The Finest Chefs

Author - Andrea Skye

The Juicing Lifestyle

juicing-lifestyle

Thousands of people enjoy juicing as a lifestyle and some enjoy the benefits because they are juicing for health. Either way, juicing has established a strong foothold in our food culture. Adding fresh juices to your diet has been known to lower the risks of acquiring curable diseases and with the right equipment, juicing can also be quick and fun. Remember, it may not be for everyone every day, so develop an easy habit at first. Just be consistent.

What Kinds of Juices Can I Make That Won’t Get Boring?

There are several very specific combinations that can be made daily to help combat the symptoms of disease and eventually help restore damaged cells. Beets are particularly good because they are known to help purify the blood and reduce the risk of heart health challenges. Actually, beets contain several really important compounds that can enhance health. They are a great source of nitrates, which have been shown to boost exercise performance.

Tomato based juices are also fun, especially when tomatoes are in season. They add a delicious flavor and can be crafted into sweet juice combinations or made into savory juice combinations. They are very juicy, so these fruits (commonly mistaken for vegetables) are great additions to juicing recipes when in season.

Juicing greens that contain high amounts of minerals have been known to provide dense sources of calcium and magnesium – essential to maintain healthy bones and teeth and organs. Juicing roots including turmeric, ginger, carrots and beets contain abundant nutrients that have been known to reduce inflammation and improve blood circulation. Juicing citrus fruits that are known to be antibacterial and anti-fungal and contain abundant amounts of vitamins including vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin K, which are essential to keeping the immune system fortified.

Take a stroll on the internet to find different recipes that will give you great ideas for different juice combinations that suit your nutritional needs. After making a few juices during the first week, preferences will begin to emerge and customizing recipes then becomes easy. Balancing the intake of green juices to fruit juices can be tricky, just remember fruits are higher in fruit sugars than vegetables. More sugar means more calories so it is generally recommended to consume more vegetable juices than fruit juices.

What About Variety?

Take advantage of the seasonal harvest to get a variety of fruits and vegetables. Each season ushers in new fruits and vegetables that contain nutrients that benefit a healthy body. Eating locally grown foods are also nutritionally beneficial, especially if the produce is organically grown. You’ll also avoid consuming pesticides and GMO’s and get the best quality juice, if you make it at home and always buy and juice organic produce at your neighborhood market, at the closest farmer’s market or join a local community supported agriculture group (CSA).

Knowing the basics of juicing provides a more solid understanding of the health benefits possible and can be empowering to newbies to create a new healthy habit for the long haul. Good information, the right tools, and a healthy attitude about a new healthy habit, are just the things you need to feel good about the gift you’re giving your body each day. Juicing has become very mainstream and is easy to acquire. It is also a great, economical way to increase your mineral intake with food that supports good heath over time.

7 Cooking Tips To Cut Out Fat And Calories From Your Diet

food-preparation

It can be hard deciding what to cook when you’re trying to lose weight, but you really don’t have to stick with salads for every meal! Sometimes all it takes is a little bit of planning and some minor changes in the way you cook to help you keep your calorie limits and watch those pounds slip away.

Here are some tips you can try when preparing meals to keep calories and fat to a minimum:

  1. Instead of using oil, opt for non-stick zero calorie sprays or butter substitutes with fewer calories. If you are willing to invest more, then get a non-stick pan instead for your basic sautéing.

  1. Include more vegetables in your cooking than meat, dairy, or other items. Vegetables help fill you up with fiber and nutrients, that help keep you full for a longer amount of time. You can also opt to change traditional recipes to reduce their calorie content, such as substituting macaroni in your mac and cheese with broccoli or diced carrots.

  1. Whenever you can, avoid deep frying food items. Instead of eating fried chicken, it’s better to boil, roast or bake it to keep the amount of calories in check. In case you didn’t already know, a tablespoon of oil is about 120 calories, and when you deep fry an item, you will be ingesting many unnecessary calories without even noticing it.

  1. If you feel oil and sugar is the only way to flavor the food you cook, then you are wrong. Seasonings and extracts have lesser calories and give just as much flavor, and you may realize you have an affinity to them after a while!

  1. When baking, try using applesauce to replace sugar as it contains fewer calories.

  1. When making desserts, opt for lower calorie ones like fruits with greek yogurt or banana halves topped with ricotta cheese, cocoa powder and cherries.

  1. The most important step of all is the preparation you take before cooking. The best way to stick to healthy cooking is to plan your meals in advance and ensure your pantry only stocks ingredients for healthy meals. Make a list of the low-calorie meals you plan to make for the week and only buy the ingredients needed for those meals when you go grocery shopping. This will help you avoid changing your mind at the last minute and cooking something you know you shouldn’t be eating.

These easy-to-follow tips are all you need to remember when you prepare your meals from now on. In the end, it’s all down to your calorie intake, so be sure to make it a priority to stick to your calorie limits.

Juicing To Reduce Stress…Sounds Oxymoronic, Right?

stressed

Almost every adult and child alike has experienced bouts of stress at various points in their daily life. For most, this is taken in stride until it is no longer possible to do so, and when this happens it almost always affects the health conditions. It is important to reduce stress, as a state of stress produces high levels of cortisol – which can be responsible for a variety of health conditions. It is responsible for inhibiting insulin production and can increase the risk for type 2 diabetes. When the health begins to falter, many have turned to juicing to reduce stress as a solution. However, just the simple act of juicing as an activity can cause stress. The cleaning, the preparing, the juicing and then the cleaning again!

So How Can Juicing Reduce Stress?

Apple, cherry and blueberry ingredients have been known to be good health boosting elements where the flavonoid can facilitate better lung functions and with this optimum breathing position the ideal amounts of oxygen is then able to be circulated well with the body system thus relieving any internal pressures felt when stress levels are high and this eventually helps to lower the stress levels.

Fruits like berries, apples and cherries contain antioxidants and can contribute to relaxing the arteries. Leafy greens contain calcium and magnesium which are both really great for proper functioning of the nerves and muscles. Citrus juices can help boost immunity and keep the body’s natural resistance fortified when bacterial and viral infections are present in the environment. When adrenaline levels increase, the body requires more vitamin C and since the body cannot produce vitamin c on its own, juicing can provide an abundant source of this vitamin.

But What About The Stress Of Making The Juice?

The process of washing, cutting and juicing fruits and vegetables can actually help reduce stress. For some, the act of cutting, peeling, and preparing can shift the mind away from life’s mundane activity to a state of mindfulness. It is well known that mindfulness plays a part in stress reduction.

Also, involving the family reduces the probability of rejection. Kids aren’t that easy to convince, but if they are involved in the process, it can be a heap of fun and a great learning experience.

Take the stress out of juicing and do these simple things to help make juicing enjoyable…every time.

1. Prepare in advance. It helps to prep your fruits and vegetables before you juice them because it will save time. Take the time to wash, peel and/or cut most of what you need for juicing and store in the refrigerator in a clean container that will protect fragile leafy greens.

2. Gather your juicing tools the night before. If you choose to juice in the mornings, gathering the necessary tools and cleaning and organizing them will be useful. It will make the process of juicing a welcome meditation. When things are clean and organized around you, it will feel less stressful.

3. Clean your tools immediately after juicing. Many people don’t like this part. It’s the messy part, but if you make a habit of cleaning your tools immediately after using them, it will reduce the “clean up” anxiety many people feel.

4. Store your juice in containers that reduce exposure to air and light. It is very stressful to spend the money on produce, and the time to clean and make the juice only to have it lose it’s nutritional value because it wasn’t stored properly, or it wasn’t stored at all. Don’t leave juice out on the counter for too long, it will oxidize and minimize the nutritional value of the juice. Keeping juice in air tight, glass containers has worked well for many and is a great way to reuse containers – which takes some stress off the planet.

What If I Get Sick Anyway?

When the body is stressed, the immune system actually becomes depressed. Including ingredients that contain immune boosting properties can be beneficial during stressful times. Consider increasing the consumption of foods and herbal teas that contain nutrients like zinc, vitamin c, calcium and magnesium to support the body’s immunity.

Of course most people try to avoid stressful situations, but sometimes stress is just inevitable. Managing stress with various foods and juices can be very effective and can be a great way to maintain good health.

5 Tips For A Healthy Breakfast That’ll Help You Lose Weight

healthy-breakfast

It’s a tip that is repeated by diet experts everywhere: eat breakfast. There’s a reason behind it too. Eating a healthy breakfast helps kick-start your body’s metabolism in the morning, helping you avoid overeating over lunch and dinner. Not only that, having breakfast helps keep your blood sugar levels under control throughout the day, keeping cravings at bay. However, it’s important to eat the right kind of breakfast. Here are some tips to remember when having breakfast on a weight loss diet:

  1. Keep the calories limited. Of course, in the end you have to eat fewer calories than your body needs to lose weight, so overeating at breakfast is not a good idea. Therefore, avoid high-calorie sweet foods for breakfast such as bagels, doughnuts, and sugared cereals that don’t fill you up much but use up quite a bit of your calorie content.
  1. Eat a balanced breakfast. This means eating a breakfast that is part protein, part carbohydrates and part healthy fat. An example of such a breakfast is a cup of low-fat yogurt with a bowl of oatmeal topped with some flaxseed.
  1. Make a fruit smoothie. If you are on the go and don’t have the time to prepare a hearty breakfast, then just blend a banana, some whey protein and a cup of berries of your choice, and you’ll have a nutritious smoothie that will fill you up. If you can stomach it, you can try green smoothies too so that you can get some vegetables into your day.
  1. For carbohydrates, choose whole grain over white carbs. While the calorie difference may not be much, but whole grain items contain more fiber that will fill you up, and sugars that will keep your blood sugar more stable for a longer time.
  1. If you like a hearty breakfast that is filling but want to stick with regular breakfast foods like bacon, butter or scrambled eggs, then use low-calorie products to limit the amount of calories you consume. For example, you can use a zero calorie spray instead of oil when frying your bacon, use lighter versions of butter for your bread, and use artificial sweeteners like stevia or Splenda with your coffee or tea. Of course, it’s still a good idea to stick to healthier breakfast foods as often as possible.

The possibilities are endless when it comes to a healthy breakfast, but ensure that you can eat foods that you like or at least can tolerate instead of foods that you have to force yourself to eat, during breakfast. The reason for this is that if you constantly drink those green smoothies even though you hate them, you’ll get turned off of eating breakfast, and you will tend to skip it. A healthy breakfast does not have to be bad, so experiment to see which food combinations you enjoy.

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To Juice Cleanse or Not To Juice Cleanse?

organic-green-smoothie

To juice cleanse or not to juice cleanse, that is the question. It has become very popular for people of all ages to consider participating in a multi-day “juice cleanse” or juice detox. It isn’t a new fad, in fact many people in the eighty’s embraced juicing and exercise as a lifestyle. Though in the past few years, juicing and juice cleanses have become very lucrative.

So Should You Juice Cleanse?

Whether you juice at home or buy juice at a local juice bar, there is no shortage of people, companies and products trying to share juicing products. With a variety of curable diseases taking the lives of millions of people worldwide, many have turned to juicing as a way to live healthier. Though there is currently no conclusive evidence that supports juicing as a proven successful method of curing any disease, many believe and have experienced the healthful benefits of juicing.

For many, juicing organic vegetables and fruits that are rich in nutrients can support the body when toxic symptoms appear. Many minerals found in fresh juice products are assimilated by the body and can replenish deficient minerals in organs that work really hard to filter out toxic matter. The organs that play an important role in filtering toxins that enter the body through food, air and water sources would include the lungs, kidneys, skin and intestines. These organs play an essential role in keeping our bodily systems clean. Their job is to remove toxic substances or at the very least, prevent toxic substances from overloading other intricate body systems.

Won’t My Body Get Rid Of “Toxins” On Its Own?

Nutrition and overall vitality can be depleted each day by the average lifestyle, average stress levels and average eating habits. There is a need to restore the body with essential nutrients that can be easily found in the variety of ingredients used to make fresh juices. Sure the lungs, liver and gastrointestinal tract are all designed to help the body stay alive and in balance. However, stress and eating habits are the two main protagonists that can compromise the healthy generation of cells. This builds the foundation for the case to participate in a juice cleanse.

However, juice cleansing isn’t for everyone. There is a science to it and it can cause more problems than it solves for some people. Some people need fiber, and juice cleansing doesn’t provide much per serving. Also, some juices contain too much fruit sugar and can elevate blood sugar levels. Just be cautious and do research to find out what is best for your health and well being.

If You Decide Juicing Is For You…

Some of the ideal ingredients to use in juicing recipes for supporting the organs of detoxification include lettuce, dark green kale, carrots, beet greens, cilantro, parsley, celery sticks, spinach, dandelion greens, cabbage both purple and green and lemons. Other vegetables that add a variety of nutrients and flavor are roots including burdock, ginger, daikon and turmeric. Many of these ingredients have been known to contain properties that may help reduce inflammation and boost immunity.

Remember to have a solid, well thought out reason for juicing. It isn’t for everyone, all the time. Many people juice for a week once a quarter. Some juice every day. Find what works for you and your family.

Part 2/2: What and When to Eat After You Exercise

fitness1

To get the maximum post workout effect, you should eat within 30 minutes to two hours after working out. During this window, your muscles are starving for nutrients and are the most receptive to accepting calories. But just what should eat, when should you eat it and how much?

While it can vary from person to person, generally you should strive to replace 50% of the calories you burned during your workout. These calories should breakdown into the three macronutrients as:

  • 60% carbohydrates
  • 25% protein
  • 15% fat (or less)

Carbohydrates

This is one of the few times it is recommended that you should eat simple carbohydrates. Eating a banana or raisins or drinking orange juice immediately after exercising gets replacement glycogen and glucose to your muscles quickly. For a carbohydrate/protein combo effect, mix in some protein powder in your orange juice.

Then within one to two hours after working out, eat some complex carbohydrates; these calories will help repair the damage done to your muscles during your workout and help to build new muscle. A moderate intensity workout requires eating 30-40 grams of carbohydrates for each hour of exercise; for high intensity routines, you should eat 50-60 grams.

Some good after-workout complex carbohydrates include:

  • oatmeal
  • brown rice
  • whole grains
  • all fruits and vegetables.

Protein

Eating protein after exercising stops your body from further breaking down muscle tissue that occurs during a workout. It also begins the process of rebuilding and repairing muscles so they are ready for your next workout. In general, consume about 10-15 grams of lean protein post-workout. Good sources include:

  • whey or soy protein mix
  • chicken
  • eggs
  • fish
  • Fat

Since eating fat post-workout really does not help you at all, the caution is to not eat too much of it; in excess, it can derail your weight or fitness goal. Most people only need 10 grams or less, so if you are eating good sources of protein and carbohydrates, your fat consumption should be naturally low and within range. If you do ingest some fat as part of your post-workout meal, make sure it is the unsaturated type and not saturated or trans.

Water

Lastly, throughout the course of a workout, you are losing water through breathing and sweating. One of the first things you should do after a workout is rehydrating yourself. Drinking water not only helps rehydrate your body, but it also helps lubricate muscles, regulate body temperature and promote digestion of your after workout meal.

If you exercise at a moderate level, you can expect to lose about one quart of water per hour of exercise. If you sweat profusely or exercise outside in hot/humid weather, then increase your water consumption to one and a half quarts per hour of exercise. Another way to calculate your rehydration need is to weigh before and after a workout; you should drink 20 ounces of water for each pound of weight lost.

By knowing when and what to eat post-workout, you can get the most benefit from your exercise regimen.

Part 1/2 : What and When to Eat Before You Start Exercising

cereal-meal

Without fail, our body needs fuel to get us through a workout; to get it, our body has to metabolize glycogen to create energy. But, the glycogen it uses is already in our muscles does not come from anything we eat just prior to a workout. Most of us have enough glycogen in our muscles already to fuel a one to two hour intense, or a three to four hour moderate, workout.

However, if you feel tired, experience mild dizziness, or even some faintness while exercising, you may have a greater sensitivity to a drop in blood sugar that normally occurs 15-20 minutes into a workout. If so, then it might be advantageous for you to eat something before exercising.

To get some pre-workout calories into your system, try either of these eating tips:

  • eat a snack 30 minutes before working out.
  • eat a nutritionally balanced meal one to 2 hours before working out.

The goal is to avoid exercising on either an empty or full stomach, yet have the energy we need to fuel us through a workout.

The Snack

Certain foods are better than others at providing the pre-workout energy boost that some of us need. Strive to keep your healthy snack at 100 to 200 calories. Some great fast-digesting simple carbohydrate choices include:

  • fresh fruit, like pineapple, apricots, banana or watermelon.
  • a sports drink.
  • a fruit smoothie.
  • an energy bar.

Or try cutting up some fresh fruit, such as strawberries and mixing it with non-fat vanilla yogurt. Add some granola on top (for the crunch factor) and you have a great healthy snack what will fuel you through your upcoming workout.

The Meal

The goal here is to consume about 50% of the number of calories you will burn during your upcoming workout. At least half of these calories should come from complex carbohydrates to keep your blood sugar and energy levels stable during your workout. The other half should come from protein and fat at about a 35%:15% ratio respectively.

Some good meal choices are:

  • Oatmeal
  • Cereals (with more than 3 grams of fiber) and milk
  • Trail mix with nuts and dried fruit
  • Hummus and raw veggies
  • Hard boiled eggs (or egg whites)
  • Cottage cheese and fruit
  • Half a peanut butter or turkey/chicken sandwich on whole grain bread
  • Whole grain crackers with nut butter or cheese
  • Whole grain fig or date cookies

By eating complex carbohydrates, protein and fat at the recommended ratio, you will have energy to fuel your body through the upcoming workout.

Timing Is Key

Remember you don’t want to exercise either on a full or empty stomach, but you want enough energy available to get you through a good workout and to get your body in a fat-burning mode. And finally, hydration is important, as it will make your workout easier and more effective. Before working out, try to drink at least two 8 ounces glasses of water one to 2 hours prior to your workout.

 

 

Could Juicing Be The Next Fountain Of Youth?

berries

Nobody wants to age, it just happens. For some, it happens gracefully. For many, there are health challenges that rear their ugly heads. At almost every stage of life, it can be a struggle to add fresh fruits and vegetables at meals. However juicing for health can at the very least diminish the negative effects of poor eating for every member of the family.

What Kinds Of Fruits and Veggies Are Beneficial For The Youth and the Anti-Aging Seekers?

Juicing is a great and fun way to get nutrition into the bodies of growing children and elders to ensure good nutrition for their body’s age appropriate needs. Many elders enjoy the taste of fresh juices and many are easy to digest. Elders may also enjoy juicing because it is a great way to consume abundant sources of nutrients very easily. Young children also enjoy the taste of fresh juices and many will prefer fresh juice more than boxed and pre-packaged juices. This is great for their growing bones. For both, drinking green juices that are high in calcium will be essential for bone strength. The trick is to find or create recipes that are pleasant to drink, are also refreshing and are packed with replenishing nutrition.

Fruit, including papaya and pineapple are all really good for providing digestive enzymes and vitamins. Many vegetables also contain some protein and amino acids, and antioxidants, which are essential during the aging years.

Namely, berries, roots and green leafy vegetables are packed with anti aging and vital nutrients, so try to use these types of fruits and veggies when considering juicing for the aging. Antioxidants and substances that neutralize the free radicals in the system ideally provide the body with what it needs to slow the aging process so make sure to find recipes that embrace these types of fruits and veggies.

Changing the juices and providing a variety is definitely an attractive feature for children and they would be fascinated with the colors and tastes reflected in the variety. Once family members pick their favorite juices, serving them as often as possible without getting bored will be beneficial in many ways. Using the favorite juice as a base, may also make it possible to add on a little portion of other fruits or vegetables to further enhance the nutrient content of the juice. You can also add a basic juices to a smoothie for increased nutrition in blended drinks.

Which Juice Is Best?

Brightly colored fruits and vegetables are especially beneficial for anti aging because of their high antioxidant levels. Some popular choices may include apple juice, pineapple and carrot juice, orange juice, orange and carrot juice, pear juice and apple and grape juice, but these are fruit juices, known to have higher sugar content than vegetable juices. Try combining fruits and vegetables together with a focus on less sweet vegetables including lettuces, kale, wheatgrass, cucumbers and celery. Experiment with what your family likes but keep it balanced and you’ll keep the family excited about juicing too.

The Eight Advantages of Juicing

juices

Maybe the time has come to invest in a juicer and though there are many opinions about the benefits of juicing, personal results vary. On one side, some medical professionals have advised adding fresh foods, and plant based high water content foods daily. Many agree, adding juices can be a healthy and beneficial habit. On the other side, some scientists have not concluded whether juicing provides direct health benefits. It is best to do independent research and find the facts independently, but definitely consult your family’s medical practitioner.

There is plenty of evidence to support the fact that consuming a primarily plant based diet helps diminish symptoms related to high cholesterol, obesity and other degenerative diseases and there are many people who have included a healthy habit of juicing and have experienced some life altering results. So, it comes down to these 8 commonly experienced advantages that keep people juicing or adding juice to a daily or weekly diet.

1. Juicing makes nutrients more readily available. During the growing process, plants assimilate the nutrients before they get consumed making many of the nutrients more available for absorption in the digestive track. Try juicing fruits and vegetables that are organic and that have been washed completely.

2. Juicing can be an effective way to distribute essential nutrients without putting any added stress on the digestive system from processed foods. Try replacing processed foods once a day or once a week to get the advantages of juicing.

3. Juicing is a great way to overcome any dislike for eating raw, whole fruits and vegetables. For some, combining vegetables by juicing them can make consuming them more enjoyable. Try different recipes starting with common ingredients and slowly incorporating more complex flavors or nutrition.

4. Juicing allows for menu creativity. Combining local and seasonal foods can make juices very nutritious and delicious. Visit your local farmers market or health food store to see what is in season. Mix and match ingredients and recipes to plan weekly menus around local, seasonal flavors. Try keeping seasonal veggies together when juicing, it will pack a nutritional punch.

5. Juices made fresh and consumed immediately contain essential enzymes that processed or pasteurized juices do not. Many agree that fresh is best. It’s just not always convenient. Try to create a habit of consuming fresh juice products that keep the essential enzymes alive long enough to benefit the body’s systems.

6. Juicing at home can be more economically feasible and safer than buying juice. Pre-packaged juices go through many processes that risk oxidation and contamination and can be expensive as a daily or weekly habit. Juicing at home can be less expensive and ensures quality control, so keeping appliances and surfaces clean is essential.

7. Juicing adds versatility to a daily menu. It is normal to desire a variety of flavors and nutrients so eating the same thing each day can not only be boring, but can cause some mineral deficiencies in some people. Try a variety of recipes and ingredients that suit your nutritional needs and taste preference.

8. Juicing organic, non-gmo fruits and vegetables can contain fewer chemicals and pathogens than conventionally grown fruits and vegetables. Reducing the intake of additional hidden GMO’s and unknown chemicals by juicing local and organic produce can be very advantageous.

So, there are the 8 basic advantages of juicing. It’s not only a way to increase the daily nutritional intake of vitamins, minerals and enzymes, it’s also a way to save a little money, and add variety without GMO’s and pesticides.

Green Tea and Its Potential Effects On Weight Loss

green tea

 

If you want to lose weight then you can’t avoid hearing about how good green tea is for you. But is there any truth to all the hype? As a matter of fact, there is. There have been a number of studies done on the effects that green tea consumption has on weight loss. Here’s a guide to the facts you need to know.

Studies on Green Tea and Weight Loss

In one study involving 132 participants, it was found that those in the control group lost less weight compared to the participants who were given a beverage containing high amounts of the main active compound of green tea called catechin. In the same study, participants drinking the catechin-rich beverage lost more abdominal fat as well. However, in this study, participants were also asked to partake in more than 3 hours of exercise a week as part of the study, which only shows that green tea accelerates weight loss in those who are physically active.

There have also been other studies that show that green tea consumption on a regular basis can boost metabolism and help the body burn up to 100 extra calories a day. It is also thought that the catechin in green tea can help improve endurance during exercise, making it easier to get more from your workout.

How Green Tea Can Help You

Because of these studies, it is safe to say that it’s likely that if you drink a few cups of green tea a day, you may help speed up your weight loss. However, this does not mean that green tea is a magic drink that gives you a free pass to eat whatever you want. A 100-calorie deficit is not a lot, and overeating will only result in weight gain, not weight loss. The best way to use green tea to help your weight loss is therefore to use it as a supplement to a low-calorie diet and frequent exercise.

Green tea is not just a weight loss tool; it has been shown to reduce cholesterol levels and can also be a great aid in relaxation. If you are going to drink it frequently though, be sure to not drink it too close to bedtime; some people are sensitive even to small amounts of caffeine and this can result in insomnia. Other than this, there are no side effects to the consumption of green tea and you can take in as much as you want of this almost zero-calorie beverage.