Tag Archives: mango minisyrup

The Holy Trinity of Junk Food: Chips, Pop and Chocolate Bars…

I refer to chips, pop and chocolate bars as the holy trinity of junk food. I made up this term to help people become more aware that these three ‘foods’ feed upon each other and can cause overeating. Chips can be addictive on their own with their salty crunch in small pieces you eat by the handful. Take a sip of sweet tasting pop with a touch of acidity in between and your taste buds reset for more salt, which is satisfied by more chips. Then, you want a little sweetness, so you reach for a chocolate bar. A person could easily cycle through the chips, pop and chocolate bar several times and barely register feeling full, as you are moving from one taste sensation to another. These are foods we like to eat for the taste and texture sensation they provide. The salty crunch of the chips, the effervescence of the pop and the creamy, sweetness of the chocolate bar.

Perhaps you do or do not eat the holy trinity of junk food together. I will confess here that I love potato chips, a bubbly drink and chocolate, but I don’t tend to eat all three of  them in the holy trinity format at once. I prefer to enjoy each of these foods separately. Sometimes, I have flavoured club soda with chips. My recommendation is to have high quality, real food that satisfies all the taste and texture sensations mentioned above.

Here is my recommendation list for the holy trinity of junk food, real food options:

For Chips: Try ‘fresh’ chips  (which have a short shelf life) such as the handcut potato chips at Leah’s 621 St Clair Avenue West www.leahs.ca or the brown bag potato chips at the Whole Foods www.wholefoodsmarket.com sandwich counter. Any freshly made chip you can get your hands on is a good choice.

For Pop: Try sparkling water with added flavour. A squeeze of lemon, lime or orange works well in bubbly water. For an extra burst of flavour try Minisyrup http://www.zavida.com/minisyrup, an unsweetened, natural flavouring product on its own or in addition to the squeeze of lemon, lime or orange for a healthy calorie free soda or pop. Natural minisyrup flavours are: grape, lemon, mango, pear, orange, raspberry, strawberry kiwi. Many testers have really enjoyed a mango lime soda just for the taste. ‘It’s like pop!’ has been the response and they have been pleasantly surprised that it was calorie free with no (artificial) sweetener.


Mixing a little real fruit juice with bubbly water also makes a great pop alternative. The San Pellegrino sodas are also a good choice, as they contain fruit juice and sugar. I discovered Bottlegreen soda while in the UK http://www.bottlegreendrinks.com/products/presses/sparkling-presse/

They are a delicious lower sugar soda. Their cordials mixed with bubbly water would also be a great pop alternative.

For chocolate: Try dark chocolate, which has less sugar. Stick with milk chocolate if that is what you prefer. I love Gallerie au Chocolat www.galerieauchocolat.ca, which is available at Whole Foods. Green and Blacks, Cocoa Camino are also great organic chocolate bars with interesting flavours. Lindt has a good variety of dark chocolate and is widely available.

You may find that you will be naturally inclined to eat less chips and chocolate if you have a less processed real food version. The lower sugar pop alternatives are also helpful in guiding your appetite. Please thoroughly enjoy your holy trinity of junk food in moderation, free of guilt.


Drink More Water: Ways to Make Water More Fun

With the fall season here, many of us are motivated to make healthy lifestyle changes. One of the most important health changing tasks we give our clients is ask them to drink enough water on a daily basis. The calculation we use is:

Your Weight in kilograms X 0.033=Daily Water Intake in Litres

More details here: http://www.vivianlaw.ca/fat-loss-tip-daily-water-intake-goal/

It is great to have a technical goal and a number to achieve. However, what actually happens in practice on a daily basis is more of a challenge. One challenge that I continually come across is ‘I don’t like plain water’. In fact, this piece is inspired by this question I came across on a UK website:

Q. I really don’t like drinking water but worry that drinking squash each day isn’t good for me?

I really appreciate the honesty of this question. Squash is a sweet beverage that is  made by diluting a concentrated syrup, which typically consists of concentrated juice and sugar with water or carbonated water. I can understand that preferring to drink squash and other beverages is a natural consequence to not liking water. Having everyone drinking all the water they need consistently is like a magic bullet that we need in the health and fitness world. However, we are all human and have our idiosyncratic behaviour.

I think that making drinking water more fun will help. Ideally, we would all drink all the water we need in plain water and herbal tea. Since that is unlikely, how about these ideas to help meet your daily water intake goal:

-herbal teas (loose leaf teas have better taste and higher nutritional value)

-low sodium club soda, sparkling water

-infuse water with lemon slices, lime slices, cucumber, herbs, or other fruits

-try warm water with a teaspoon of organic apple cider vinegar

-try adding orange blossom water to plain water for extra flavour

-try plain water or sparkling water with Minisyrup, a natural, concentrated, unsweetened flavouring product. See the story on how: http://www.vivianlaw.ca/healthy-drink-recipe-mango-lime-soda-with-minisyrup/

Natural flavour minisyrup is available in lemon, mango, orange, pear, raspberry, and strawberry kiwi. Order at https://www.zavida.com/minisyrup

For example, if you manage to drink 1/3-1/2 of your daily water intake goal in plain water and drink the rest in the form of the ideas above, you will get to your daily water intake goal faster. You can meet your daily water intake goal more easily by making some small efforts to make water more appealing and fun. Does that sound doable?

Healthy Drink Recipe: Mango Lime Soda with Minisyrup

This is a delicious, natural, calorie free beverage recipe that has a great story behind its origin. I was introduced to Minisyrup through a chance encounter at the Chicago airport earlier this year. Minisyrup is best described as a burst of flavour or a flavour enhancer, similar in concept to vanilla extract. Minisyrup flavours beverages with natural, concentrated flavour without any sugar or sweetener.

The recipe inspiration starts with the discovery of the summer drink of choice-grey goose orange and soda with lime…


With fresh lime juice as the key ingredient, I recalled how I learned about the incredible flavour this drink ingredient adds many years ago in my classic Mr Boston guide to cocktails.  This concept was brought back to me in the creation of the grey goose orange and soda with lime. Lime was the secret ingredient again, when a guest and I added Mango minisyrup to a vodka soda with lime, and created another great new drink . Vodka soda with lime and mango minisyrup was an outstanding cocktail, on par with the grey goose orange and soda with lime.  However, as much I as enjoy a cocktail, I saw great inspiration in the mango minisyrup as it packs so much flavour, and I saw many healthy applications for the product…

Club soda or sparkling water is a non alcoholic beverage that I tend to prefer over plain water at home or in restaurants. It seems like more fun than water with the bubbles.  A good friend and I had some club soda with lime and mango minisyrup with our final outdoor lunch of the season last week and found it to be a superb non alcoholic beverage. We felt this was a great discovery, as she is always looking for an enticing drink to serve her teen children when she is pouring wine or cocktails for the adults. We tested the mango lime soda on her teens and they loved it!

Here is the recipe, complete with photo inspiration from my young friend Francesca.

Fill a tall glass with club soda and ice. Add a squeeze of fresh lime and 2 pumps of Mango minisyrup. Enjoy!

Find and order Mango minisyrup at https://www.zavida.com/minisyrup/mango-minisyrup