When I was in elementary school I drank a lot of soda! Not just soda but caffeine filled Coke. When I was in 7th grade I kicked my habit on a challenge from my teacher. He had challenged our class to give something up for the 40 days of lent. Since he was the choir director as well, he suggested we might want to give up caffeinated sodas since caffeine is not good for our vocal cords. I really liked to sing at the time so that sounded like a good idea. I had no idea then what a great blessing that choice was and how much more to soda there was besides being harmful to my vocal cords.
I am SO THANKFUL that I took his advice and never picked up drinking Coke regularly again. Yes, I’ve had a Coke from time to time and have an occasional caffeine free soda as well, but over the last few years I have continued to cut back more and more to the point that I now choose water almost exclusively. I have always had a bit of sweet tooth so this was not an easy transition but I feel it is an important part of my quest for health and my modeling as a parent.
Recently, I came across this amazing video that was created by 3 high school students who were entering the “My Choice My Voice Video Contest”. It is a must watch. They talk about America’s drinking problem. The beginning is an artistic poem and then it goes into the documentary style information.
Did you watch it? Convicting? None of this was news to me yet the line that stated, “Soda is the new cigarette” struck a chord with me. Currently, my children are allowed up to one soda a week at parties and other special events. I don’t want to them to feel like they need to find ways to sneak a soda because they are never allowed any when their friends are allowed to drink it. So I have taught them about the dangers of drinking soda, modeled passing up soda myself, and given them the option to drink soda in moderation. But I can’t help but ask, if that is enough? Would I allow them one cigarette a week to avoid them wanting to sneak one? OF COURSE NOT! I know the two are still quite different but it did cause me to stop and think. Soda is a much bigger epidemic than cigaret smoking ever was. It is currently the #1 source of calories for Americans yet a subject most of us don’t want to face.
Now this video talks about the harmful effects of the high sugar content in soda and other popular drinks, but there are so many many more dangers. If you are drinking colas you are taking in phosphoric acid which is extremely damaging to your bone growth and health. If you are drinking caffeinated sodas you are taking in a chemical that can cause anxiety, nervousness, sleep problems, elevated blood pressure, and heart palpitations. If you are drinking diet sodas you are taking in chemicals that can cause serious kidney problems, metabolism problems, rotting teeth, reproductive issues, cell damage, and even cancer. Remember this is the #1 source of calories for Americans. We are drinking ourselves into a lot of health problems!
On the other side, filtered water is full of health benefits. It lowers stress, boosts our immunity, reduces kidney stones, helps muscles and joints, helps weight loss, boosts your energy, flushes out toxins, reduces your risk for cancer and so much more.
At first my struggle to give up sugary drinks was because water was so boring and flavorless but I learned that water doesn’t have to be boring. My boys and I still get a variety of flavors in our water through our essential oils. I will add 2 to 4 drops of lemon, wild orange, grapefruit, lime, Citrus Bliss, Metabolic Blend, and sometimes even peppermint to our water for variety, flavor, and added health benefits. Not all essential oils are food grade so make sure you look for the nutrition label on the bottle.
So take the challenge! Give up soda and sugary drinks. Start small and don’t be so hard on yourself. Sodas are full of addicting ingredients so you may feel worse at first but give it time and see how much better you feel!
For me personally, I had a huge change in my health that year in 7th grade. At the time, I didn’t realize it was the lack of Coke but over that next year I lost weight, gained energy and confidence. I actually had high cholesterol before that year (yes cholesterol can be carbohydrate related) and had struggled with multiple cavities as well. Coke and other sugary drinks may seem refreshing but they are really holding us back. I can’t wait to hear what you gain!