Something I haven’t told you about yet: I stopped drinking Diet Coke. Yeah, I know, I used to be the biggest Diet Coke head on the planet, absolutely having a Pavlovian response to the siren call of a 32 oz bubbly bucket of pure caffeinated cancer. But then after years of reading how artificial sweeteners make you crave sugar and how the citric acid kills your teeth and also, WHAT IS IN DIET COKE? Where are the fields of waiving Diet Coke ingredients, I ask you? My little hippy head was all conflicted. Oh, and I also had a polyp in my stomach that had to be removed and guess what I had to stop drinking completely? Otherwise face the pain. THE PAIN.
Also, there’s the little fact that I have on more than one occasion fainted while drinking Diet Coke. Something about the carbonation and my weird vasovagal syncope blah blah medical science.
So instead, I’ve been rocking the unsweetened iced tea, the occasional Sobe fake Life Water things (I really love the Black and Blueberry flavor, even though I have hardcore eco-guilt about what a waste the packaging is) and–here’s the shameful confession–sugar free Kool-Aid. It’s bad, people. I have started to order it by the case from Amazon because we go through it so fast that I was getting irritated spending $20 a grocery trip on Kool-Aid.
Hi, I’m almost 40 and I’m still getting a huge percentage of my daily water intake from something that is bright red and has the words “tropical punch” emblazoned on the front of its container.
So, the Crystal Light people sent me a small package of many Crystal Light On The Go Pure Fitness Grape, 7-Count Boxes of their new Pure Fitness drink mixes. In grape. I must give you a caveat right now: I find grape to be the least awesome of the “powdered drank” oeuvre. It’s actually a point of contention in the Casa Bix household, because Esteban is on Team Grape whereas I classify it as “Break Glass In Case Of Emergency” after all things red have been consumed. Crystal Light was taking a big chance here with this grape business.
This particular product claims to have no artificial sweeteners, flavors or preservatives. Can you say that, Sugar Free Kool-Aid? Can you? No, I didn’t think so. And looking at the ingredients, they are absolutely right about the flavors: even the purple color comes from purple carrot extract and dried hibiscus flower. The other bonus is that Crystal Light has packaged Pure Fitness with some electrolytes and potassium, which is a bit like making your flavored drink with Glaceau’s Smart Water (something I’ve always wanted to do but can’t bring myself to be that wasteful since Smart Water is kind of stupidly expensive for WATER). Honestly, “electrolytes” are just a tiny pinch of salt or baking soda per gallons of water, though, so I always think the electrolyte thing is kind of a gimmick, especially if you’re eating enough salt from other sources. I might be wrong about that, though, as again, not a scientist.
The biggest eyebrow raise for me with Crystal Light’s Pure Fitness was the claim of no artificial sweeteners. Sure enough, the light sweet taste comes from cane juice and sugar but also Truvia. There’s some discussion about whether Truvia can actually be considered a natural sweetener, but chances are if you are cruising the grocery aisles looking for brightly colored stuff to dump into your 16 ounce bottles of water, you care more about the fact that one packet has a teensy 15 calories per serving (30 calories per PACKET, remember) than the origins of Truvia’s claims. And since it’s from stevia, that seems to be a pretty harmless sweetener in general.
Tastewise, Crystal Light Pure Fitness was actually pretty good, quenchy in a LifeWater way with the grape not being too in your face. I would say that this is tastier than Crystal Light’s other offerings and I feel a little better about the ingredients of this particular option than I do my hardcore Sugar-Free Kool-Aid addiction. So there’s that.
Anyway, I give Crystal Light Pure Fitness a tentative thumbs up. It’s better than regular Crystal Light, isn’t full of super scary ingredients and I would be willing to try flavors other than grape on my own dime. Probably not the grape though, but it’s not you, Crystal Light, it’s all me.