Welcome to the 16th post in my One Simple Change series (aka “Healthy Lifestyle 101″). Thanks for understanding that I couldn’t post last week because I was in Mexico for my cousin Stephanie’s wedding.

Today I want to go back to the topic of Healthy Drinks, and implore you to stop drinking commercial sodas.

If you google “why you should stop drinking soda”, you’ll end up with article after article featuring the top 5 (or 10 or 20 or 30 or…you get my drift) reasons to give the stuff up. So I am not going to give you another list: you can find one here, here and here, if you’re interested. ps Diet soda is super problematic, as well.

I personally quit soft drinks many years ago, when I learned that soda consumption could disrupt the balance of minerals in your bones. This was a huge concern to me, as I was already at risk for osteoporosis: a bone scan in my early 20s showed osteopenia/low bone density for reasons too complicated to describe here (but I had another last year and I no longer have bone density issues!).

Now in the interest of full disclosure, I’d be lying if I said I never ever ever drink soda because I actually drink 2 sodas a year. It’s weird, I know, but just about every 6 months I get a craving for a diet cola (the one that begins with the letter “P”) with a big squeeze of lemon and I just give in. I figure anything you indulge in twice annually cannot do too much damage. At least I hope that is the case.

Lots of people out there (maybe you?) drink soda daily, though (and some people drink many sodas each day). In all honesty, I can’t think of too many things that are more antagonistic to a healthy lifestyle than this.

Now I appreciate that soda has addictive qualities…I really do. I get that the combination of bubbly and sweet can be downright irresistible. And then there’s the caffeine…if that’s what you’re after. The thing is, there are SO many other things you can drink- some of which are bubbly and sweet- that are not nearly as bad for you as commercial soda. There are many high quality natural sodas on the market- yes, they have white sugar (maybe…some are sweetened with natural alternatives) but at least they don’t have all the chemicals. I don’t suggest drinking them all the time, but occasionally I think they’re just fine. And here are many more options.

I’ve mentioned this on my blog before, but in our home, we rely on water made bubbly in a SodaStream* mixed with organic juice (I also mix in homemade syrups like this one made with rhubarb and lemon balm, or this one made with strawberries) when we’re looking for something soda-esque. I do allow my kids to have a soda once in a while when we’re out, but I never keep soda in the house.

So what’s your relationship to soda? Have you given it up already or do you still drink it? If you still drink it, why is that? Ready to quit? Let me know if you are “in” for this week’s One Simple Change…because saying “bye” to soda will most certainly help you get healthier :)

* Disclosure: I receive a small percentage of the sale when you buy something at Amazon.com using a link on my blog; please know that I only link to books and other items that I use and love.

 

25 Comments

  1. 1

    T — May 4, 2012 @ 11:17 pm

    I successfully quit soda. Now I drink water, mineral water with lemon/lime and good ol fashioned homemade kombucha. My body and mind couldn’t be happier with this switch.

    • Winnie replied: — May 4th, 2012 @ 11:19 pm

      Good for you! Kombucha is an excellent thirst quencher ;)

  2. 2

    Amanda — May 4, 2012 @ 11:47 pm

    I have slowly phased soda out over the past two years. (after I stopped buying it for the home it was still hard not to order it while out.) I now keep a pitcher of lightly sweetened green tea in the fridge for a convient sweet drink fix. I also make kefir flavored with fresh ginger. Having an alternative readily available is key!

  3. 3

    Carla — May 5, 2012 @ 12:27 am

    I do not drink soda exceptaybe one a year when it is really hot I get a craving for a root beer.

  4. 4

    Alexis — May 5, 2012 @ 1:17 am

    Thanks for this – it is so timely, as I really want to quit soda and yet was so close to buying a 20 can box of my favorite brand this evening just because it was on sale. The only thing that stopped me was the thought of carrying it home. I will take your comments to heart and focus on changing this bad habit.

  5. 5

    The Wimpy Vegetarian — May 5, 2012 @ 1:35 am

    For longer than I like to think, while in a highly stressful job many years ago when living in western Massachusetts, I started my day, everyday, with pepsi or coke and a pack of cigs. A cola was a great jump-start for me between the caffeine and coldness of the drink. One day, I used one of the colas to remove a bumper sticker from my car under the advice of a friend. What a wake-up call. If it could be that effective with the bumper sticker and its adhesive, what on earth was it doing to my stomach? In that moment I quit and have had maybe a total of 3 colas in the last 25 years. The cigs took much longer to kick, but finally quit them too :-) Thanks for a great post! I love the links to the rhubarb and strawberry drinks too. Have a great weekend.

  6. 6

    Jenn — May 5, 2012 @ 2:25 am

    My one soda weakness is an occasional artisan organic ginger ale that I can find in the store when I go to visit my parents – else, like you, we carbonate our water. If we want to flavor it, usually no more than a squirt of lemon or lime and it does the trick.

  7. 7

    Kathryn — May 5, 2012 @ 4:34 am

    I used to drink a couple of diet cokes a day when I was at school but I pretty much stopped cold turkey when I decided to give up caffeine. I do have the occasional one – particularly when I’m out for a meal and not drinking alcohol but want something a bit different to water as a treat. I find that lots of restaurants still don’t have exciting non-alcoholic options and you’re stuck with coke/sprite. Having not had that many sodas over the last couple of years, I have to say that whenever I do drink them, I’m struck by how sweet (whether with sugar or artificial sweeteners) they are and how chemical they taste.

  8. 8

    Meister @ The Nervous Cook — May 5, 2012 @ 8:19 am

    Soda was the hardest thing for me to give up when I was making a transition to a whole-food based diet: I don’t know what it is about the allure of Diet Coke, but she is so tempting! Now, I drink a TON of water and almost nothing else, though I do allow myself a DC every once in a while — especially when we’re visiting my in-laws in Oklahoma City. There’s something about driving up to a Sonic and getting a tall, frosty Diet Coke… Sigh…

    But day-to-day, I don’t miss it at all — the SodaStream helped me so much, too!

    This — as have all of your tips been — is a fantastic simple healthy change.

  9. 9

    sarah @ my sleepy kitchen — May 5, 2012 @ 9:15 am

    Water is the main thing I drink now; I’ve never been a big soda fan but like you, I occasionally get a craving for soda a couple times a year; ginger beer is my weak spot! At home, I like to mix soda water with juice (apple-rhubarb is my new favorite!) I discovered your blog via Daily Bites Blog – it is great and can’t wait to read more!

  10. 10

    Paula — May 6, 2012 @ 8:45 am

    I’ve never been a big drinker of sodas and water is my thirst quencher. I do know that it is consumed too much by too many and yes, that some people are addicted to it. I’ve even know people who drink soda for breakfast! This is a very good post and hopefully those than feel they can’t do without their soda will try some of your healthier alternatives and realize that they will be so much the better for doing so.

  11. 11

    Shalini — May 6, 2012 @ 8:54 am

    Winnie, does mineral water also mess with the absorption in minerals in our bones? One of my friends told me this but we drink a few bottles of mineral water with lemon or lime here a week. As for soda pop I totally agree with you. The soda stream seems like a worthwhile investment and your syrups will be first on my list to try if we get one.

  12. 12

    MIchelle — May 6, 2012 @ 4:57 pm

    I completely agree with your soda philosophy. We drink sodas only on rare occasions. I do love a good ginger ale or root beer made by organic companies. My son, a sports nut, talked two of his friends out of their daily soda habits- a very proud mama moment for me! We like water and homemade lemonade.

  13. 13

    LiztheChef — May 6, 2012 @ 5:22 pm

    I used to drink diet coke, a couple a day – even for breakfast in the summer! About 2 years ago, I started making big pitchers of herb and caf iced tea – stick mint, lemon balm, lemon slices – works for me. OK, I still have about 1 a week…

  14. 14

    Hannah — May 7, 2012 @ 12:31 pm

    Such a great healthy tip! I do love bubbly drinks (champagne’s at the top of the list!) and when I discovered kombucha it replaced diet Coke for me. Our Soda Stream gets a work out, too, and I just got a book of homemade sodas to make. My kids are looking forward to trying some new ones.

    I hope you had fun in Mexico!

  15. 15

    Stacy @ Every Little Thing — May 7, 2012 @ 1:38 pm

    Giving up soda was difficult but after a few months and actively using my sodastream, the cravings are gone. It’s so much more mental than I ever expected!

  16. 16

    Megan A. — May 7, 2012 @ 3:59 pm

    I tried for YEARS to give up soda, and I really thought I’d never be able to do it. My trick? I got pregnant. While I did have some in my first trimester (thank you, morning sickness), I found my craving significantly decreased, and now that I’m in my second trimester I’m craving water more than anything.

    Like you, I’ll probably have one every now and then. All things in moderation. But it’s nice to not “need” a soda every day.

  17. 17

    Hilary McDaniel — May 7, 2012 @ 6:26 pm

    I have 2 child size colas when I have my 2 small burgers a year. I don’t eat much meat but I do like a burger w/jalapeño twice a yr. otherwise I love fresh water w/lemon

  18. 18

    Michelle — May 7, 2012 @ 7:02 pm

    I quit soda 10 years ago when I was 18 and haven’t looked back!

  19. 19

    Tanya — May 8, 2012 @ 6:14 pm

    I have been fighting my own battle with soda for quite some time now. I’m addicted to diet coke, and every time I pass a place I’ve bought one before, I always start craving one super bad. Nothing else seems to satisfy that craving quite the way diet coke does. I’ve been able to find some natural sodas that let me ignore it for a while, but about once a month I give in and go get one. Also, it’s much harder when I’m with someone who gets one. I start to imagine the flavor and I start salivating. It’s really BAD! I used to drink several a day before I realized how bad they are for you! I even had a secret stash under my desk at work. I don’t know what to do with myself sometimes. Diet sodas are really the cheapest bubbly sweet drink, because the ones with alternative sweeteners I can’t find for less than $1.00 a can!

  20. 20

    Elaine Bradtke — May 8, 2012 @ 7:59 pm

    I never liked fizzy drinks, but every once in a while we were allowed to have a soda as a treat when dining out. I’m lucky I never acquired the habit, but some of my friends seem to live on vats of diet soda. One friend used to routinely drink it for breakfast. It’s hard if you’ve been drinking gallons of the stuff for years, but my friend who kicked the habit says after a week or so of no-sodas her sense of taste started to change and now she thinks they taste like the chemicals they are.

  21. 21

    Anna @ the shady pine — May 9, 2012 @ 2:10 am

    Congratulations on the 3 year milestone! It’s certainly an achievement to retain the passion that got you blogging in the first place.

    I have to admit that I have never been a fan of fizzy drinks. From a young age they never appealed to me and it wasn’t until I was bit older that I realised it was because I dislike the taste of fake flavourings. I love oranges but really cannot drink orange flavoured fizzy drinks for example.

  22. 22

    Mairsydoats — May 10, 2012 @ 7:56 pm

    I’m not a huge soda fan (in fact, just not a huge carbonation fan), and have by and large given it up entirely. Except – and isn’t there always an except? – Every couple of months I end up with either Coke or a Ginger Beer used as a mixer in a cocktail. REALLY try to make it worthwhile, though. Mostly, I’m hydrating with water, tea and coffee (there’s a battle I don’t even try to win anymore).

  23. 23

    One Simple Change: Straight Talk About Sugar (And Pumpkin Date Scones) | Healthy Green Kitchen — September 28, 2012 @ 9:39 pm

    [...] Whatever you do, don’t use artificial sweeteners. These are about as far as you can get from a natural food. They may have no calories, but your body still secretes insulin when you consume them because they taste sweet and your body is expecting sugar. So the insulin is floating around, but it has nothing to do…not good. The use of these will then cause you to crave sugar even more because the released insulin really wants some sugar to deal with. And another thing: artificial sweeteners contain known toxins…if you use them, please give them up. This means diet soda people, which you already know you shouldn’t drink. [...]

  24. 24

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