The hot summer days are upon us, so it's time to think of fun and healthy ways to stay hydrated. This pineapple lemonade sweetened with fresh stevia is a refreshing and cooling drink for those hot summer days by the pool. Add a dose of your favorite alcohol beverage and you have your own happy hour!
I love it when the seasons change and all of a sudden I start craving things that I wasn't eating or drinking before. This is nature's way of keeping things interesting. With a few exceptions of people in my life that are absolutely okay with eating the same things over and over, I would say that most of us like to change up the menu once in a while, and clearly the weather condition has a profound affect on these "cravings" per se.
For instance, I can go through the whole winter drinking only water and lemon water (first thing in the morning as a natural cleanser) tea, coffee and occasionally a ginger Kombucha... aw, did I mentioned coffee? With summer approaching and the warmer days already here, my body has switched to craving all the delicious citrus and fruity drinks, and I will be honest, even the sugary stuff 🙁 Hey, as long as I recognize my cravings I can fix the problem!
Can I fix the (sugar) problem?
Sugar is an addiction that I believe is affecting most of us humans, thanks to the big box food companies, who have made it impossible for us to completely avoid the white stuff. While I am in no place to judge others choices and decisions nor am I fighting the food war, I can certainly advocate for what I believe is a healthier compromise.
Sugar is Sugar! Maybe... I am no expert in the subject but I do believe that eating closer to the source and carefully selecting our choices, adding a dose of balance and common sense, we can still enjoy a few of our favorite drinks, sweets and treats without harmfully affecting our health.
The great solution...
Now that I am craving all these delicious juices, cocktail and fancy beverages to cool off this summer, a common concern for me is the excess sugar that are often found in these drinks. But let's not be discouraged, as there are so many choices of natural sweeteners to use, such as honey, maple syrup and agave. I also like to use dried fruits as a natural sweetener whenever I am making things like no-bake energy bites.
What I am really excited to tell you is about my most recent addition to my herb garden, a Stevia plant! I actually didn't know much about them but come to find out, stevia is largely grown in Brazil and have been used for centuries. I was at a gardeners fair when a friend recommended that I take a bite of the leaf... WOW, that stuff is sweet! In fact stevia is hundreds of times sweeter than sugar with no calories!
I couldn't get in my kitchen soon enough to start making some delicious fruity drinks with fresh stevia. So I made this incredibly tasty and refreshing pineapple lemonade and have since then used it in my smoothies and tea.
Ask your local nursery or community garden about purchasing a stevia plant. They are small perennials much like an herb. They like sun, light and loamy soil. Keep flower pinched to encourage more leaves and enjoy this natural sweetener in your favorite drinks!
For a delicious morning drink try this Strawberry Sweetheart Smoothie 🙂
Ninja Professional Blender
- Add the pineapple, water, stevia and juice from lemons (not the actual lemons) to a blender cup and blend for 1-2 minutes or until the pineapple has completely broken down into juice, in another words, no chunks left.
- Pass the juice and pulp through a strainer into a large jar or juice bottle. Use a spoon to move the pulp so the juice can pass through quickly and easily.
- Serve immediately with ice or store in the fridge for up to 4 days.