Wednesday, 14 October 2015

SodaStream Power

The last time I remember hearing about SodaStream I was a child in the 80’s and my parents used to have one in the kitchen. It was this big and bulky plastic looking machine that took up a corner of the workspace and used to make terrifying noises when it carbonated (if memory serves correctly, not very nice) drinks. So I was surprised when I got an email recently telling me about the new SodaStreamPower and saw the sleek and streamlined design. No longer made out of that orangey plastic that everything in the 80’s was made out, it now looks like a cool gadget that fits in perfectly with a modern kitchen (and the black matches my kitchen perfectly). 

The challenge was to swap coffee, fruit juice and fizzy drinks for two weeks and see what effect it would have on my skin and energy levels. Before I started I calculated that I wasn’t drinking enough water, I should be drinking around 2 litres a day and on a good day I am only normally drinking about 1.3 litres. Like 52% of Brits most of that comes from coffee and tea so I dread to think how much sugar I am consuming through drinks alone.

Day one and I swiftly realised that there is not a hope in hell that I am not going to be able to have a coffee, in fact I think I lasted all of 10 minutes before the alluring smell from the freshly brewed cafeteria my husband had just made breaks me. So I widen the goal posts a bit and decide to limit myself to two cups only, which cuts my coffee intake by half. I also decide to wean myself off two sugars to only one. I’m still standing by not having my usual fizzy drink midway through the day.

My first thoughts on the new SodaStream is that it is really easy to use, simply fill the contained bottle up with cold water and then slide under the nozzle. There are three different levels of carbonation, level one gives it a gentle fizz where level three gives it the same level of fizz as you would get with a can of drink. I have never been one for plain fizzy water so I decide to flavour my drinks throughout the two-week period with frozen lemon and lime slices. Not only does it make the water nice and chilled for the surprisingly hot days we have had recently but also gives a refreshing taste that isn’t over powering.

Unsurprisingly the first few days of my experiment resulted in many more trips to the bathroom but I take this as a good sign that that my body is being flushed of all its toxins. I did get a mild headache for the first few days but think this is down to the reduced amount of caffeine and sugar. My energy levels didn’t dip too much but I certainly felt the effect of not having my afternoon caffeine pick me up, I replaced my midday can of coke with a banana, less exciting but much better for me.

At the weekend I got very excited when I realise that I can replace the tonic from my gin and tonic with the fizzy water and have it taste exactly the same. I also use some of the water in a white wine spritzer and the effect is not that dissimilar to having a prosecco. I also have a play around with the flavourings that you can add to the water; orange slices, cucumber slices, crushed pomegranate seeds, mango pulp. I found that all of these work best frozen and that also means you get to keep the fruit as fresh as possible. I did experiment with banana but there is a reason why you don’t really find many banana flavour drinks - it did not taste good. Obviously you can get a number of different juices from SodaStream in supermarkets; they do a zero range (no sugars or calories) as well as a classics range, which includes cola and Dr Pete. I tried the passion fruits mango from the fruits range and really loved it, the flavour was on par with any canned drink and you can reduce the amount of syrup you use to suit your taste. I can find drinks like Fanta a bit too sweet at times so it is nice to be able to make it to your taste.

Anyway back to the experiment. The first week I didn’t feel too much of a difference, I think this was because my body was still trying to figure out what was going on and readjust to my new routine. By the second week however it was obvious how much better I felt. There was much less of a sense of having to ‘top up’ my energy levels with coffee or caffeine and more of a steady balancing out of energy throughout the day. I even started to sleep better, which helped to contribute to the reduction of dark circles under my eyes, a physical improvement the experiment made. For me the most visible effect was on one of the days near the end of the two weeks when I ended up staying at work much later then planned and broke my coffee limit and didn’t drink nearly as much water as I had been. I ended the day with a severe headache and body aches that saw me go straight to bed after a hot bath.

The experiment has taught me a few things:

1) I drank too much coffee and really needed to cut down so I am keeping up with the two-cup limit and now only have one sugar
2) I didn’t drink enough water for my body to function at its best so will continue to drink the recommended 2 litres a day

3) SodaStream has successfully turned from being a childhood memory to a present day necessity.