Just because you are in the holiday spirit, doesn’t mean that the spirits and other beverages you enjoy should be ruining your health.  As you get ready to celebrate Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanzaa & The New Year (as well as any other holiday we might be missing) we want you to follow our Rich Food, Poor Food Holiday Beverages Guidelines.

If you haven’t read our best-selling book Rich Food, Poor Food yet, this is how we define a RICH FOOD and a POOR FOOD.

Rich Food Poor Food


When we were young, we both remember the excitement of pretending we were all grown up at holiday get-togethers by toasting with sparkling apple juice and sipping on Shirley Temples. Well, now that we know better about the importance of food quality, when it comes to preparing holiday libations for our nephews and nieces we make sure to follow our Rich Food, Poor Food Holiday Beverage guidelines.  This way they don’t miss out on the excitement of holiday festivities, and we can do our part to lower their sugar and toxic pesticide exposure, while greatly reducing the likelihood of temper tantrums caused by sugar crashes. Now that’s what we call a “win, win!”

A Rich Food – Non- Alcoholic Champagne

Kids and adults love the pop of the Champagne cork. However, when it comes to Champagne toast children (as well as some adults) opt for a non-alcoholic sparkling apple juice.  BUT BEWARE! Most apples fall into the Poor Food category these days. First, apples are one of just a few fruits that are genetically modified, so choosing organic apples or in this case, an organic sparkling apple juice is important to make sure you aren’t serving GMO juice.  Additionally, according to the USDA Pesticide Data Program, apples are the most heavily sprayed fruit. In fact, apples are sprayed with up to 42 different pesticides, and these pesticides can cause hormone disruption, cancer, and nerve and reproductive damage. So choosing an organic sparkling cider is extremely important.  

Our RICH FOOD Picks: Val de France, Martinellis

Time to give Shirley Temple a Makeover – Swap the Soda

SO, WHAT IS SO WRONG WITH SODA? Let’s see . . . oh, everything! While we could go on for pages on the sins of soda, we will spare you. Instead, here are our top ten reasons to avoid soda:

  1. Sugar: (EMD- Everyday Micronutrient Depleter) Sugar can cause chromium and copper deficiencies, block the absorption of calcium and magnesium, and compete with vitamin C for receptor sites on white blood cells. When vitamin C enters those receptor sites, it can help build a strong immune system. However, when sugar supersedes, it restricts vitamin C from entering, and the immune system can be greatly compromised.  And if that’s not bad enough, most sugar is now made from genetically modified sugar beets.
  2. HFCS: (EMD- Everyday Micronutrient Depleter)
  3. Caramel color and other counterfeit colors: possible carcinogens and may cause hyperactivity in children.
  4. Artificial flavors: MSG alert
  5. Phosphoric Acid (EMD): Increasing the excretion of calcium
  6. Sodium Benzoate: Possible carcinogen
  7. Brominate Vegetable Oil: BVO acts as an emulsifier in soda and sports beverages, preventing the flavoring from separating and floating to the surface. BVO is banned in more than one hundred countries.
  8. Artificial Sweeteners: Scientific data suggests that they can be just as detrimental to your health as sugar.
  9. Calcium disodium EDTA: mineral leaching EMD
  10.  High levels of acid (citric, tartaric, malic etc.):  Erodes tooth enamel.

This is far from a complete list, but soda is the epitome of a Poor Food. Soda doesn’t provide any nutrition, and what’s worse, it actually leaves you more micronutrient depleted when you are done drinking it.

A Shirley Temple Rich Food Makeover

First you have to find a healthy soda – and this is not easy! Start with our RICH FOOD PICK: Zevia brand sodas (free of phosphoric acid, sugar and coloring) and add in a few drops of Cherry Stevia drops.


Wine, Beer, and Spirits

Going organic is important when it comes to wine, beer and Spirits too. Just like the apple juice and sugar in the little one’s libations, the ingredients used to make adult beverages such as grapes and genetically modified wheat or corn are also heavily spayed with toxic herbicides and pesticides. That is why, when it comes to choosing the wine, beer, and spirits, you’ll be serving at your next party, it’s time to start doing a little investigative work to find out what organic brands are available at your local grocery/liquor store. And for gathering outside the home look for organic selections at your favorite restaurants and sports bars too. We think you will be surprised by the selection you have to choose from.

For wine, the key is to find organic or biodynamic wines, which are similar to organic, but also take into account things such as astrological influences and lunar cycles. This will protect you from all the potentially dangerous synthetic chemicals and added sulfites found in conventional wine.

Our RICH FOOD Picks for Wine: Hall Wines (highly rated and delicious), Bonterra organic wines, Frey organic wines, Handley Cellars, Dry Farm wines, Domaine Carneros wines and sparkling wines (our favorite organic champagne!) 

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For beer drinkers, you have a whole world of adventure awaiting you. We want you to not only go organic, but also gluten-free! Yes, this will likely mean changing beers, but remember, change is good. There are so many great organic, gluten-free beers on the market now that you should have no problem at all finding a new favorite.  

Our RICH FOOD Picks for Beer: Redbridge organic, gluten-free beer; Green’s Discovery organic, gluten-free beer

Lastly, for you spirit lovers, your mission is to find an organic vodka, gin, rum, whiskey, cognac, or tequila. This, again, will likely mean a switch from your favorite brand, but the benefits of avoiding GMOs and toxic residue from synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides in your alcoholic beverages will yield huge health dividends over time. Steer clear of sweet liqueurs, such as Frangelico or Baileys, as these are filled with sugar. Also, make sure any cocktails you order are made only with fresh lime, lemon, or olive juices—no syrups; Rose’s lime juice; or neon blue, red, or green stuff! Additionally, skip the sodas and juice mixers and stick with ordering your drinks either on the rocks (ice only) or with flat or sparkling water. When out, we like to order vodka sodas and then top them off with a few Stevita vanilla drops that Mira carries in her purse.   

Our RICH FOOD Picks for Spirits: Ocean Organic vodka, Purity Organic vodka, Prairie organic gin and vodka, 4 Copas Organic tequila


Don’t let dessert drinks be your downfall. No more serving Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts coffee; we want you to really make the effort to find organic coffee or tea. Why? Even with the antioxidant benefits that coffee and tea can deliver, coffee may be the most heavily chemically treated food commodity in the world, and according to a 2014 report by Greenpeace, tea isn’t far behind. The report examined tea being grown by some of the leading brands—including Tetley, Lipton, and Twinings—and found a total of 34 different pesticide/insecticide residues in packaged tea purchased from the market, including 23 that were not even registered for use in the cultivation of tea, including DDT. Researchers stated that practically all the samples contained residues of at least one pesticide and more than half of them contained “cocktails” of more than 10 different pesticides, with one sample containing 20 different pesticides. Of these samples, 60 percent contained residues above the Maximum Residue Levels (MRL) set by the EU, with almost 40 percent of the tea samples exceeding the MRL levels by more than 50 percent. Choosing organic coffee and tea over conventional options protects you from the long- term toxic effects of these micronutrient-depleting pesticides/insecticides, and it also reduces the global use of synthetic, petroleum-based fertilizers commonly used in coffee production that can destroy soil fertility and contaminate local water supplies. Believe us grandma doesn’t want to be drinking this stuff!

And don’t stop with organic – go the extra mile and look for coffee and tea with the “fair trade” label and coffee that has been “shade grown.” The fair trade label requires a certification process, and it indicates that the laborers received fair wages for their hard work. While fair trade coffee and tea may be a bit more expensive, isn’t it worth it to know that you are supporting fair wages for workers in developing countries? Additionally, coffee trees naturally grow in the shade of a dense rain forest. To increase productivity and keep up with the growing demand for coffee, nearly 70 percent of the world’s coffee production now comes from sun-resistant coffee tree hybrids. This can lead to deforestation as growers make way for more sun-resistant coffee trees. Most quality organic coffee is shade grown, which is just another good reason to go organic!

Our RICH FOOD Picks for Coffee and Tea:  Camano Island organic coffee, Publix GreenWise Market organic coffee, Caffe Sanora Organic coffees, Arbor Teas, Guayaki organic unsweetened yerba mate

So there you have it! Our RICH FOOD Beverage Guidelines to help you serve health, delicious beverages to your friends and family this holiday season.