We mentioned here how we came across Herbal Water and now we’re going to take you straight to the source and find out just how it was invented and why it’s so good for you.
Read below for an exclusive interview with Dr. Ayala Laufer-Cahana M.D.
Dr. Ayala is a pediatrician and medical genetics researcher based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She says she’s been making herbal water for years because she practices what she preaches.
“I have been telling parents they should stay away from sugary drinks. I’m very much into cooking and entertaining, especially healthy cooking, I was making drinks for family and friends with herbs from my garden.”
Dr. Ayala says that everyone enjoyed her drinks and the way the flavors paired well with food, but once winter came along, herbs were limited due to the short growing season.
“Winter came and we had no more herbal water to pair with food.”
And that’s when the idea was born. Dr. Ayala decided to take her drink a step further and began marketing it in the summer of 2007.
“At some point I realized people really loved this, it’s really unusual.”
Dr. Ayala says she realized that there is a gap in the market because there really is nothing quite like it.
“There is no drink based only on herbs that has nothing in it besides herbs. When we looked into it more deeply we found a new category, a whole new realm of what taste can be and it really is the solution of how we can have taste without sacrifcing health and calories. It’s a zero calorie drink and in this age of the obesity crisis, moving away from sugary drinks is really important. Most people don’t find it that difficult to cut on calories from drinks. As a habit it’s probably the single best investment in your health to push away some or all of sugary drinks and replace it with something good for your with zero calories.”
According to Dr. Ayala Herbal Water is a drink based on culinary herbs and with a delightful complex and favor relying on nothing else.
“There are no additives, preservatives, or colors”.
So how does Dr. Ayala know which herbs work together and actually create a tasty beverage? She says the trick is to reach a combination where the herbs compliment each other and each one has a voice.
“I’ve been cooking and making beverages with herbs for many years so you know what’s going to work and what’s not. The experimentation is part of the fun, you try it and you balance it. I think right off the bat there are things I think wouldn’t work, but there is something about herbs, their mellowness and complexity that gives you a lot of possibilities”.
Currently Dr. Ayala’s herbal water comes in six flavors.
What’s surprising,but not unexpected, is that people from other countries were very receptive to her product right off the bat. Dr. Ayala credits that with the fact that they’ve been exposed to herbs.
“Some people when they hear lemon grass they have no idea what it will taste like. Many people have never tasted lemon verbena or thyme especially not in a drink and are surprised how easily they take to the drink.
Dr. Ayala says those who aren’t aware of herbs have to be educated because they’re only used to the flavors that come from things like orange juice or Coke.
Something that is quite refreshing about Dr. Ayala’s Herbal Water is not just its flavor, but the way it is being marketed. Most consumers are bombarded with products that tout all kinds of health benefits but Dr. Ayala says she’s not here to say her product is going to cure you of your ailments.
“Overall this new trend of functional foods and health cleanse is very confusing to the public. I think our food should come as much as possible from plant based food, that is the way to eat. It’s been proven over the years and all experts agree our food should be mostly plant based. Herbs are a good addition to our diet like fruits and vegetables, but I don’t go beyond that.”
If you ever wondered why people drink wine with their food, it’s often because it brings out the flavors and creates a whole experience. But now you don’t have to wonder any longer, because Herbal Water has the same ability to draw out the taste of your food and bring you a new way to enjoy your meal. Forget about snarfing down your meal and running out the door. Enjoy a cold glass of herbal water with your next dinner and you’ll see how much more pleasurable it can be.
Dr. Ayala’s tips for consuming herbal water?
“It tastes best cold. Herbal water is great on its own, but it also compliments food incredibly. most cooks know herbs have a way to bring out flavor in the food. Sweet drinks take away from the food. This is definitely a drink that compliments food in a great way.”
Are any flavors great with certain types of food?
“I’d rather leave it for my consumers to decide, but I can give a few guidelines. I find that its limiting to tell people what to do because I think people have a way of pairing things. I’ve heard people say that the cloves, cardamom and cinnamon goes great with steak and hearty meat dishes, while the lemon verbena is great with dessert”.
How can you get your hands on this product? If you’re in the U.S. or Canada you can find it pretty easily at local health food stores. Or you can order it online from herbalwater.com where they are offering free shipping in the U.S.