A few weeks ago, I inquired on our Facebook Saving Dinner fan pages about possible addiction to sodas; regular ones and the diet ones. The response was CRAZY; not only did I get over 100 responses to that post, I received a whole flurry of emails and private Facebook messages as well. Clearly, addiction isn't a superfluous term; it's real and it's relevant and yes, these are addicts that need help.
Sodas hook you with the caffeine, the bubbles, the sugar or the artificial sweetener and the whole ritual of drinking "a cold one". It's refreshing, tasty and the temptation to drink "one more" is easy--they'll give you free refills just about anywhere now or your fridge is stocked with them so just grabbing another soda is no big deal.
Or is it?
According to the National Soft Drink Association, more than 15 billion gallons of soda was consumed in 2000. I cannot even imagine what the numbers are 10 years later! The fact is, more soda is consumed than WATER. This is a health crisis that needs addressing.
Our bodies NEED water. This is how we utilize nutrients. Likewise, our bodies have no use for soda. When we indulge in a regular soda fix, we're feeding a sugar addiction, we're leaching calcium from our bones and I believe that the overload of phosphates from all that soda may some day be implicated for the rise in fibromyalgia and other chronic conditions.
So the question is, how do you quit? Here are my 5 steps to getting off the soda and reclaiming your control:
1) Drink water. Wait! I know what you're thinking! You knew I'd say that didn't you? But here's the deal; water will help CLEAR out the junk the soda has left behind and hydrate you. So drink up. Just swap out 2 sodas for a big glass of water. Start there.
2) Brew some tea/ice it. I've been making all kinds of different ones lately--green mixed with black teas, mixed with herbal teas, fruity flavored ones. When they're cold, they're great and refreshing.
3) Need some sweet? Try xylitol (find it at the health food store). It has no impact on your blood sugar (it's a sugar alcohol; if you're diabetic, ask your doctor first), there's no health implications like there are with artificial sweeteners, it tastes more like sugar than any other sweetener I've ever tried and it's self-regulating; too much xylitol equals gas and the accompanying "music", LOL! You don't want that!
4) Go cold turkey. Or not. You know yourself better than I do. Make these changes, but go cold turkey or make these changes and taper off. When I gave up chocolate (read Body Clutter for the full lowdown), I went cold turkey. There was no such thing as moderation for me, so it's a matter of knowing yourself and what works for you.
5) Try Emergen-C (available at health food stores and Trader Joe's) and some plain water or mineral water mixed together. You'll get a little effervescence, a shot of vitamin C and your carbonation without the damaging phosphates. Not too much though! Too much vitamin C can give you diarrhea, eek!
The purpose of drinking anything is to hydrate our bodies. That's the mechanism of thirst. When you're not addressing that thirst by giving your body either too much sugar or chemicals, plus the assault of constant caffeine, plus the phosphates from the carbonation, you're tearing down your body and not hydrating at all.
Take the No Soda for Me Pledge and let's change this up. Here's the Pledge:
"I pledge allegiance to my health, to build it up and not tear it down. I will do my best to give up soda, drink the water my body needs and try with all my heart to be a good example to my family and friends with my new healthy habit."
I believe this is doable. Do you believe it? Let me know if you've taken the pledge: http://facebook.com/savingdinner .