10 Local Healthy Summer Drinks You Have To Try – Coho Market
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10 Local Healthy Summer Drinks You Have To Try

Story: Tara Lee is a freelance food writer and unapologetic glutton whose work is found in the likes of MonteCristo Magazine, The Georgia Straight, Eat Magazine, The Vancouver Sun, and CBC Radio. 

It’s a hot summer’s day, and you reach for a cool and refreshing drink to quench your thirst. It’s cooling, not too sweet, and best of all, the flavours taste all natural. Curious, you pick up the bottle and look at the label and you’re surprised that you can understand all the ingredients on the label. And even better, this super-refreshing summer drink is made locally.

With drinks making up nearly 20% of most people’s caloric intake, it’s incredibly important to make conscious and informed decisions about beverages. Many popular drinks contain tons of sugar or high fructose corn syrup, as well as artificial flavours and preservatives, but they provide little in the way of nutritional value.

As a result, if you’re drinking something other than water, an ingredient list is key to deciding whether a drink is good for you. Basically, you want a beverage that is low in calories, has little to no added sugars, and uses flavours derived from all-natural ingredients. And ideally, the drink should offer nutritional benefits instead of just empty calories.

Where to Buy Healthy Summer Drinks

(Source: Green Healthy Cooking) 

It’s not always super easy to find a healthy, locally-made refreshing drink for summer since they often can’t be found at your average, big-box supermarket. Instead, you want to seek out online and brick-and-mortar retailers who prioritize fresh, healthy, high-quality products that actively work to form relationships with small businesses in their area.

In Vancouver, these would include SPUD, Legends Haul, Be Fresh Local Market, Choices Markets, and Greens Organic, and Natural Market.

In addition, farmers markets are great places to buy locally-made drinks and chat with vendors to find out more about their ingredients and their artisanal production methods.

Types of Healthy Summer Drinks

Healthy summer beverages fall roughly into three categories, the first being those that use fresh fruits and vegetables and other plant-based ingredients to add flavour to drinks like infused water. The second are iced tea and sometimes coffee-based beverages that aim to be low in sugar and caffeine while maximizing health benefits, like detoxification and improved energy. 

And finally, fermented drinks, like kombucha and kefir, contain probiotics, which can aid with your gut health, and many nutrients with rejuvenating health effects. 

Healthy Summer Drinks Made in B.C.

To get you started, here are 10 local beverages that inspire healthy sipping on your patio or out in the woods during summer parties with family and friends:

1. Fig Lemonade

Produced by Vancouver’s True NOSH Company, this Fig Lemonade is disarmingly simple. It contains only figs, whole monk fruit, fresh lemon juice and water with no added sugars or preservatives. 

After losing her father to diabetes, founder and registered dietician Renée Chan, committed herself to making food and drink products that are wholesome while still incredibly satisfying. This beverage is a healthy twist on the sugary version you often find at lemonade stands.

2. Farming Karma Fruit Co. Sodas

(Source: Farming Karma)

This healthy alternative to regular soft drinks contains the goodness of freshly squeezed, sustainable Okanagan fruit, such as apples, peaches, and cherries, with no artificial ingredients or colouring. The business is run by Karma Gill and his wife Kuku, who have spent three decades as tree-fruit farmers in B.C. 's interior, and their children, Avi, Binny, and Sumeet. 

The name of the company also refers to the family’s belief in “doing good” through their products and contributions to the local community. If you visit their orchard in Kelowna, you’ll be able to sample the super refreshing sodas in the tasting room and view the production process, which the family wants to make as transparent as possible.

3. Truly Turmeric Juice Blends

(Source: Kula Kitchen) 
Mother-daughter dynamic duo Umeeda and Nareena Switlo have created a Vancouver business with a mission to source sustainably and equitably in a way that directly supports farmers. Their Truly Turmeric Juice Blends feature turmeric as well as black pepper and limes from small-scale Belizean producers who engage in sustainable agricultural practices. 

You can try four flavours, depending on what your palate is calling for: ginger; hibiscus cinnamon; mint; and pineapple, mango, and carrot. The blend with steeped mint would be a particularly refreshing drink while relaxing solo on a warm day or to bring along and share at summer parties, and also contains the health-boosting benefits of ginger and turmeric.

4. Hibisberry

This 100% plant-based drink originates from Nigeria and is made from dried hibiscus flowers, pineapple, and spices like cloves, cinnamon, and ginger. Similar versions of this traditional and refreshing drink figure in Caribbean, Mexican, and Senegalese food culture. A small amount of organic maple syrup is added to balance the flavours of the beverage. 

Vancouver-based VanSuya produces the hibisberry in two flavours — ginger and pineapple — making it ideal for pairing with spicy food. VanSuya is all about sharing authentic Nigerian cuisine in a way that is joyous, healthy and super easy to enjoy.

5. Thrive Remedies Organic Wellness Teas

Brewed in the Fraser Valley, these super refreshing iced teas showcase the flavours of organic tea and adaptogens, which are plants or herbs that naturally help your body combat stress. Thrive Remedies donates a percentage of their yearly sales to a local charity, and is committed to sourcing locally and organically.

Drinks are named according to desired wellness effects, with the “Calm,” for example, containing ingredients like organic chamomile tea, hibiscus, and rose hips that will aid you in feeling more peaceful.

6. Shang Tisanes

If you’re looking for a fizzy, refreshing summer drink without the usual calories and additives, Vancouver’s Shang Beverage Company offers sparkling herbal teas that contain zero caffeine, calories, and sweeteners. You can choose between berry, hibiscus, or lemon ginger, for a flavourful sparkling beverage that you can enjoy guilt free.

7. Squamish Water Kefir

(Source: Squamish Water Kefir)
Water kefir transforms grains of kefir culture into a fermented beverage that is rich in probiotics, vitamins, and amino acids. The Squamish company’s two-step fermentation process leaves a little sugar in the drink, with the remainder fermented. Their sparkling water kefir comes in 100% natural flavours, lemon ginger and blood orange, which are light, nutrient rich, and super refreshing. 

Owners Sabrina Horlyck and Kristin Campbell, who started the business from Sabrina’s kitchen, see the water kefir as an extension of their love of the natural world, their family and friends, and their Squamish community. 

8.The Hygge Brand Drinks

The spirit of “Hygge,” a Danish term that embodies comfort and well-being, infuses everything that this Vancouver-based company creates. The Hygge Brand specializes in two types of time-honoured fermentation drinks, kombucha and jun, a Japanese beverage that uses green and white teas, water, and honey.

By brewing in small batches and only sourcing fair trade, organic, and non-GMO ingredients, the company ensures that their drinks have a light and balanced flavour profile while also providing plenty of nurturing health effects. Their four flavours, Valkyrie’s Blend, Elder’s Elixir, Golden Elixir, and Freja’s Choice, are wondrous fermented concoctions that reflect a deep attention to process and ingredients.

The Golden Elixir, for example, starts with fermented yerba mate tea before golden berries, chamomile and calendula are added, with the drink being finished with hints of cloves and cinnamon. The finished Elixir would be incredibly relaxing on a leisurely summer’s day or equally invigorating at summer parties.

9. Craft Wilder Kombucha

(Source: Craft Wilder)

You can’t get more local than Craft Wilder Kombucha, which incorporates foraged roots, flowers, and fruit into its fermented drinks. The Chilliwack company practices regenerative harvesting, making sure not to take more than 1% annually from a given area.

Flavours are seasonal and include Canadian ginseng wild apple, as well as yellow cedar. Craft Wilder carefully controls their organic black tea ferment so that it is just slightly tangy, without carbonation.

10. Tality Kombucha

Hailing from Vancouver’s North Shore, Tality Kombucha offers drinks that reflect their core values of real ingredients, community, and sustainability. The first value means that Tality only uses whole, organic, and real ingredients, like fresh fruit and organic tea, to create pure flavour in their kombucha. The company cultivates community by partnering with small merchants and cafes to create locally specific flavours as well as participating in events that further a sense of community.

In addition, Tality minimizes their environmental footprint by sourcing from local producers like Olera Farms in Abbotsford, by practising extensive recycling, and by donating 1% of their proceeds to a local environmental organization. They have developed a loyal following for their classic flavours like ginger and raspberry sage, while they continue to add playful seasonal flavours to their roster, like a tangy cherry vanilla.

Why Should You Support Local? 

These local beverage makers prove that it’s super easy to enjoy a wide array of cool and refreshing summer beverages and feel good about the ingredients within. Ultimately, what these drinks and their producers all have in common is a belief in real food, in the local community, and in the benefits of healthy living. Explore locally-made products on our online shop Coho Market, we've got healthy summer drinks and food abound! 

Source for “What Are Healthy Summer Drinks?” section: Dr. Joseph Vassalotti, “Healthy Drinks” from Nutrition, Fitness, and Mindfulness: An Evidence-Based Guide for Clinicians (2020)

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