One of the challenges of following a Bright Line Eating lifestyle is finding acceptable Bright Line Eating beverages. After all, if you struggle with obesity, chances are that you tend to drink a lot of sweetened beverages (natural and/or artificial sweeteners). And, as you probably know by now, Bright Line Eaters do not use sweeteners of any kind. (You can find a semi-exhaustive list of sweeteners to avoid here: What Kind of Sugars or Sweeteners are Allowed?)
But with so many of our standard drink options containing sugars and artificial sweeteners, it can be challenging to find approved Bright Line Eating beverages. So let’s take a look at how you can find some appropriate choices so that you can find some options that are both compliant and enjoyable.
What to Avoid
First, let’s review the items to avoid. Although they can be part of a healthy diet, Bright Line Eating does not allow juices or smoothies. The problem with smoothies and juices is that the sugars and the fibers get separated when blended or juiced. This leads to a more intense sugar spike than you would get by eating the fruit and veggies whole. This can be counterproductive when you’re trying to overcome a sugar addiction.
The other beverage not allowed is alcohol. Alcohol is a triple threat. It is largely sugar on a chemical level so it can feed your sugar addiction. It can also be the source of a lot of empty calories. But alcohol is also, well alcohol. And as we all know, alcohol tends to lower inhibition and will power. Consuming it has the potential to lower your resistance and can make it more difficult for you to stay within your bright lines.
So what should you drink instead? Here are some better options.
Black coffee is an acceptable and wonderful drink option. But I get it. If you usually drink coffee with cream and/or sugar, the idea of black coffee can sound bland or even a bit gross. That was certainly my situation. My wife has always had her coffee black and anytime I tried it I couldn’t comprehend how she could drink something so bitter.
But that is the beauty of Bright Line Eating. As you retrain your brain away from sugar and sweeteners, your tastes begin to change. You can begin to enjoy things that you never enjoyed before – like black coffee.
This is now my beverage of choice (I’m sipping some as I write this). I love the smell and taste. The caffeine can also help to suppress appetite which I found especially helpful during my initial days of the Bright Line Eating boot camp.
However, do be careful with the amount of coffee or caffeinated beverages you are consuming. Caffeine is addictive and too much could interfere with your recovery from sugar and food addiction. Also, too much caffeine can make it difficult to get a good night’s sleep and a healthy amount of sleep can make it easier to stick to your bright lines.
(For Dr. Susan Peirce Thompson’s official position and warnings about coffee checkout this article: Are Tea and Coffee Okay?)
Tea is a wonderful option for anyone doing Bright Line Eating. There are so many varieties that you’re bound to find a few you love. And tea is a fabulous source of antioxidants which means drinking it may actually make you healthier than drinking water alone.
Just like with coffee, tea may be something for which you develop a deeper appreciation for as you eliminate the sugar. And, like coffee, you have both caffeinated and decaffeinated varieties from which to choose.
Now if you’ve never been a big tea fan, it may be because you have never tried loose leaf tea before. The bagged tea we buy (especially here in the States) tends to be stale, tea dust without much flavor.
Loose leaf tea, on the other hand, tends to be fresh and full of flavor and aroma. It does tend to be more expensive than the bagged variety. But it may be well worth the investment to help you develop a healthy habit that is both enjoyable and helps you lose weight.
Another great option for Bright Line Eating beverages is flavored water. And the great news is that this category at the grocery store has really taken off so you have lots of options from which to choose.
But do be careful. Just because the flavored water has zero calories does not mean that it is a compliant Bright Line Eating beverage. Many of these drinks are still adding natural or artificial sweeteners so check the list of ingredients before making any purchase.
And you always have the option to add a bit of flavor to your own water as well. A slice of lemon or lime to your water can add just enough splash of flavor to make it a bit more refreshing and easier to drink. Other options include cucumbers, strawberries or watermelon. Just be sure you’re adding a splash of flavor and not juice.
Yes, milk is an acceptable beverage. However, milk is to be treated as a protein on the Bright Line Eating food plan. This means that a full serving of milk will be consumed instead of an alternate protein source such as lentils, yogurt, eggs or chicken. So I tend to avoid milk altogether since a glass of milk will do little to fight hunger compared to most of the other protein options.
That being said, some people do add a portion of milk into their morning tea or coffee and then reduce their other protein option accordingly. This splitting of the protein can be a good option if you just can’t stomach the thought of tea or coffee without a splash of milk. (For protein portions based on gender and weight loss phase, see the food plan info in the book, Bright Line Eating).
Although it can be challenging to avoid sugar and sweeteners in many of today’s beverages, there are still some enjoyable drinks from which to choose. By finding an acceptable Bright Line Eating beverage (or two) that you enjoy, you will be more likely to stick to your bright lines and will be on your way to meeting your weight loss goals.
UPDATE: Here are 17 More Bright Line Eating Drink Ideas.