With temperatures rising steadily in England as we are heading into the summer months, and my workouts getting sweatier than ever as a result, it seems the perfect time to take a closer look at my hydration strategy.
I am one of those people who has to constantly keep reminding herself to drink water. I have to admit that I am not a huge fan of its taste, but I know it is good for me as I feel more energetic during the day, my skin looks nicer, and most importantly, my running performance is always better when I am well-hydrated. I keep a water bottle on my desk at work and I drink as much as I can, as a healthier alternative to endless cups of caffeinated hot drinks, sugar filled fizzy drinks or calorie-dense sports drinks.
However, there is only so much water one can drink day in, day out, and let’s face it, no one wants to drink gallons of hot herbal teas in this weather! Luckily, I met Just Bee Drinks at the Health and Bloggers Summit in April 2017, where I was first introduced to their products.
Who are Just Bee Drinks?
Their range consists of all natural, fruit infused spring water drinks with a single drop of honey, so there is no added sugar or artificial nasties. Their honey comes from nectar collected in meadows, gardens, trees and farmland and has traces of dandelion, hawthorn, chestnut, lime and other assorted wild flowers, which produces a lovely mild and mellow flavour.
All products have been developed by a British bee keeper family who are also very passionate about supporting the honeybees which play a vital role in our wider enviroment but are in decline. We exchanged contact details at the event, and a few weeks later, they sent me some product samples to try and review on my blog.
Our bee-patterened table cloth happens to be the perfect background for photographing this gift-box!
How do Just Bee Drinks compare to other flavoured waters?
I have to admit, I was a bit sceptical at first. Flavoured waters are a really popular choice at this time of the year amongst health conscious people – the stats speak for themselves: apparently, flavoured water now accounts for about 30% of all bottled water sales by volume in the UK. Many of these flavoured waters come in bottles that emphasize the ‘spring water’ content, often accompanied by pictures of ripe fresh fruit, so they do appear to be a healthy choice. However, as in all cases, if you are health-conscious, you should always read the nutrition label very carefully – some flavoured waters are actually loaded with more sugar than some fizzy drinks and others are packed with artificial sweeteners.
Furtunately, I have found Just Bee Drinks to be positively different. The drinks are currently available in 3 delicious flavours – Blueberry, Lemon & Green Tea and Apple & Ginger, which are best consumed cold. They come between 43 – 49 kcals per 330ml carton (in total, 12-13 grams of carbs) – to put this into perspective, this is similar to the calorie content in a big apple. I have to admit that I would struggle to choose a favourite flavour – I like the Blueberry one for its subtle sweetness, I enjoy the gentle zestiness in the Lemon and Green Tea one and the refreshing combination of the Apple and Ginger flavour (although personally I would prefer to have a bit more gingery taste to it). Most importantly, all the flavours are subtle and light, so they are truly refreshing. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for more flavour combinations in the future – for example, watermelon and honey, or papaya and honey would be a very nice together!
What are the benefits of honey in sports nutrition?
The winning ingredient in all drinks is honey – I could not help but do some research about the benefits of honey in sports nutrition. I have come across a really interesting article in the Runners World magazine, written by Alice Palmer: “Studies at the University of Memphis Exercise and Sports Nutrition Laboratory confirm that honey is one of the most effective forms of carbohydrate to eat just before exercise. Further studies have discovered that as a sporting fuel, honey performs on a par with glucose – the sugar in most commercial energy gels (…) In fact, honey was even used by runners in the Olympic Games in ancient Greece as an energy source.(…) To maintain the body’s glycogen stores in endurance events, most runners require 30-60g of carbohydrate per hour. A tablespoon of honey contains 17g of carbohydrate – so two to three tablespoons every hour should keep your glycogen stores topped up”
Taking honey on your runs would most likely be a rather messy affair, so I would probably stick to neatly packaged energy gels. However, based on these findings, it sounds like a carton of Just Bee honey water could be a great addition to your hydration strategy during and even after a longer run, as an alternative to plain water which provides no energy boost, or sports drinks which are often loaded with preservatives, artificial sweeteners and colourings. Perhaps in the future Just Bee Drinks could venture into making sports performance drinks or gels for endurance athletes with increased honey content?
Summer drink recipe ideas with Just Bee Honey Water
The three flavours nicely lend themselves to summery drinks recipes – with my creative hat on, I have created the following recipes using Just Bee drinks as a base. I hope you will find these refreshing on hotter days!
Eenie, meenie, miney, moe..
Kiwi, Lemon and Green Tea Sherbet
In a blender, whizz up the following ingredients, until smooth:-
- 1/2 frozen banana
- Handful of frozen kiwi slices
- 330 ml Lemon and Green tea flavoured Just Bee drink
- A handful of fresh mint
Decorate the top with the remaining kiwi slices and mint leaves; serve with a few ice cubes.
Apple and Ginger Fruit Cooler
Pour 2 x 330 ml ice-cold Apple & Ginger flavoured Just Bee drink into a tall jug. Add choopped pieces of sweet apples, orange peel and cucumber slices for a lighter, non-alcoholic alternative to Pimms, perfect for parties!
Blueberry Pomegranate Lemonade
Blend 2 x 330 ml Blueberry flavoured Just Bee drink, juice from one small lemon and a handful of pomegranate seeds in a blender, until smooth. Pour the liquid over a sieve to remove any hard pieces from the pomegranate, if necessary.
Place a handful of frozen blueberries, strawberries and some ice into the bottom of a tall jug. Pour the liquid over the fruit and serve.
If this has tickled your tastebuds and got you buzzing with excitement, you can purchase Just Bee drinks online and in many premium and health food retailers across the UK, including Sainsburys, Waitrose, Boots, Holland & Barrett. By purchasing Just Bee drinks, you will also support the welfare of bees – Just Bee Drinks donate 10% of all their profit to Friends of the Honeybee, a charity set up by the British Bee Keeper Association. You can also get a free, bee-friendly packet of wildflower seeds through the Just Bee Drinks website, to help save more bees.
What is your favourite way to stay cool and hydrated during the summer months?