and as part of an effort to lose some weight, I turned to bottled water. I don't know if I'm any healthier, but I did lose about 15 pounds.

     Since then, as I've mentioned before, I've managed to stay comfortably in the just-slightly-overweight category. I'd like to get down to normal, but that's probably not going to happen. At least I have no sign of diabetes, and now that the load on my aging knees has been lightened, I don't have to go back to the orthopedist for a cortisone shot or pay for physical therapy.

     So now I am an enthusiastic proponent of drinking water. I like bottled water, but B wants me to drink water out of the tap. It's just as good, she says, and then you don't fill up the landfills with all those plastic bottles. But I have to say, there's something satisfying about pulling open the refrigerator door, grabbing a cold clear bottle and cracking off the lid. And since I typically refill each bottle a couple of times from the refrigerator water dispenser, I'm not adding all that much to the landfills.

     But lately, I must confess, I've been doing something else -- I've been adding "mud" to that water, meaning I've been making iced coffee for myself. It's a good pick-me-up in the afternoon. And it tastes really good!

To your health!
     I put milk and sugar in the coffee, so it's nowhere close to zero calories. And yet, somehow I feel my iced coffee has less of the bad stuff than a soft drink -- it certainly has less sugar than a nondiet drink.

     I usually down a couple of cups of hot coffee in the morning. I mean, I have to wake up somehow. And I've read (and previously reported in What Do You Drink in the Morning?) that coffee is actually good for you.

     Okay, the research is not unequivocal, and there are come cautions about coffee (mostly in consuming large amounts of caffeinated coffee) -- it can cause stomach upset, migraines, heart arrhythmia, sleep disorders. But the medical consensus is that for most people the benefits of coffee far outweigh the risks. Coffee seems to delay the onset of Alzheimer's disease and decrease the risk of getting Parkinson's. It also lowers your risk of heart failure, of developing Type 2 diabetes, of getting prostate cancer and basal cell carcinoma, the most common form of skin cancer.

     Then yesterday I read that coffee offers yet another benefit. A report from Harvard Medical School -- as posted by the Huffington Post and elsewhere -- says that drinking two or more cups of caffeinated coffee a day may lower your risk of suicide by as much as 50 percent. The study follows other studies showing that drinking coffee also reduces the risk of depression.

     Now, while I've had my share of ups and downs over the years, I don't think I'm at any risk at all of suicide. But suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in America today, and it has plagued America's senior population more than any other group. According to a CBS News report from a couple of years ago, Americans 65 and over account for about 13 percent of the population, but almost a fifth of all suicides. So it's nothing to take lightly.

     Anyway, I'm going to go brew up some more iced coffee. Don't worry, I'm not giving up water. And B is always making iced tea, which I like as well. But iced tea only appeals to me when it gets really hot, like over 85 degrees, which doesn't happen around here all that much.

     When it gets cold I also drink hot tea, and I believe tea is good for us as well, so I'll do a post on the benefits of tea -- just as soon as it gets hot enough, or cold enough. But meanwhile, at least for now, that iced cold muddy water is the perfect summer drink for me!


Unknown said...

I have may commented but I think the google monster dropped it.

Try squeezing a lemon into the water and adding your favorite chemical sweetener. What you have is a not too tart lemonade. Enjoy.

stephen Hayes said...

I'm not a big fan of carbonated drinks but I do drink a lot of Nestle bottled water. They even have it in flavors and I love the berry. Just a hint of flavor in the water.

Anonymous said...

Glad to see that I'm not the only one who excelled in rationalization classes - lol!

Telling it as it is: I think it silly/stupid/insane to drink bottled water under most conditions; but, you get to do whatever floats your boat.

My brothers and I did not get the coffee habit. Younger brother offed himself last August. Too late for me to advise him to take up coffee. At this stage in my life, I don't need it. (Our paternal grandmother took up drinking coffee at age 80 when the home in which she resided did not serve tea to residents.)
Cop Car

DJan said...

Coffee isn't bad for you, but sugar sure is. I hope you're not putting much of it into your coffee! :-)

Douglas said...

My favorite is green tea (with honey, lemon & ginseng), cold or hot. But water is more refreshing than any soda and out of the tap is fine (if you have a filter, it's basically as good as bottled) unless you use a water softener (salt... but they say it's minimal). My mother always drank iced coffee (w/ milk and sugar) and I like it too but rarely make it... no one else likes it at home.
Do a search for diet drinks and weight and you will find they can also add pounds... who'd have thought? Other than me, that is.

schmidleysscribblins.wordpress.com said...

God loves his, that's why he made coffee beans. Yes, it is the elixer of life. I have cut back to 5 cups per day and augment it with at least 2 cups of tea in the evening. Also 0% fat milk (skim). Otherwise, I don't drink anything but water and lots of that...mostly Perrier. Yes, tap water is good, but Perrier is better. Dianne

Anonymous said...

"...unless you use a water softener (salt... but they say it's minimal)."

That depends upon how hard the water started out. I have two cold water taps at our kitchen sink: one dispenses softened water, the other dispenses un-softened water.
Cop Car

Dick Klade said...

My beautiful wife weaned me away from pure coffee years ago by gradually changing the mix. Now, I do decaf exclusively at home, and only order the straight stuff when eating out. Decaf has enough caffeine to keep you on alert, and if you create a blend it can be equally tasty.

Aqua Pure said...

You'll get the best tasting coffee (decaf or regualr) by using filtered water to make it. Really any home made drink that is water based should be made with filtered water to clean the impurities of tap water.