Confession time! I am a recovering soda-holic. It started innocently enough… a Mountain Dew in the morning on the way to school. It grew to include Pepsi and later Diet Pepsi. I bought sodas by the case. I’d chain drink them. Once, I was taking a nap and my sister opened a can of soda to wake me up. Read on to learn what it took for me to stop buying soft drinks.
I’m embarrassed to admit it but since it’s confession time here it is: my kids drank all sorts of soft drinks too. As a family we consumed sodas, Kool-Aid, Capri Sun and Sunny-D. As they grew older they liked Gator Ade and other “sports drinks”. My pantry was full of sugary beverages.
Next time you’re in the grocery store take a look at your cart and determine how much space is occupied by soft drinks of one kind or another. The day I finally admitted we were drinking too much junk I had spent almost $30 just on beverages! And I knew I’d buy more soda from the convenience store during the week.
So I started drinking iced tea. I drank store bought at first then, as I started paying more attention to the stuff I was consuming, unsweetened decaffeinated tea made at home (see this post for more information about how I make iced tea). I did not purchase any soda or soft drink for the house, but I did allow myself to purchase my usual Diet Pepsi at the store.
Going on an Elimination Diet provided the impetus to stop buying soft drinks altogether. I feel a lot better. My body doesn’t miss the artificial sweeteners and phosphoric acid from diet soda. I learned how to make lemon water from Mary at Mary’s Kitchen.
It’s simple to do. You’ll need a couple lemons, a couple sprigs of fresh basil and sweetener if desired. You’ll also need a half gallon container. I use a half gallon mason jar with a plastic storage cap (affiliate links). Slice up one or two lemons depending on the size and place them in the jar along with a couple sprigs of basil. Add sweetener if you like; I don’t. (FYI just a quarter cup of sugar per half gallon will add about 200 calories). Fill with boiling water and allow to cool. The same technique works for limes and crushed berries of all kinds, too. You can also vary the herbs. I’ve tried thyme, cilantro, mint and parsley. Basil is my favorite with lemon.
Another drink I’ve grown really fond of is Té de Flor Jamaica which is also known as hibiscus in Latin America or sorrel in the Caribbean. It’s so refreshing! Sometimes I’ll cut up a lime or a lemon and add it, but most of the time it’s not necessary. Look for it in the Latin section of the grocery store or you can purchase it online.
There are all sorts of fruit flavored teas available. Check the ingredients and if you’re comfortable with them, give them a try. If you’re feeling really adventurous, you could try one of these aguas frescas.
Your body will thank you when you reduce and/or eliminate the plethora of chemicals found in today’s soft drinks (check out the label from a store brand lemonade for an example). Your wallet will also thank you. You may even find you can afford to purchase better quality meat or cage free eggs with the money you’ll save.