Are Vitamin Drinks Good For You?
Vitamin drinks or vitamin powdered mixes, such as Emergen-C and Airborne are in high demand during flu season. These magical elixirs promise to boost your immune system with a high dose of vitamins, dissuading any and all germs from entering your body. And, if a flu or cold does happen to slip by this super vitamin barrier, the makers of these potions suggest to keep drinking them in an effort to keep your immunities in check while these nasty viruses make their way through your body.
How could we possibly have a flu epidemic at all with these phenomenal powders and tablets? Do these concoctions really live up to their hype? And . . . most importantly, are these vitamin drinks healthy?
My reason for writing this post stems from a question I received on the Clean Cuisine’s 8-Week Challenge Group Page from a mom, Tricia Kurt, whose kids drink a packet of Emergenc-C every morning.
Tricia’s original question was:
While drinking a vitamin drink or powder seems like a healthy alternative to fruit juice and Propel (vitamin water made by Pepsi), in addition to the sugars (which enter the bloodstream immediately without fiber to regulate this absorption), the additional color and flavor additives are something from which you want to steer clear completely.
First of all, when we are talking about supplements, whether they are in pill or capsule form, vitamin drinks, powders, or dissolvable tablets, we are talking about synthetic vitamins. These are vitamins that have been manufactured in a lab for companies to fortify foods or, in this case, make vitamin drinks. While Clean Cuisine does indeed approve of supplemental vitamins, it is of foremost concern to obtain necessary vitamins from whole foods in which these vitamins occur naturally.
As Ivy and Dr. Andy note in the Clean Cuisine Book: “certain vitamins and minerals found naturally in whole foods are necessary for your body to manufacture its own antioxidants. If you aren’t getting a broad spectrum of nutrients from whole foods, you’ll be shortchanging your body’s natural ability to quench the free-radical fire.”
So, in response to Tricia, I set out to create a recipe for a “clean” vitamin drink for her kids, as I had to put a stop to her feeding them these unhealthful ingredients everyday–a Clean Cuisine Emergency indeed!
clean-C* Vitamin Tonic
When going about creating this recipe, I thought about what these powdered vitamin drinks taste like, and I narrowed it down to three adjectives:
- and…sadly….clumpy with powdered chunks that can be a real struggle to get down
The tang I had covered. Citrus fruits are tangy enough on their own (without adding “natural” flavorings–whatever the heck that means. And…it usually means just about anything. Check out “Food Babe’s” hilarious video and informative article “Do you eat Beaver Butt?“). But, I had to think about where to get the fizz.
Fortunately, my mom received a Soda Stream from Santa Claus this year, so I had instant bubbles when I was visiting my parents this week! My cousin Jodi’s little five-year-old, Peyton, also got one (which was on her list right after her Doc McStuffins…ha! So cute.)
But, do NOTE: the flavor mixes they offer with this effervescent machine are full of ingredients that Clean Cuisine does NOT recommend.
So, I grabbed some citrus and my Vitamix and went to work!
The very simple recipe below does take a few more steps than just opening up a package of mystery powder and adding it to a glass of water. But, I know that I’d feel much better getting up a few minutes earlier to make this homemade vitamin drink from fresh fruit that is bursting with vitamins and nutrients, such as bioflavonoids and FIBER! That’s right, I didn’t forget about the “clumpy” part! In lieu of those powdery lumps, leave the juicy and delicious pulp in this refreshing tonic to up its nutritional profile.
In the body, flavonoids and vitamin C work together, supporting health through their interaction. When the pulpy white part of the orange is removed (in the processing of store bought orange juice, for example) flavonoids are lost too. This loss of flavonoids is one of the many reasons eating oranges in their whole food form or making completely whole orange juice is considerably healthier than just drinking the pasteurized orange juice you buy from the grocery store. The fiber from the pulp also slows down sugar absorption, making it a much more nutritious breakfast beverage for your kids.
Ok…on to the recipe!Print
For the Vitamin Tang:
- 1 Orange (peeled)
- 1/4 lemon (peeled)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 pitted date (for optional sweetness*)
For the Fizz:
- Sparkling water (bottled or homemade with Soda Stream)
- Blend orange, lemon, water, and date (if needed) until smooth.
- Pour in “Vitamin Tang” mixture halfway in an 8 oz glass.
- Fill with sparking water.**
- Stir gently to keep the fizz.
*This tonic is sweet enough on it’s own, however, pickier eaters may enjoy more sweetness.
**Pouring in this order reduces fizz overflow!
**Many “flavors” can be added to this mix. Try adding berries or pomegranates for more nutritional punch and/or color!
***Add a tablespoon Acai Powder for a nutrient booster!
*Thank you to Tricia Kurt for the ideas behind this post and recipe and also the title “clean-C”!!!
Contributing Editor to Clean Cuisine
Ask Erin a question at: email@example.com and follow her on Twitter: @ELodeesen