Chef Wendell: Listen up water-haters

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Do you drink flavored fruit drinks and flavored water rather than plain water to quench your thirst?

As unnatural as it may seem, many good folks are grossed out by water and use this as a weak excuse not to drink your body’s most important nutrient.

Water is more than just a simple mixture of hydrogen and oxygen molecules, it is the source of all life. Every cell in your body needs water. That is why it is so important to drink enough of the heavenly fluid.

Folks are also a bit hesitant to prepare fresh juice or infused waters themselves. If you prefer old, devitalized juices bottled far, far away, you’re not alone. Please note however: Without fresh, clean, hydrating water and nutrients from fresh fruit, we would perish.

Today, grocery store shelves moan and groan from the weight of a constellation of flavor-enhanced water and juices. They might help us stay hydrated, but come at a cost.

So which flavored bottled waters should you avoid? And which ones should you embrace on a hot day of after a good workout?

Read labels. Avoid artificial colors, chemicals, flavors and preservatives altogether because there are already too many chemicals we’re exposed to on a daily basis that we can’t control.

Try Ayala’s, Hint, Metromint or Lakewood brand juices

Many flavored waters are little more than water with food dye and sugar. Most fruit juices are nutritionally diminished from processing.

This is a problem when people use water to rehydrate and feed their temple.

Drinking 2 or more bottles a day can add a bunch of sugar to your diet. Not good if you want to lose weight, have diabetes or a high risk for diabetes.

Here’ what to look for on the ingredient label and avoid:

1. Sugar-You might think you’re making a healthy choice by choosing flavored water, but some brands contain 32 grams of sugar in one serving. (That’s 7.6 teaspoons)

2. Artificial Sweeteners-Splenda and aspartame are most commonly used to flavor waters. They don’t add calories but there’s speculation about their safety. Stay away from artificial additives in food and drinks as much as possible. Your temple wasn’t created to process them.

3. Artificial Colors- Petroleum-based, and are linked to ADHD, anxiety, migraines and cancer. Why place something artificial to your temple if other, better choices like Sweet Leaf Brand stevia, exists?

4. Preservatives-Potassium Sorbate has been shown to cause changes in human DNA and stress the immune system, while Sodium Benzoate is a rocket fuel that forms the carcinogen benzene when combined with citric acid, a natural preservative.

5. Stabilizers-Propylene Glycol, an ingredient in anti-freeze and used to de-ice airplanes, is used in one brand to ensure the flavor remains consistent throughout the entire bottle. It may cause allergic reactions on the skin, and kidney and liver damage

Also, the plastic used to make flavored water bottles contains a variety of health-harming chemicals that can leach out and contaminate the water, such as:

1. Cancer-causing PFOAs

2. PBDEs (flame retardant chemicals), which have been linked to reproductive problems and altered thyroid levels

3. The reproductive toxins, phthalates

4. BPA which disrupts the endocrine system by mimicking the female hormone estrogen

FYI: Six brands of bottled water got the worst marks in Environmental Working Group report:

1. Vintage Natural Spring Water

2. Whole Foods Italian Still Mineral Water

3. Sahara Premium Drinking Water

4. O Water Sport Electrolyte Enhanced Purified Drinking Water

5. Market Basket Natural Spring Water

6. Cumby’s Spring Water

The solution: Homemade, fruit or vegetable-infused H2O! Infused waters are easy to make, nutritious, and refreshing. Simply use any fresh fruit (except bananas and avocado’s don’t work well), garden herbs, and spices to turn your once ‘yucky’ water into a refreshing, nutritious beverage. It’s easy.Click here for a great website to visit and learn more.Minty Cucumber Lime

  • 1/2 a cucumber, sliced
  • 1/2 a lime, sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
  • Strawberry-Lemon with Basil
  • 1/2 cup sliced strawberries
  • 1/2 a lemon, sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
  • Watermelon Mint
  • 1 cup cubed watermelon, seeds removed
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, stems removed
  • Pineapple-Orange with Ginger
  • 1/2 cup cubed pineapple
  • 1/2 an orange, sliced
  • 1 Tbls. freshly-grated ginger

You’ll need:

  • 1-quart jars
  • Filtered Water
  • Wooden Spoon
  • Stevia (optional)

1. Choose the recipe-or create your own combination. Collect all of the ingredients.

2. Place the fruit, herbs, and/or spices in the bottom of one of the glass jars, and muddle with a wooden spoon. (Mash up the fruit in the bottom of the jar to release the flavor-filled juices.)

3. Fill the jar with filtered water and taste it. (Use seltzer water for a fizzy treat.) If you’d like something a bit sweeter, try adding some stevia or raw honey.

4. Enjoy immediately or refrigerate overnight for maximum flavor.