A Recycled Soda Post
Today is Tuesday-As-Friday for me…so here is a post I wrote a little over a year ago that got recognized by the WP powers-that-be. It was a very last-minute post, written after I had come out of the hospital and needing something to still be “in” NaBloPoMo 2012.
While I have cut back dramatically on the soft drinks since this was written, I could still use some improvement. Now is as good a time as any for me to recommit to becoming healthy-ish and not wait until January.
Tomorrow, I start the steps to say goodbye to a long-time companion. After 30+ years of being my go-to beverage, I will be cutting out diet soda from my life.
My motivation for this is simple: water is free and soft drinks are expensive.
Of course, there are health benefits involved with this change, even if they aren’t visible to me. But to be honest, even though I hate Splenda and HFCS, Nutrasweet/aspartame is one of those food chemicals that I paid little attention to. Sure, I could read the warnings on the drinks, but after starting out in my life with an occasional drink up to my current several-a-day habit, I figured I would keep taking my chances on the lab rat-carcinogen that gave me fizzy taste with no calories. It had to be better than smoking, right?
It started out innocently enough. If you had a parent in the house that was on a diet, it was expected they may have bought diet cola as an occasional treat for themselves and you could have one. When there was a field trip and you were told to bring two drinks wrapped in foil, that is what you got. Or, if your grandfather had diabetes, all sodas at his house were diet, from cola to ginger ale (to expand your horizons some). I got used to drinking the artificially sweetened stuff, but I also drank my milk like a good kid was supposed to do.
As I got older, I started to prefer to drink only the diet sodas when we could get them. Milk was now disgusting and I had always hated our well-water. I would use my lunch money to buy diet cola instead of actual food. Other than preferring the taste, the soda can itself became a way to announce “Hey! I’m on a diet!”. You know, just in case anyone thought I should be watching my weight besides me.
Over the years, I have tried to quit this habit. The cost of these drinks are phenomenal. I would alternate brands to match what was on the best sale that week. I would switch to store brands to try to wean off the taste and save a few bucks. But none of this really worked. It is my caffeine source, helping me wake up since I have never liked coffee or tea, and my replacement for sweets when I have a sugar craving.
There are a lot of tips and tricks out there on how to cut sodas out of your life in general. Here are the ones that I have tried and the results:
Try seltzer water with a splash of fruit juice–This one I have seen before in health and diet articles, but my darling son brought this suggestion to my attention during one of my times trying to quit before. Sounds yummy, right? Blech. Instant cotton mouth, with a fruity aftertaste.
Slice up fruits and put the pieces in ice cubes/into your water–Now, this option sounds nicer than the one above, but one little issue. I do not care too much for fruit, but I especially hate fruit flavored drinks. Unless they contain alcohol, but that doesn’t help this habit and unfortunately encourages a different habit instead.
Use Crystal Light, GatorAde, KoolAid, etc. drink “straws”–You know what these are, right? They are little thin packets of powdered drink mixes fine enough to mix into a bottle of water without having to use a spoon to make sure they are all dissolved? They come in everything from a Tang-creatiion, flavored teas, energy drinks or other flavors. Now they even have them in “drop” form so you don’t have to use your keys or pen to open the package of powder. Yummy, right? Nah. When I said I hate fruit flavored drinks, that wasn’t limited to natural fruit.