Category Archives: Reviews

“Zevia” Soda Review: Guilt-free, Fizzy Goodness

I drink a lot of soda, and have for a long time.  I didn’t become wary of the negative dietary implications of so much empty-calorie sugar intake until I entered my twenties, and I have gone through some stretches where I have cut back on my daily intake.  But I have always enjoyed the fizzy sweet goodness of a cold cola, and needless to say it has proven to be a hard habit to break.  And, since this is America, maybe I don’t want to.

I have tried diet sodas before, but none have been good enough in terms of taste to really become a regular thing.  Plus, on top of not tasting all that great, there is the concern of possible health implications involved with the artificial sweeteners used in diet drinks, especially aspartame.  Whether that popular diet soda ingredient does any harm may be debatable, but I tend to want to avoid it just as a precaution.  So when I first heard of Zevia a few years back, I was very eager to try it.

Zevia is a zero-calorie soda that is made with stevia, an all-natural sweetener that is derived from a plant.  I have tried stevia before as a sweetener for tea, and very much enjoyed the taste.  Still, I hadn’t gotten around to trying Zevia until just recently, because it’s not exactly easy to find.  I tried visiting a couple of supermarkets to no avail, so I ended up ordering two cases from Amazon – one of the regular Cola flavor, and the other a rainbow pack with assorted varieties, including Black Cherry, Dr. Zevia (presumably Zevia’s version of Dr. Pepper) and Mountain Zevia (akin to Mountain Dew,) to name a few.

Zevia Soda Can

When I first tried the cola, I couldn’t quite place the taste of it.  It tasted a little like a Diet Coke, and it was clearly evident that what I was drinking wasn’t a regular soda loaded with high fructose corn syrup.  But it didn’t have the nasty aftertaste or strong bite that I experience with Diet Coke (and other diet colas.)  It is quite fizzy, so you do get the pleasant carbonation to be expected with a good soda.  In terms of texture, it goes down lighter than a regular soda, without feeling syrupy, which becomes a bonus if you are the type that drinks a few sodas a day.

Don’t get me wrong.  Zevia tastes much better than Diet Coke or any other diet cola that I have tried.  It’s definitely not as sweet as a regular soda, and I wouldn’t say that I actually prefer it to a regular soda, strictly in terms of taste.  But, since I don’t want to end up looking like a manatee, and realize that multiple cans of regular soda can’t be included in my daily beverage intake if I am to feel like I am living a remotely healthy lifestyle, Zevia definitely tastes good enough to fill that void and deliver the satisfaction and refreshment that I have come to expect from soda.  I was also quite impressed with the wide variety of flavors that Zevia offers.  Black Cherry, Mountain Zevia, Ginger Root Beer and Orange were all quite good.  So if you want something other than cola, you are sure to find something that works for you.

The only negative with Zevia is the price point.  At $4.99 for a six-pack, it’s pretty expensive.  I follow their Facebook page, which offers coupons from time to time, to lessen the blow.  It’s definitely something that is worth the time and effort involved with finding a good deal.  But if you are a regular soda drinker that is concerned with excessive sugar intake and are either displeased with the taste or diet sodas or the health risks involved with artificial sweeteners, I would definitely recommend giving Zevia a try.

Keep Calm, And Drink “Kalm With Kava”

Anyone who is familiar with drinking kava knows about the kava dilemma.  On one hand, kava is one of the few herbal anti-anxiety, anti-stress remedies legally available that actually works.  The catch is that it is really only effective when it is made into a drink and consumed that way, or maybe chewed.  The added catch is that it tastes pretty nasty.  Sure, some users try to get around this by using capsules, but taking it in that manner has never worked for me.  Has something to do with how the active ingredients are absorbed in the body’s mucous membranes.

So, in order to achieve the desired relaxation effects, you’re stuck with having to chug something that can really best be described as tasting like sour dirt.  And first of all, in order to prepare kava for drinking, you have to take the dried root and strain it into water or another liquid, which gets to be messy and time consuming.

Enter “Kalm With Kava,” from Monsoon Beverages, LLC.  It is available as a tropical-flavored kava drink in pre-mixed servings, or as a concentrated kava drink  that you can add to water or whatever liquid you choose.  The ingredients also list California Poppy and L-Theanine.  For this review, I ordered the concentrated product, which is recommended to be mixed with water at a 1:7 ratio (one ounce of the concentrate to 7 ounces of water.)

Kalm With Kava concentrate.
Kalm With Kava concentrate.

I mixed about 1.5 ounces of the bright red/pinkish colored liquid with about 8 ounces of ice water.  Took a swig, and was very pleased to find that this is one kava drink that actually tastes good.  It is a mix of fruity flavors, but you still get that familiar kava taste as you drink it, just so you know what you’re getting.  Somehow, the makers of this product have found fruit flavors that actually complement the kava bite quite well, making it very tolerable and not something that you have to force down.  And after several minutes, I began to feel the mild effects of kava kicking in.  Not overwhelming by any stretch of the imagination, but then again, you can make the drink as strong as you would like, really.  Kava pros might want their drinks a little stronger than the recommended ratio, but there’s enough in each 10 ounce bottle to make at least a few decently strong kava drinks.

At $20 for 10 ounces, Kalm With Kava is not particularly cheap, but it’s not exorbitantly priced either.  I had to add $10 for shipping as well.  I plan on ordering more, and will probably get a larger quantity to minimize the shipping percentage of my order.  It definitely works as a substitute for alcohol when you want to sip on something to relax, but it will take a few servings to feel substantially “rooted.”  But, perhaps more importantly, it finally offers up a way to pleasurably attain kava’s relaxing effects, without any mess or hassle.  Definitely worth a try.

Naturespace Ambience App For iOS, Android And Windows

If you’re looking for an ambient sound application to escape into another world at the click of a button, look no further than the Naturespace app, which is available for Apple, Android and Windows devices. This app delivers crystal clear, seamless loops of binaural audio, to create a wide variety of 3D audio environments.

What sets this app apart from other similar ambience apps out there is that the audio is holophonic, which is a special way of recording binaural audio to generate a 3D soundscape. You really feel as if you are immersed into a new, different world when you listen through high-quality headphones. The app also has headphone optimization, which increases the 3D effect, depending on the type of earbuds or headphones you are using.

From rushing river sounds to quiet, lonely fields, to the dramatic crash of ocean waves, Naturespace offers a very wide variety of ambient environments to match whatever mood you are seeking to enhance. The soundscapes are recorded in the field at actual locations in nature, for an extremely authentic feel. You can purchase the different loops in special bundles or individually for a few bucks each.

You can use this app for meditation or to set a relaxing mood in your home, to block out noise from your external surroundings, to enhance concentration, or just to escape and get “back to nature” in an instant. If you are into ambient sounds and haven’t tried this app yet, I highly recommend it!

Photo credit – www.pixabay.com – 7854