Thinking back to my junior high school days, I can’t help but wonder how I managed to live without drinking water. Before I knew just how bad soda was for my health, I knew that they were tasty – really tasty – and available from pretty much every vending machine at school.
I – and most of my classmates – indulged on these sugary drinks most weekdays, oblivious to the health risks and safely removed from the watchful eye of our parents.
Apparently, my classmates and I weren’t alone in our extreme soda consumption – a recent Gallup poll shows that 48% of Americans drink soda on a daily basis. What’s worse is that among those who drink soda daily, the average consumption is 2.6 glasses a day!
If that sounds surprisingly high for you – awesome, you’re not one of the addicted ones. The tricky thing about soda is that it is just so easy to get addicted to it.
By now, most of us know that it’s bad for you, but many of us start drinking the sugary concoction before we’re conscious enough to know the damage it does and as they say, old habits die hard.
That being said, overcoming your soda addiction is one of the best things you can do for your body. It doesn’t matter if it’s “diet” – it’s still bad for you. But it can also be one of the hardest things to do. Soda’s so readily available, so socially accepted, so good with certain foods…
Still, it can be done – I did it, and it was one of the best things I ever did. Not to mention, it was surprisingly easy. Before I started juicing, I used to simply mix carbonated water with store-bought juice, which was better than soda, to be sure, but still not great.
Now whenever I have a soda craving – rarely now, since I mostly don’t eat foods that pair well with soda anymore – I just whip myself some healthy juice pop (see below)!
Here it is. A painless 5-step guide to beating your soda addiction:
Step 1. Stock up on carbonated water
Despite some concerns around the health risks of soda water, soda water is no worse for you (or just as good as) drinking regular water. In fact, various parts of Europe drink “fizzy” water as opposed to regular water as their main hydration source.
Many brands of carbonated water get their water from naturally carbonated water sources. Such brands are Badoit, Apollinaris and Borsec, but these waters are a little price-y, as well as more difficult to find.
San Pellegrino is not naturally carbonated, but you can buy it in bulk from places like Costco, which makes it a bit easier.
Trader Joe’s also sells a very affordable brand of carbonated water which is great if you live near a Trader Joe’s. Whole Foods also has a line, which is slightly pricier than Trader Joe’s.
If you’re used to drinking a lot of soda and don’t want to keep buying carbonated water in bulk, I highly recommend Sodastream – which allows you to make carbonated water at home, using tap water. It’s extremely convenient, affordable and good for the environment (no more plastic bottles – yay!)
Step 2. Add Juice
Simply whip up some of your favorite flavors in the form of juice recipes and mix it with the carbonated water.
Love orange soda? Start with an orange juice mixed with soda water. Eventually, you can add lemons, limes, and grapefruit into the mix – all of these are low in sugar and great for weight loss.
If you’re very used to the artificial flavoring from soda, even with the carbonation, it might take some getting used to and this is where the next step comes in.
Step 3. Experiment
I was pretty well used to drinking soda so the difference in taste (I started by mixing store-bought juice with carbonated water) was a bit dissatisfying; it just tasted really watered down. But when I started juicing, it was the fun factor in experimentation that kept me going.
Continuously experiment with new flavors – eventually adding some veggies into the mix and then finally going for mostly veggie soda concoctions. If that sounds disgusting, it’s really, really not. Try cucumber spritzer. It’s delicious.
Here are some more juice recipes that taste awesome with a little fizz…
Step 4. Have it handy
You should have access to your soda during the times you usually crave it. While I usually recommend drinking fresh juice as soon as you’ve juiced it, it’s a good idea to store your soda juice and carry it around with you while you’re in the stages of getting over your soda addiction.
Remember it takes just 66 days to form a new habit – you’ll get there before you know it!