Saturday, September 15, 2007

Corn syrup bad! Iced tea good!

Lately I've been in one of my health food fits. I find out about a certain toxin, find out it's going to kill me or everyone else, and do my best to avoid it for at least a week. Or a day. I don't always have the best follow through. Reducing my intake of bottled water was the one thing I've been able to stick with. My latest obsession is High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS).

I posted a few months ago about the high cost of cheap food. In the time that HFCS has been used (about the past 25 years) obesity has nearly doubled. Childhood obesity has nearly tripled. Is there a relationship greater than this to blame? Maybe average family wealth, or availability of other cheap eats? The correlation was enough for me to pause anyway. The old adage, "don't eat what you can't pronounce" keeps coming to mind. While I can pronounce it, it still sounds pretty non-foodlike if you ask me.

It came to a head a few weeks ago between a post (linked below) and a search for two products -- iced tea, and relish. I could go back further and say it started years ago with former Rum & Coke die-hards claiming "I can't even drink them anymore, ever since Coke stopped being made with sugar." This is how I realized that there's a difference between sugar and the other "-ose"s. Jones Soda was the first I heard say "we're bringing back that sweet sweet cane", and others have followed too, where it's affordable. Boylans, maybe? Some of the boutique-y brands have done it.

So I was looking for some iced tea for DW a few weeks ago, and paid $1 for a massive can of arizona iced tea. I thought this was too inexpensive for a beverage that large, but I got it anyway. Once home, I snuck a sip and nearly gagged. It tasted like actual syrup, let alone corn syrup. Thick and slimey, it was the anti-refreshment. Blech. It seemed that most iced teas were stocked with HFCS, not just arizona. So what did I do? Bought a box of 88 tea bags, got out some white sugar (I'll go back to sugar in the raw or turbinado when I run out), and some lemon juice, and played chemistry lab in my kitchen. The result? A refreshing, decaf, natural, easy and delicious Iced tea, with no junk in it. And since I rarely provide useful things I haven't stolen borrowed from other people, here's my killer iced tea recipe:

Columbia's Garbage-Free Iced Tea
32 oz Water
4 tea bags (using tetley, decaf here)
5 Tbsp sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice

Large: (the one I make now)
9 cups water (some may boil off)
8 tea bags
1/2 cup sugar (a little less than double, but still a nice sweet)
2 tbsp lemon juice

Super Tough Instructions:
boil water in a pot big enough, then turn off heat.
steep tea bags for five minutes then remove.
stir in other stuff until it dissolves
stick in a pitcher and refrigerate.

Yeah, it's a tough one alright. Makes a super beverage. Play with the ingredients if you want (sugar levels, adding mint or other flavors, etc), this is just a nice simple lemon iced tea. And doesn't break the bank either.

As for the relish, who knew you can't find relish made without HFCS in fairway?? Even upstairs? My mom found some with splenda, but I'm not sure about that stuff. I do use it in coffee, but I have accepted the fact that it will eventually make my hair fall out and make me wear white pants after labor day, but I say one fight at a time.

Splenda, you sly yellow bag of lies -- your days in my temple are numbered.

Link: High Fructose Corn Syrup Epidemic [keetsa]