Soda. We all know of the health evils which are implied by that one word. Sodas are the bane of existence for those of us actively trying to lose weight. Trainers often tell their clients to remove soda from their diet. Sodas are terribly addictive, offer empty calories, filled with high fructose corn syrup (which is most likely all GMO), are produced using tap water, and (depending on the soda) stain your teeth. You know you have a bad product when you are championing REAL SUGAR to be added to it.
Whether you stop drinking soda cold turkey or go for a slow withdraw you might find yourself with a new dilemma after the cravings stop. What do you drink now? Fruit juice has the benefit of giving you important nutrients such as vitamin A in mango juice or vitamin C in orange juice. The irony is that while fruit juices are typically healthier for you than soda, you still have to be ever vigilant about what you put into your body.
Fruit juices should always have 100% juice. I can’t stand it when shopping and the label on juices says it has 10% juice content. The sad thing is that most parents will buy this junk thinking that they are doing their kids a favor.
But that is a post for another day.
Juice is normally the main substitute for soda withdraw because juice (when buying 100%) has natural sugar from the fruit. My Grandmother would always give me a suspicious look when I would get a large glass of juice.
“You might as well be eating a Snicker’s bar.”
“Still healthier than a soda.” I would quip back.
She would sigh as though I had committed some gregarious error and walk away. The sad part is she wasn’t exactly wrong.
Fruit juice, however, should not be your only beverage. Water is important to have and it better if it is distilled or purified. I don’t approve of drinking tap water simply for the fact my town was once under a boil advisory for six consecutive years straight. Water has a strange relationship with people. Most of the public knows they need to drink more of it but it doesn’t taste very good when you compare it to juices and soda. I have never liked the taste of water so I need to take extra caution to drink it. I have fallen into the “drink only juice” category more times than I would like to count.
The coolness factor for water hasn’t gone away either and there are even products that encourage the natural lifestyle. Consider the “Citrus Zinger” from Brookstone. You slice the fruit and put the pieces in the bottom container. The fruit gives flavor to the water which I must say is a nice effect. There are also commercial liquid flavorings for water, many which do not contain aspartame. Commercial powdered flavor enhancers do contain aspartame so watch out!
There is always kool-aid in a pinch but it is more or less glorified sugar-water. The key is to mix it up! Don’t be afraid to combine juices together! You can make juice ice cubes to put in the water to slowly add flavor. You can make cold tea with a little honey added in. Make sure the tea is warm when you add the honey so it can dissolve properly! Maybe even try adding some spices! There are even people who make their own soda, which I must say is pretty darn awesome! There will be times when you crave soda but with a little willpower, a lot of culinary creativity, and sometimes just a few sips to stop the cravings (hey, we ARE dealing with an addictive substance here, relapse is common) you will be able to overcome the power of soda!
Want to know a cool fact?
It does get easier over time. Once you go a month without soda, you will notice that the sodas you used to love now taste artificial and syrupy. Your body will reject it if you drink them because it will have been in detox. Weight will be lost and hope will be restored!