Call it the golden age of liquid wellness: An explosion in bone broths, dairy-free milks, drinking vinegars, handcrafted kombuchas, enhanced waters and other trendsetting tonics is rapidly transforming what we drink - and making us healthier in the process. So how can we balance all those good health intentions with eco-friendly choices? Beyond reading labels for clean ingredients, here are six easy ways to make sustainable sipping more delicious and easy.
1. Choose purified tap water over bottled. Quenching your thirst with plenty of filtered water is a key part of a clean-eating lifestyle. But while many enhanced waters tout all sorts of health benefits, most offer little nutritional benefit that you can't get through a well-balanced diet, such as B vitamins and trace minerals.
Filtered tap water is a less wasteful and more budget-friendly option than bottled. Turn up the flavor and health perks of filtered tap water by adding a splash of apple cider vinegar, a squeeze of orange or a few sprigs of mint after a workout.
2. Prioritize plant-based. According to the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), cattle raised for beef, milk and inedible outputs (such as farms that use animals for power) are the single greatest source of man-made greenhouse gas emissions in our diets. You can reduce your carbon footprint and take advantage of the shift happening in the dairy aisle by swapping cow's milk for non-dairy milk more often.
Options like peanut milk and pea milk deliver an impressive 8 and 10 grams of protein per cup - on par with cow's milk. The health payoff? A study published in JAMA found that swapping just 3% of daily calories from animal protein for plant protein was associated with lower risk of overall mortality and cardiovascular disease.
3. Use, refill, repeat. Carrying reusable bottles to the store could soon become as routine as bringing your own reusable totes. At some supermarkets, it's now easy for customers to bring back empty bottles for refills on kombucha and fresh-squeezed orange juice, and partnerships with local dairies that use reusable glass milk bottles are another trend.
This is a good thing, considering that more than 40 years after the launch of the first universal recycling symbol, just 14% of plastic packaging is collected for recycling, according to a report by the World Economic Forum. Help scale reusable options by bringing your own bottles to stores and exchanging them for fresh, full ones. You'll not only reduce the environmental impact of single-serve packaging but also get refills at a lower price.
4. Try coconut water powder. Coconut water is one of nature's ultimate thirst quenchers, naturally rich in potassium and other electrolytes that help replenish your body during or after a workout. But if you want to trim the carbon footprint of shipping all that heavy bottled liquid across the globe, opt for freeze-dried coconut water powder instead. Try Laird Superfood Hydrate coconut water mix with Aquamin, a calcified sea algae ($13, lairdsuperfood.com), and simply add your own H20 - a single package yields 19 servings.
5. Uncork SIP Certified wines. Third-party certifications such as Fair Trade Certified and Rainforest Alliance Certified mean more transparency in how products are grown, and producers typically follow a rigorous set of farming practices to help reduce the use of pesticides and fertilizers, protect biodiversity and even optimize water and energy use. Pouring a glass of vino? Look for organic, biodynamic or Sustainability in Practice (SIP) Certified wines - you'll reap all the health benefits (such as red wine's polyphenols) but with a smaller eco-footprint.
6. Create a "green" routine. A variety of environmentally friendly DIY options can help you cut down on disposable choices. Adore flavored bubbles? Invest in a seltzer maker. Want to reap the nutritional boons of tea? Buy an iced tea maker to make antioxidant-rich brews. Our go-to guide (see "Clean Sipping") will make it easier for you and your family to establish eco-conscious habits.
The writer is a freelancer
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