With the start of hot weather, it’s time to focus on cool, refreshing drinks that won’t trigger IC/BPS or chronic prostatitis flares. This means that we have to avoid the typical acidic drinks of summer: lemonade, iced green tea and black teas, iced coffee, frappuccino and, of course, most canned sodas. Yes, that means no Diet Coke, Cokes, 7UP and other acidic sodas. It’s also a big no for powdered drinks that contain artificial sugars like Crystal Light. And please, please don’t pick up an frosty energy drink. Seriously, the last thing you need is massive caffeine hit stoking the nerves in your bladder. You think you’re urinating a lot now? Just wait until that caffeine overdose hits. JUST SAY NO!
But, there are many MANY refreshing drinks that you can enjoy during the summer without irritating your bladder. Here are some of our favorites:
(1) Homemade Italian Soda
If you still want the bubble but without the acid of traditional coca cola, try making an Italian Soda using a low sodium mineral water (i.e. San Pellegrino) & a fruit syrup! You’ll might be surprised to learn that there are dozens of flavors available at specialty markets and on-line. Obviously, you’ll need to avoid sugar free syrups and strong citrus flavors like lemon, lime and orange. An Italian soda should have a pale blush of color, roughly one shot of flavoring per glass of water. If it’s dark, you’ve used too much flavoring and are getting an overdose of sugar! These sodas are lighter and much more refreshing! Serve with plenty of crushed ice! Try:
- raspberry (& blue raspberry)
You can also mix flavors. You can’t go wrong with Flavorganics Raspberry Fruit Syrup. Torani syrups are also quite popular but contain more citric acid and colorings! Use these in very small quantities, diluted with plenty of water!
(2) Fresh, Herbal Sun & Sweet Teas
Sun tea today is a far cry from the sun teas made popular by Lipton years ago. Using fresh herbs and fruits, you can create fabulous ice teas that will quench your thirst during the hottest days of summer. All you need is a large glass jar with a tight cover, fresh water and the herbs and fruit of your choice. It takes 1 to 1-1/2 cups of fresh herbs per gallon of water. Clean the herbs and water container carefully. Place the herbs at the bottom and fill the container with water. Screw the lid on and give it a few shakes. Set the container in a sunny place for several hours. The longer the brew, the stronger the flavor. At the end of the day, the tea should be warm and have a rich, clear color. Shake some more and pour through a strainer to remove the herbs. While still warm, add honey or sugar to taste and stir well. This is an ideal time to add a little bit of lemon peel if you like that flavor. Refrigerate immediately!
Here are some combinations that could work well!
- chamomile and raspberry
- chamomile, honey and mint
- peppermint, rosemary leaves with a hint of honey!
- peppermint and pineapple sage
- lavender, sage and rosemary
- licorice root and flax seed
(3) Infused Spa Waters
Restaurants & spas do it, why not you? Placing fresh herbs and/or fruit in a gallon of water and leaving it in the refrigerator overnight is a great way to add flavor and reduce the boredom of drinking plain water. In fact, the“Classic Spa Water” is simply chilled spring water with a few sprigs of mint, rosemary and cucumber. Looking for some soda fizz? Low sodium mineral water, such as San Pellegrino, works perfectly! Need a little extra sweetness? No artificial sugars should be used. Use a little bit of honey to taste! And you can get a little bit of lemon or lime without the strong acid by using some grated peel instead of the juice! Feel free to experiment
There are many flavor combinations that you can play with using the fresh, simple ingredients, such as:
- HERBS – a few sprigs of fresh mint, rosemary or sage
- FRUITS – pears, apples, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, peaches, watermelon, honeydew
- PEELS – lemon or lime peel has a fraction of the acid that the juice would have.
- SPICES – cinnamon, cloves, vanilla beans & ginger root
Ready to experiment?? Try these flavorful combinations
- fresh mint, rosemary or sage leaves
- fresh cucumber & mint
- sliced pears & a cinnamon stick
- blackberries, fresh mint & lime peel
- raspberries & lemon peel
- strawberries & mint
- peaches & vanilla bean
- gingerroot, mint & lemon peel
- blueberries & pomegranate seeds
- cantaloupe, watermelon, honeydew & mint
(4) Ice Cold Berry Milkshakes
There’s nothing quite so satisfying as an ice cold vanilla milkshake on a hot summer afternoon. The challenge? Aside from often insane calories, many of the milkshakes available from fast food outlets are filled with extra ingredients that can irritate, such as preservatives, colorings and flavorings. I find it better to make my milkshakes at home, using high quality products and low acid organic fruits. The good news is that you can add ice to reduce calories and dilute the residual acid of the fruit. Lactose intolerant?? Simply use coconut or almond milk products. Don’t forget to use an acid reducer, especially if you’re using a more acidic fruit like strawberry!
- 1 cup low fat milk (substitutes: coconut milk, almond milk or lactose free milk)
- 2 or 3 scoops vanilla ice cream (substitutes: coconut milk ice cream, almond milk ice cream, or frozen yogurt)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Sugar to taste (substitute: 1/2 a frozen banana can add sweetness and thickness.)
- Your choice of fruit or fresh herb (1/2 cup of shredded coconut, blueberries or blackberries. You can even use a few fresh mint leaves!)
- 1 scoop of ice is you prefer an icier drink (optional)
- Whip cream (optional)
Place all ingredients in a blender and mix until proper thickness. Top with whipped cream and enjoy!