Love it, Like it, Hate it: Mocktail Mixers!

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Molly’s annual #AlcoholFreeFor40 challenge starts today, with the goal of going 40 days alcohol free, tracking things like weight, appearance of our skin and eyes, and certain labs pre- and post-challenge to see the impact that alcohol has on our individual bodies.

But simply being “alcohol-free” doesn’t make a drink “healthy”, so today we’re Getting the Skinny on best and worst mixers for DIY mocktails!

Interested in the #AlcoholFreeFor40?  Scroll down for full details on the #AlcoholFreeFor40 Challenge!

 

LOVE IT!

All-natural mixers with little or no sugar or calories:

Sparkling water + Flavored sparkling water – e.g. La Croix, Dasani Sparkling, and Target’s Simply Balanced store brand. Zero calories, sugar, or artificial sweeteners

Crystal Light PURE – sweetened with stevia and a bit of sugar, and colored with vegetable extracts. Each packet has 30 calories and six grams of sugar - can often use just half a packet or less per mocktail.

Agave Five Drink Mix packets by Madhava (available at stores like Whole Foods Market):  5 calories per packet, sweetened with stevia and agave; nothing artificial.

Herbal tea – Endless flavor options; most herbal teas are naturally caffeine-free, with zero calories, carbs, or sugar.

Virgin Bloody Mary mix like Louisiana Sisters Bloody Mary Mix

Kombucha – Rich in probiotics and low in sugar, its effervescence and ale-like fermented flavor make it a great mixer for mocktails.  Big Easy Bucha, local New Orleans kombucha brewery, has a variety of kombucha flavors that are perfect for DIY mocktails.

 

LIKE IT!

Diet soft drinks (e.g. Coke Zero, Sprite Zero) – artificially sweetened with aspartame and/or acesulfame potassium

Crystal Light Packets – artificially sweetened with aspartame and acesulfame potassium + artificially colored

Non-Alcoholic Beers:  Typically 58-89 calories, with 12-19 grams of carbs per 12-ounce beer

 

HATE IT

Sugary soft drinks – 30+ grams added sugar per 12-ounce can

Fruit juice – even 100% fruit juices – ounce-for-ounce, as much or more sugar + calories as a soft drink

Frozen, blended slushy drink mixers – can easily top 400 calories & 40 grams sugar per drink!

 

#AlcoholFreeFor40 Challenge Details:

Give up all alcohol from Ash Wednesday until EAster.  Establish the following pre-Challenge metrics, and repeat again at end of Challenge to see the impact that going alcohol-free has on your body:

  1. Weight
  2. Close-up photo of face: details of eyes and skin in particular
  3. Labs:
    • CBC (Complete Blood Count)
    • Liver panel including enzymes AST & ALT
    • Lipid Panel (includes triglycerides, which can be affected by alcohol)
    • GGT (Gamma glutamyl transferase, a specific liver test that's most affected by alcohol)
    • Vitamin B12 and Folate Panel
    • hs-CRP (high-sensitivity C-reactive protein; a marker of inflammation)
    • ESR (sedimentation rate; a marker of inflammation)

POTENTIAL BENEFITS:  Less inflammation, better sleep, less anxiety, improved mood & energy, potential weight loss.

NOTES:

  • Molly will be offering weekly reminders, tips & recipes via social media (@mollykimballRD) on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, using the hashtag #AlcoholFreeFor40.
  • Share your own experiences using the hashtag #AlcoholFreeFor40.
  • You can also email Molly (molly@mollykimball.com) to accept the challenge and keep in touch throughout to let her know how you're doing.  All personal information will be kept confidential.

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Want more from Molly?  Click here to sign up for Nutrition Bites, her weekly e-newsletter with links to her Get the Skinny TV segments here on WGNO, and her weekly column in NOLA.com|The Times-Picayune!   And you can follow Molly on Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram:  @MollyKimballRD