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Kool Aid's mysterious side-effects
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Kool Aid's mysterious side-effects

When I drink Kool Aid, it turns my stool different colors, usually green. This happens after drinking different flavors, not just grape. Why does this happen?
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Welcome to the gastroenterology community! Kool Aid has a lot of artificial colors in it which is why it turns your stool different colors.  This is not dangerous (and it is not your body telling you that it isn't good for you) but I do agree with Butternut2 that artificial sweeteners and colors and other things like that should be avoided as much as possible.
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I actually agree with Butternut2.  Think about it:  What is Kool-Aid made of?  Is any of this stuff found in nature?  As someone who has sensitivities to this kind of thing, I can't drink the stuff myself without getting really sick.  There is something you can do for yourself that would be a terrific natural substitute if you want a similar flavor without the worry of all the unnatural artificial colors and flavorings, as drink mixes of this nature are nothing but weird chemicals.  Just because the FDA approves of something and says it is "safe" or "not dangerous" doesn't really make it so.  Just consider all the drug recalls and you can see why I would say this.  People are definitely better off avoiding pharmaceuticals to the greatest extent possible just for this reason alone.  This doesn't mean not using pharmaceuticals, it just means using some common sense and discretion and doing what is right for yourself.

Okay, for the natural substitute:  Go to any store that has a large selection of natural herbs and teas.  Some stores have a better selection than others.  Look for dried hibiscus flowers.  They are a dark red color.  In the winter, you can simply use hot water and choose to drink the tea (or for more correct terminology, tissane) either hot or cold.  So, if you are one who really likes the flavor of cold flavored drinks such as Kool-Aid, you can make a whole pitcher of hibiscus tea.  All you need to do is make it a few times to know how strong or weak you like the flavor.  You will get a similar experience to what you like about Kool-Aid without the guilt or the worry about what those unknown chemicals are doing to you.  Removing the stress and worry will definitely help you feel better, because stress is definitely a huge factor on your digestive health.  You can use as little or as much natural cane sugar as you wish--but, try it at least a couple of times without sugar or with the least amount of sugar as you can tolerate.  Too much sugar is definitely not good for your digestive health or your blood sugar levels.  So, less is definitely more.  There are multiple health issues that all of us need to consider when considering our sugar intake.  Digestive health is only one such health concern to consider.  Too much sugar wreaks havoc on the whole body.  So, do please do yourself a favor and take into consideration what I mentioned about the amount of sugar to include when making the hibiscus tea (tissane).

What was said about Splenda should most definitely be applied to all artificial sweeteners.  When considering artificial sweeteners, please avoid the chemical sweeteners, which is nearly all of them.  You will find sufficient information about all of them on Dr. Mercola's site.  There is also sufficient information on his site about how agave nectar is also a significant waste of your money as it is also so processed that it is actually not better for your health than the chemical artificial sweeteners.  As I know I just mentioned lightening up on the sugar intake, I will make mention about the one artificial sweetener that Dr. Mercola considers to be a far safer one and is one that he uses himself.  If you read up in his articles or watch any of his archived videos, you will see that at one time in his life he was significantly overweight himself and was at high risk for diabetes, so he totally understands what most of us experience in this regard.  The stevia herb is a great alternative.  If you can't get whole dried stevia herb, as you would have to go to a specialty place, such as a place that sells bulk medicinal herbs, in order to find it, the brand such as Sweet Leaf, which is one of the more widely available brands of stevia herb powder is a good one to try.  Stevia powder is not cheap, but a little bit goes a long way.  I don't like it so I don't use it, but many people do like it and do use it, as it is certainly far better than using the chemical artificial sweeteners and it is certainly better than taking in too much sugar.

I hope this alternative to drinking Kool-Aid and similar drink mixes will be an acceptable substitution for you.  I think you will like it.  Sometimes in the summer I will make sun tea with these dried hibiscus flowers.  I often do drink it without any sweetener, but I do sweeten it some of the time.  To me it has a similar flavor to fruit punch.  There are many tea and tissane blends that use hibiscus flowers that I think you will find worth trying as a wonderful alternative to drinking those chemical agents such as Kool-Aid.  You might think they appear expensive.  Looks are deceiving because a little goes a long way.  I also thought that giving you a suggestion that I know has worked for me would be a little more encouraging of an incentive to just ditch the Kool-Aid in favor of something that tastes wonderful and makes a great natural alternative.

I like blending hibiscus flowers and rose hips, too.  As I am sensitive to other natural things that are often in these tea blends, I make my own.  However, if you are not nearly so sensitive, you might really enjoy the various tea blends that have the green or black tea as the main ingredient or the dried citrus (usually orange) rinds.  They really do taste good.  And, these are actually not as expensive as they might appear.  An ounce by weight will have considerable bulk, so don't let those prices scare you off from giving some of those tea blends a try.  There are also some that use rooibos (red tea) which comes from Africa.  It has a similar flavor as real tea but it comes from an entirely different plant.  It is a good substitute for people who can't drink anything made from the tea plant (black, green, white--all the same plant at different stages of growth or processing).  According to Dr. Mercola, you would be better off with black tea unless you go for a specific Japanese variety of green tea.  I don't remember the specifics of the green tea he was talking about, other than his talking about how the majority of the green teas on the market actually have lead in them because of the way they are processed.  I didn't make any mental notes on the specific green tea that he said was the preferred kind, because I am allergic to the tea plant myself.  You would have to go his site to find out for sure which green tea is preferrable to get the specifics.  Because of how black tea is processed, it doesn't have the lead issues with it.  I do think, though, that you will find plenty of black tea blends in the bulk tea section to drink as a substitute to the drink mixes such as Kool-Aid that you will actually have a lot of fun.  Just be aware that black tea sometimes bothers people who have GERD, so you will want to try just a small amount at first until you know for sure how you are affected by black tea.

Anyway, I hope these more specific suggestions give you a little more encouragement to just ditch the chemical drink mixes in favor of these other choices.  Many of the tea blends actually taste great without any sweetener in them at all.  So, it would be a good idea to keep trying various ones to figure out which ones you enjoy without sweeteners, so you can avoid the excess sugars and can avoid the sweeteners as much as possible, too.  Even with the stevia, as Mercola himself talks about--less is more.
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