Thoughts About Drinking Calories + a Minty Citrus Mixer Recipe

A few weeks ago, a friend of ours gave us a bottle of mint syrup. She’d bought a warehouse-sized box from amazon after having mint syrup added to her Starbucks Zen iced tea, and immediately becoming obsessed. She wasn’t kidding…it’s good stuff!

I’ve been experimenting with ours, adding it to drinks and desserts, and all kinds of good stuff. One of my favorite combos is with citrusy iced tea. Yum!

I never used to like drinking things like lemonade or sweetened iced tea because honestly…I was scared of the calories. The diet industry makes a big deal about how drinking calories is “bad” and blah…blah…blah…because you’re “wasting calories” if you’re drinking them rather than eating them. But honestly? I have found this to be completely un-true.

So let’s rewind a bit to disordered eating land. If I was ever thirsty, I had three options: water, diet soda, and black coffee. Sometimes, I’d even drink those things when I was hungry because I’d heard it said that sometimes our brains confuse hunger and thirst, so we should drink water first in case we’re just thirsty. Again, false. false. false. Our brains/bodies are a lot smarter than that…and if we had confused hunger and thirst throughout history, the human species wouldn’t have made it this far. I mean seriously.

But anyway, I thought it was like diet disaster to drink calories, and if I ever did drink something that was sweetened, I’d usually freak out and binge. Or restrict the next day, and then eventually, inevitably binge.

When I started recovery and threw my food rules out the window, I experimented with all kinds of foods, and with re-introducing pretty much everything I’d ever restricted. That meant calorie-sweetened beverages like soda, lemonade, half-and-half in my coffee, etc. I learned quite a few things about that experience, the first being that beverages that have calories aren’t “wasted.” Tasty beverages add satisfaction to my meal, and help me to recognize when it’s time to stop eating. When I drink a caloric beverage, like lemonade, creamy coffee, or a cocktail, yes…it adds calories. But I also am satisfied faster. My body knows what to do with the calories in my beverages. My brain doesn’t ignore them just because I didn’t chew anything. If there’s sugar in my drink, my body metabolizes it just like any other type of sugar, and if there’s fat, it does likewise. There’s really no difference in having a lemonade as a snack versus having candy. It’s all just sugar. My body doesn’t differentiate between butter and coffee cream.

Oh, and another myth? Sugar addiction. Drinking lemonade doesn’t cue all kinds of sugar cravings throughout the rest of the day like I thought it would. It actually helps keep my sweet tooth satisfied. The thing that triggers sugar cravings and binges? Avoiding sugar cravings.

Lemonade, iced tea, cocktails and sodas are delicious and refreshing in the summer, and I love drinking them in the afternoon. (Okay, maybe not the cocktails…) I’m so grateful that I’ve worked through my fear of drinking calories because sweet drinks they have added satisfaction to my life and helped me to build trust with food and my body.

Minty Citrus Mixer

Ingredients for one

  • 1 lemon or citrus tea bag (I like Citrus Sunrise by Celestial Seasonings)
  • 8 ounces hot water
  • 1 tablespoon DaVinci Gourmet Peppermint Syrup
  • 1 shot white rum (optional)

Directions

Boil water and pour over teabag. Allow to reach room temperature, or store in the fridge until ready to use.

Stir in peppermint syrup and rum, if using. Pour over ice, and garnish with mint leaves or lemon balm! Cheers!


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