The first time I remember having ‘Kool-Aid’ was at summer church camp during my young teens. I loved drinking it when I was so thirsty after my Jr. Life-Saving class. It was a novelty, staining our mouths and tongues red. My mom never bought this for us at home!
Later, as a young married wife, I helped serve Kool-Aid during our play group snack time, and all the Moms made comments on how wound up the children were. We thought it was sugar, but I don’t think we had made the connection between artificial food dyes and hyperactivity back in the 80s.
The Washington Post and the American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP) have recently spoken out that artificial food dyes have been linked to hyperactivity, and it’s not just in candy. “Americans are really turned on by a bright-red strawberry juice, and they think it’s natural,” said Kantha Shelke, co-president of the food research firm Corvus Blue. The Center for Science in the Public Interest points to studies suggesting that some of the dyes are also suspected carcinogens.
Food Dyes & Labeling
Here is what the Kool-Aid label tells us is ‘good for kids’:
KOOL-AID INGREDIENTS: Sugar, Fructose, Citric Acid (Provides Tartness), Contains Less Than 2% Of: Natural And Artificial Flavor, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Vitamin E Acetate, Calcium Phosphate (Prevents Caking), Acesulfame Potassium (almost as nasty as aspartame) And Sucralose (Sweeteners), Artificial Color, Red 40, Blue 1, BHA (Preserves Freshness).
While I delighted in my children even when they were rambunctious and very busy, I hoped to avoid anything that would make them feel or act out of control. Looking back, I wish I had known about this when we were trying to figure out food allergies. Who wants to rev up their children even more than they already are?
So if you want to serve the children a bright, sparkling, sweet and delicious red drink that won’t make them act silly, get angry, aggressive, or just plain hyper, I think you will want this recipe.
‘Better Than Kool-Aid’ is made like a tea with three ingredients:
Stevia leaf is known for its amazing sweetness and smoothness~
I only use the organic whole dried leaf (unrefined). It is an herb, from a plant and is in no way synthetic or an artificial sweetener.
Stevia is being increasingly studied as a tool to help manage and possibly prevent type 2 diabetes. Several small studies, including a study published in July 2018 by the American Diabetes Association (ADA), have found that stevia did not raise blood sugar or insulin levels in participants who were lean or obese. (source)
It may promote better insulin function, according to the Journal of Functional Foods. Lastly, the Journal of Nutrition reveals stevia may help you feel more full, meaning that you’re less likely to overeat.
Hibiscus flower gives off its bright red color and has a sweet tart taste that really quenches your thirst~
It is filled with health benefits:
- It’s anti-inflammatory
- it’s very calming and relieves stress when taken daily like a medicine (see study)
- It helps gently lower blood pressure
- It may help lower blood fats
- Boosts liver health
- Could promote weight loss
- Contains compounds that prevent cancer
- Could help control bacterial
- And is filled with bright flavor..naturally!
…and Peppermint leaf is so cooling on a hot summer’s day~
Besides tasting terrific, a great thing about my alternative is that it is sugar-free and dye-free. It has a lot of extra healthy benefits as it’s loaded with Vitamin C and bioflavonoids.
Pour 2 cups of boiling water over:
- 4 TBSP Hibiscus flowers
- 1 1/2 to 2 tsp Stevia leaves depending on the desired sweetness (fresh or dried herb)
- 3 1/2 tsp Peppermint leaves (dried herb)(if using fresh peppermint leaves, use 10-15 6-inch mint sprigs as dried leaves are more concentrated)
Stir to immerse the herbs fully. Almost immediately, you will see the deep rich ruby-red color flow from the hibiscus herb. It is beautiful to watch.
Incredibly Simple Directions:
- Let the 3 ingredients above steep for 15 to 20 minutes in the boiling water
- Strain into a 1/2 gallon pitcher. (I use this type of strainer).
- Add several cups of ice
- Fill the rest of the way with cold water. Serve chilled.
- Which Is Worse: Sugar Or Aspartame?
- Watch This: How Foods With Additives & Dyes Affect Children’s Behavior
- Addictive Flavors & Foods To Avoid
- For more on code-words that are used to cover-up usage of seriously dangerous ingredients: Does ‘Tasty’ Kill? ~ Excitotoxins
“True healthcare reform starts in your own kitchen, not in Washington.” ~Anonymous
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