When I was a kid, Kool-Aid was a daily requirement. I loved making it, drinking it and freezing it into especially refreshing ice cubes and popsicles. Why mess with water when you could indulge in flavors like Grape and Cherry and still feel refreshed? At least that's how I used to think. And maybe that's why I had so many cavities as a kid.
I can't tell you the last time I drank Kool-Aid, but I'll never forget the cool, refreshing way it went down the hatch. Nowadays, I guzzle water like it's nobody's business. So much so that sometimes I have to force it down because I get so bored with it. When I hit the grocery store, I always walk down the drink mix aisle hoping to find something that'll give it a boost. I look longingly at the packets of Kool-Aid, but reach instead for boxes of on-the-go mixes from the likes of Crystal Light and Country Time. But I never put them in my cart. They are filled with artificial sweeteners that scare both me and my digestive system. (Does anyone else have a problem digesting artificial sweeteners? Maybe it's just me.)
When I saw an ad for Crystal Light's new line of PureFitness drink mixes, I was instantly intrigued. But when I hit the grocery store, I walked away from them unsure of whether or not I'd be a fan. And then I got this at the SELF Workout:
A free sample. Grape, of course. And I also managed to snag a Lemon Lime and Strawberry Kiwi. All of which lack artificial sweeteners, flavors and preservatives. One serving has but 15 calories, three carbs and three sugars—but that fact is a bit deceiving because one packet contains two servings. And you are instructed to dump the entire thing into one 16-ounce water bottle. For tasting purposes, I elected to make an official single serving using eight ounces of water and some ice.
For starters, it definitely smells like two things: Grape Kool-Aid and Grāpples. And it tastes fairly decent, too! Sweet, but not gross-you-out sweet. This I credit to the lack of artificial sweeteners. Instead, the sweetness comes from rebiana which Wikipedia says is a derivative of Stevia (a plant-based sugar substitute you've probably seen at the grocery store). Another thing I must mention—this mix contains electrolytes that "aid hydration when you consume one packet during light physical activity."
I don't know much about electrolytes, though I see them called out on a lot of drink labels. WebMD states that sodium, potassium and magnesium are some common electrolytes, and that we lose electrolytes during workouts because they're in our sweat. I also learned that electrolytes are very closely associated with water intake because they help regulate fluid levels in our body. Obviously our body can regulate fluids naturally since we always have a supply of electrolytes within, but as we push it to work harder, it doesn't hurt to help it out in an effort to avoid dehydration.
Though you have to be careful about how you're helping it out. I'm always in favor of doing it naturally, and I'm not a dietitian so I can't really say whether this mix fully fits into that thinking. But I can say this: I'd rather drink water enhanced with Crystal Light PureFitness than a gigantic, over-sized bottle of Gatorade any day.
I typically shy away from Lemon-Lime drinks because they always seem to remind me of household cleaners. Not that I drink household cleaners, but for some reason Lemon-Lime drinks always taste a bit chemical to me. Such is not the case with Crystal Light PureFitness Lemon-Lime drink mix. I found it to be extremely refreshing and definitely worthy of my water bottle.