Just because you're not drinking alcohol (or soda, or milky coffee drinks, or artificially sweetened juices) on Whole30 does not mean you are doomed to a monotonous month of tap water and weak, unsweetened tea.
The world is large! The possibilities vast! While it is undeniably true that Whole30 will somewhat limit your beverage selections, it is also true that there are still tons of distinctly non-depressing options, ranging from exceedingly basic to reasonably festive.
Truly the beverage of the gods, sparkling water is everything that is glorious about regular water, only with bite. While LaCroix is by far the trendiest option, and also the only seltzer brand with an explicit partnership with Whole30, I have nothing but good things to say about Deer Park, Adirondack, Canada Dry, the Whole Foods house brand, or the results of a SodaStream.
There is a reason LaCroix is having a moment right now: It is delicious and deeply satisfying, and happens to come in a million (okay, 12) different flavors, which offer a subtle, gentle mist of taste. Craving booze? I hear you, and may I recommend a LaCroix?
2. Infused Water
This sounds dull, but if you have ever been to a spa or a fancy salon or a swanky hotel lobby, you know just how delightful infused water can be. Basically, it is water that has had something flavored sitting in it for some amount of time — cucumbers, oranges, lemons, cinnamon, mint, berries, or even jalapeños.
Tip: For a fun combo of numbers one (seltzer) and two (infused water), add whole-fruit ice cubes to your seltzer water to turn it into glamorous water. (Yes, that's a technical term.) The very short recipe: freeze unsweetened, fresh-squeezed or blended fruits in an ice cube tray; add them to a glass of sparkling water. (This is also a great way to use up any fruit that's overripe and not great for eating.) Here is some inspiration.
3. Fruit and Vegetable Juice
So, fruit and vegetable juice is technically allowed, as long as it's unsweetened and not artificially flavored. You basically have to make it yourself and, even then, it's not really recommended because you're not really supposed to drink things you can eat. But, hey, if you're dying and your options are a glass of wine or some carrot juice, go for the juice.
4. Coconut Water
The official Whole30 verdict on coconut water? It's fine, as long as it doesn't have added sugars (added fruit juice is fine; as always, read your labels.) In addition to being (arguably) rather tasty — I have yet to succumb to its charms, but it is more than likely I just haven't stumbled upon my brand yet — it's a popular choice for post-workout rehydration. That said, the Mayo Clinic isn't necessarily convinced.
5. Hot or Iced Tea
Tea is a world unto itself, and the vast majority of it fits the program. Drink it hot! Drink it cold! Drink it with lemon! Keep a pitcher of it in the fridge and a thermos of it in your bag! Truly, the sky is the limit, as long as you keep an eye on the labels: While most tea is fine, some tea does have hidden contraband, like soy lecithin or stevia.
6. Hot or Iced Coffee
No surprise here, but worth mentioning nonetheless. Coffee is fine, but milk, cream, and sugar are not. If you can't bear taking it black, try adding some nutpods — a non-dairy, Whole30-approved coconut-based half-and-half alternative. You can also add homemade, unsweetened almond milk.
7. Almond Milk
Speaking of almond milk, it's allowed! Kinda! Ideally, you're making your own (without sweetener) because most commercial options have sugar. If you do buy some, look for the compliant brand New Barn Unsweetened. And again, it's not suggested to drink foods you can eat, so you really should just eat almonds and consider the other beverages on this list. Same goes for cashew milk.
The guidelines for this fizzy, fermented, tangy tea drink are … complicated. Some kombucha is okay; some kombucha is not okay. The rules are not entirely consistent, as Melissa Hartwig has extensively documented here.
It is a tangled web of issues, but it distills down to this: Homemade kombucha is okay, if you don't add any sugar after the fermentation process. Store-bought kombucha is also okay, as long as sugar is not on the ingredient list (this is true even though sugar was definitely used during the fermentation process). Store-bought kombucha is even okay if you see fruit juice.
The one time kombucha is not okay: If there's any type of sugar on the ingredient list. Still confused? If you're not sure how to pick a kombucha at the store, opt for GT's — it's officially approved by the Whole30 team.
Okay, your turn. Tell us: What are you drinking to get through your Whole30?
30 Days of Whole30: We're kicking 2017 off with 30 days of Whole30. Why Whole30? It's not a permanent diet; it's not a prescription for eating. It's just 30 days of eating whole foods and exploring a more purposeful, mindful approach to food. Read more here on what Whole30 is and how to follow along.