Living Life Soda Free!
By Contributing Author, Kate Harveston
Many people reach for a sugary pop for a quick shot of energy when the 3 p.m. doldrums hit. But each can of sugary soda consumed adds 150 calories to your total intake. If you drink four or more colas per day, you consume more than a quarter of your recommended calorie intake on nutritionally empty soda. Soda is also full of sugar and more often than not leads to a crash after that original boost of energy hits.
Quitting soda and other sugary drinks like prepackaged iced tea and sports drinks can prove difficult once your body is used to them. But it’s not impossible to kick the habit. Follow the seven steps below to kick your addiction to sugary drinks, nourish your body better and probably lose a little weight in the process!
1. Start Slow
Sugar creates biological changes in the brain, and the body becomes physically addicted to the substance over time. This means kicking the habit cold turkey can result in some nasty physical symptoms. In order to ward these off, start by weaning yourself off one soda per day. After three days, eliminate another can or bottle.
Some nutritionists suggest switching to diet cola. However, those who consume aspartame-containing colas often have higher body weight (See Aspartame: Deadly Toxin!) This leads some researchers to believe the substance increases hunger, perhaps by increasing ghrelin, the chemical responsible for making people feel famished or sated.
2. Stock Up on Turmeric Tea
In addition to sugar, soda contains caffeine, meaning when you first begin to detox, you will likely experience some headaches.
Instead of reaching for the Advil, which can harm the lining of the stomach in large quantities, brew up a batch of turmeric tea mixed with other healing, anti-inflammatory herbs to reduce the pain.
As a bonus, you’ll have something to sip on other than cola — if the sweetness isn’t to taste, add in a teaspoon of honey. While honey contains sugar, it’s also loaded with antioxidants.
3. Add Water to Sodas as You Detox
Another method for weaning yourself off soda involves adding water to each cup to cut down on sugar and caffeine. This helps sugar-addicted taste buds start to evolve to preferring substances not quite as sweet.
Alternatively, invest in some seltzer water if you don’t like the way plain water makes your pop lose its fizz. If preferred, you could invest in a Soda Stream to make your own flavored seltzer.
4. Drink a Glass of Water Before Indulging
Don’t like mixing your soda with water? No problem! Simply sip on a tall glass of water before caving to your temptation for a Pepsi. You’ll still improve your hydration levels.
Find plain water unpalatable? Use some frozen berries for ice cubes to add a subtle hint of sweetness, or keep a water pitcher filled with lemon or cucumber slices for added tang.
5. Identify What’s Making You Opt for Pop
All bad habits originate from a trigger. Maybe every time you walk in the office break room, you face the temptation to hit the pop machine. While it’s impossible to make it through the day without eating, see if you can locate a mini fridge in the office somewhere far removed from the source of the trigger.
Maybe you reach for the soda when you relax with the occasional Jack and Coke. If this sounds like you, explore other mixers. Or pop open a bottle of dry vino instead!
6. Find Enjoyable Substitutes
A ton of products on the market can quench your thirst without sugar, caffeine or artificial colors or sweeteners. Plagued with occasional tummy trouble? Try some kombucha. Although this drink is fermented, most store brands won’t get you intoxicated — but they will provide you with a powerful punch of beneficial stomach bacteria.
Don’t switch to sports drinks, though, thinking they must be healthier. Many sports drinks hold as much as 13 teaspoons of sugar in one bottle, which is more than a can of soda! Herbal teas, hot or cold, can make excellent cola substitutes. Make sun tea with lemon this summer — it’s delish!
7. Reward Yourself!
Once you successfully break the soda habit, it’s okay if you want to indulge occasionally. However, keep pop consumption from becoming a habit all over again — who wants to detox twice?
A better way to treat yourself? Relax in a nice, hot bath or treat yourself to a massage or a pedicure. Alternately, take your sweetie out for a fancy (and cola-free) dinner at your favorite restaurant.
Living Life Soda Free
Detoxing from soda can prove difficult, but it can also help you accelerate your weight loss efforts and help you feel better. Get started on your path to pop detox today and enjoy a happier, healthier tomorrow!