Ohiofarmgirl's Adventures in The Good Land is largely a fish out of water tale about how I eventually found my footing on a small farm in an Amish town. We are a mostly organic, somewhat self sufficient, sustainable farm in Ohio. There's action and adventure and I'll always tell you the truth about farming.


Monday, June 4, 2012

Don't Drink That! How To Stop Drinking Soda. Or Pop.

By now you've probably all heard about how they are trying to ban the sale of 16 ounces or larger of soda/pop/soda pop/sugary drinks in NYC. Of course what happens in New York rarely stays there so if this passes its sure to spread elsewhere.

While I don't believe any human, for any reason, should drink more than 8 or 12 ounces of soda in one sitting.... I also don't think its the state or national government's job to tell folks what they should or should not eat or drink. I'm pretty sure this is coming tho so its a good thing to think about. I thought Jon Stewart had some pretty good thoughts.

I hope that this measure does not pass - for lots of reasons - but I still don't think folks should be drinking so much soda. Its just stupid. You heard me. Its dumb. Don't drink that. Go dump it out. Right now. 

Personally I don't understand the emotional attachment to what I'll just call soda (even tho I think its widely known as "pop"). I gave it up a long time ago when I realized - like most unfood substances - it wasn't doing me any good. And nope, I don't even drink diet drinks. Ever. I like water. Good old fashioned, cool and refreshing water. When I really want to live it up, I drink plain sparkling water. I like the bubbles.

That aside I've seen alot of comments online, some very emotional, about how folks just "can't" give up their soda. I think its weird to give a fizzy bottle of sugar water so much control over your life. So I always think to myself... the best way to stop a behavior...is just stop doing it. *shrugs*

I understand, tho, that this may not work for some folks. There are some practical things you can do but the best way to walk away from the soda habit is to fully understand what guzzling all those biggie gulps is costing you. By the time you really have it set in your mind you'll want to run screaming from soda and never drink it again.

When I was growing up we were lucky if we got one soda a week. Usually when my mom made a particular dinner. Or if we went out to eat - which was very very rare. Back in the day going out to eat was for a celebration - not because no one wanted to cook. So we'd be excited about that one soda per week.

Now..how things are now...gosh. I have to tell you I cringe when I see people plop down a big, unnaturally colored plastic bottle of soda on the table like its totally normal to drink that stuff with a nice dinner. Or even a badly prepared dinner. I once sat at someone's table for a ham dinner (not our ham) and they actually served it with orange soda. It makes my teeth hurt to even think about it.

Generations of French and Italians are rolling in their graves bewailing the fate of dinner served with some kind of soda and not table wine. Its a gastronomic failure of the most appalling kind. Remember that scene in Elf where he pours maple syrup over spaghetti and then drinks a whole liter of soda for dinner? That's what I think of when people serve soda for dinner.  Soda is not even a treat anymore, its made its place there in the center of the table like some little idol. How much do you think Coke paid for that product placement to convince you that its totally normal to have soda for dinner?

How did we go from "its a treat" to "its for the table?" Its only really happened in the last couple generations....so what gives? You can thank the marketing folks mostly. And also, I think, a couple generations of folks who can't or won't tell their kids no. Or the last remnants of my generation who were so starved by that one soda a week they would "never do that to their kids" so they pile on the soda so their children aren't deprived as they were. We also had to walk to school, up hill, both ways. In the snow.

Lack of discipline aside... It also begs the question - how much of your grocery budget is going to soda? Whatcha spending on a drink that will do nothing but make your fat, probably just make you thirsty, and will definitely suck the money right out of your wallet? I'm not even sure that taxing soda like they tax cigarettes and booze would dissuade people to stop drinking so many sugary drinks. I know people who basically lost their house because of cell phones and cigarettes. And soda. They got no house but by golly, they got that big gulp in their hand.

Folks may stop drinking so much soda if they figured in the true cost - their health. Look around... these last couple generations have lived almost entirely on packaged food, drive thru, and soda. We aren't any better for it. More kids than ever have "adult" diseases and the hard news reported the other day is that kids don't respond to the same treatments as adults. Sure an adult with Type 2 Diabetes can just take a pill and pretend they are taking care of themselves... but for whatever reason, this treatment is not as effective  in children. 

And now we are looking down the barrel of a generation of parents who maybe burying their kids. We've all heard that this generation is the first that will not live longer than their parents. In the developed world. Right here in the best country on earth. We are killing ourselves, and our children, with bad food and sugary drinks. It doesn't even seem possible.

So. Lets talk about health. How many calories are you drinking? Unless you are working outside in construction or a groundskeeping crew - most folks cant burn that many calories to offset the amount of sugar-based calories you are slugging down just so's you can have that soda that you love so much. How many sodas are you drinking a day? A couple? That's probably upwards of 300 extra calories. Four? Five? Six sodas a day? While you are sitting behind a desk? Are you letting your kids drink that much while they are playing video games?

Remember that what you eat is largely cultural and almost always determined by marketing. When I was traveling in Tokyo I was amused by the tiny little sodas they had. They were only 6 or 8 ounces in adorable little cans. I remarked about this to one of my Japanese co-workers and she told me that when she first traveled to the States she could never finish drinking a whole can of our soda. She just wasn't used to it. After being here for a while she started drinking the whole can. Then she said she started getting fat. So she stopped drinking the whole thing and went back to what she considered a "normal" portion. So what's a normal portion? Not that 39 ounce monstrosity you get at the Gas-n-Sip - I can tell you that.

Hopefully you have enough to think about that you're saying to yourself, "Maybe I should stop drinking that money wasting, gut busting, diabetes inducing poison" (or something like that). How do you stop that bad habit? I can tell you what I did.

First, stop being mindless about what you eat and drink. What do you naturally reach for? Is it nutritionally dense or a wasteland of chemicals and artificial whatnot? Do you really want it or are you just in the habit? I tell you the truth - you can get your tastes so change. You do not need to be enslaved to that sugary goodness. So intentionally set out to drink more water. No, not juice or diet drinks or sweet whatever. Water. Your body needs water - nothing else.

What if you don't like water? I'm sorry to be the one to tell you this but you need to grow up.  There has to be a tipping point in your life when you determine to do what is good for your health. This is it. Drink water and that is it. If you need one of those refrigerator water filter thingys then get one. If you need to add a lemon slice. Then do it. Bottled water? Fine.

The next step toward freedom from sugary drinks:  When do get your next soda - drink half and pour the rest out. You heard me. Waste it. Get used to having less. And as you are standing there pouring half of it down the drain, thank yourself for giving your body the gift of better health.

When you go out to eat, drink about a quarter of that enormous soda they bring you. Realize when that pretty waitress asks you want you want to drink, she is banking on you asking for a soda. Their cost is miniscule and drinks are where restaurants make most of their money. Supersize? Ha! The only loser is you - even if you are paying only $0.25 more for that extra portion they are paying probably less than a penny in their costs. They aren't trying to give you a better deal - they are just takin' your money and laughing at you as they are counting up all those profits. Quit trying to get yourself the best soda deal and save your health instead.

After a while - a several weeks usually - you'll realize that you are losing the taste for all that sugar and artificial coloring. Pretty soon that bad habit of soda swilling will be replaced by reaching for water. And then one day you'll be like me and the thought of drinking a whole soda will give you a headache and make your teeth hurt. Pretty soon you'll be laughing at the gallon drum of soda that they mockingly call a "small" at the movies. It will never occur to you serve anything but water, milk, beer or wine for dinner. Small children will come to your house and look at you, aghast, that you don't have soda in the fridge. And at last you will be free of the bondage of sugary drinks and be in the promise land of health drinking from the water of life.

Or you can keep drinking that crap, continue being a senseless victim of marketing, and just get in line for ill health. The choice is yours. You don't need the mayor of NYC to ban those big drinks - you can decide for yourself that its just not a very good idea.

That's my preaching on the soda thing. Now go and dump out that bubbling concoction of sugar and go and get yourself a cool refreshing glass of water.

Happy Monday everyone!

20 comments:

buddeshepherd said...

My neighbor says you can use Pepsi or Coke to clean battery terminals. I think it is the phosphoric acid. It will also remove rust but you have to wash the sugar off quickly.
I find myself drinking a lot of soda in the summer as it comes in a can and it is easy to grab it on the run. Now if I could just quit coffee...

CallieK said...

Everything you said makes perfect sense. I've even had all these arguments in my own head. Yet when we a did a pantry storage challenge last year (didn't buy any groceries for a month, had to live on what we had on hand)I missed pop most of all. I cannot seem to be able to drink water- I know it's ridiculous but it causes some kind of gag/gulp reflex when I try. I've tried flavouring the water and it helps a bit. I try to drink watered down juice or homemade ice tea instead but if I'm really thirsty, only sweet and fizzy will quench my thirst. Like you I grew up having pop as a treat only and we drank milk at the dinner table so I don't even know how I ended up like this.

Class factotum said...

Preach it, sister. I am always shocked when I see parents buying soda for their kids at restaurants. When I was a kid, we got soda as a special treat. For sure, we got it at my grandmother's, because she would give us money to buy root beer at the store.

I used to drink a diet Coke in the morning for the caffeine. Then I discovered 1. coffee and 2. the fact that caffeine is what gives me headaches.

So I stopped with the soda and switched to decaf. Now I have soda when we travel out of the US and can have a Coke made with cane sugar.

PS How about the fact that we taxpayers subsidize HFCS, which is the sweetener in soda?

texomamorganlady said...

I need to add that if you are a "hard core" caffeinated soda drinker, do not "just stop". My hub did that and on day two dropped to his knees from severe head pain. After a ton of expensive testing at the emergency room, including a CAT scan, they found out that he had ceased his soda and coffee habit suddenly. He was given a cup of coffee, told to cut out caffiene slowly and sent home. He followed the advice and had no further problems. All things in moderation, even quitting!

katiegirl said...

Woo hoo! Standing ovation from me! It's very rare that I drink soda. I mean, once we heard we may be the first generation to live longer than our children? C'mom, people!! Isn't that enough of a wake up call to change things?!!

Water is delicious! Water with lemon? Even deliciouser! ;-)

Robin said...

Great post! We weren't allowed to drink soda unless it was a very special occasion, like New Year's Eve. I never gave it to my children or had it in the house.

Truthfully, I don't like it and haven't had a soda in many many years. My son doesn't drink it either.

It's definitely one of the worse things you can drink. If you want some bubbly, drink seltzer!

drypond said...

We cut soda's out 6 years ago and cut way back on sugar, 5 lbs of sugar will last up to 6 month if I don't bake any cookies or cakes. Now all we really drink is well water, cut back to 3 pots of coffee a day, and every now and then a cup of hot tea with honey in it and a glass of OJ everyday. I started cutting us back on sugars and so much salt about 10 years ago. We use more herbs and Mrs Dash seasoning now.

David said...

AMEN! While I disagree with govt legislating personal responsibility, people need to put the sugur bombs down. Drink of choice here is super cheap lemon carbonated water, bubbly, tart, refreshing.

Great Rant!

Ohiofarmgirl said...

Yep, Bud, I was recently told that the syrup used to make soda is considered a hazardous material if spilled. Zoikes! Try cans of plain sparkling water - they come in handy sizes too. ;-)

Isnt it weird, Callie, that we've convinced ourselves that water - a necessity for all life, can't do the job? You might be a 'supertaster' and can tell the difference in water - maybe try different kinds of bottled water?

You know it ClassF, the one that gets me is soda in a baby bottle or a Mountain Dew for a preteen before bedtime. wow! And don't get me started on the tax payer induced circle of ill health...

Hey Tex! Great advice... "get used to having less" is a great way to go. For lots of reasons. But talk about a wake up call.. wow! Glad your hub is ok!

Thanks KatieG! Once you walk away from the habit you are gone from it....I just look at the cans of soda and I get a headache.

How did we ever survive, Robin? Ha! I kinda think our parents were on to something... no soda now is practically child abuse.

Drypond - thats fantastic! I've seen that most folks consume up to 22 tablespoons of sugar a day... I'm not even close to that and I don't miss it a bit. I'm not sure that folks know you can bake with far less sugar than recipes show. But who are we kidding - most folks dont know that you can make brownies or cookies without a mix. sheesh!

Thanks Dave! Our local grocery chain makes cheap and sugar free carbonated water - even flavored ones. A great fix or transition to water. I think tho, the food police, might have over looked how emotionally folks are attached to their sugared drinks. There could be blood in the streets if folks cant get their "caff-POW"... this is gonna be interesting...

Reasonable Season (Me) said...

WOW! I just found your blog today, and this post caught my eye. YES!

I remember when pop was a treat - not a staple. And when we were lucky enough to get a pop, it was eight ounces with ice on a lunch out with Mom. At home maybe there was a little ginger ale for those upset stomach days... but pop was a luxury.

I cringe at the size of the big gulps and whatnot people waste their money (and health) on. I won't lie, once in a very great while I'll have a little Coke with ice. Like about once or twice a year.

Oh and you wrote: "What if you don't like water? I'm sorry to be the one to tell you this but you need to grow up. There has to be a tipping point in your life when you determine to do what is good for your health. This is it. Drink water and that is it."

A-Men!

Looking forward to more of your posts! :D

small farm girl said...

I grew up hateing soda. Yep, I know, I'm one of the weird ones. The carbonation would hurt my throat. So I either drank water or milk. Still do it this day. Oh, every now and again, I'll have a sweet tea. But, it's home made.

AZdesertFarmer said...

As much as I would like to give up the soda, 12hr graveyard shifts require mass amounts of caffeine for me. Switched to diet years ago but I'm sure the chemicals are just as bad or worse than the sugar. Would drink coffee, but AZ summers are not conducive to hot drinks and taking the time to make my goats milk iced frappacino at work is just not practical.

farmer_liz said...

I can't understand how people can drink soda. Like you, we didn't have it often as children, and I can't finish an entire can. My husband started making soda water (just fizzy rainwater) using his beer keg CO2, and that keeps him going instead of soda. I have been making lactofermented ginger ale and beet kvass, which is nutrient rich and a little acid and fizzy, possibly the reason we crave soda is that we really want fermented drinks from our ancestral past.

Ohiofarmgirl said...

hey reasonable season! welcome and yep.. i just dont get it.

great work SFG, dontcha just kinda get weirded out by how some folks are so emotionally attached?

hey AZ! 3rd shift is a crippler for sure. one of my pals uses powered espresso to make iced coffee - she loves it. but you gotta do what you can do. whats this about a tractor?!

wow FL! what a great observation about fermented stuff.... good thoughts!

Morgan said...

I'm trying to stop drinking as much pop, and I am down to a can in the morning, maybe one after dinner. I don't know why people drink mass quantities, my mom goes through 4-7 12 can cases in less than 2 weeks. My sister believed (or still believes) she is allergic to water, because at age 14 she had never had it, was forced to drink a glass and got sick...

Ohiofarmgirl said...

Morgan, I laughed that you sis thinks she is allergic to water. She sounds like a hoot. Good for you for cutting back. You really will feel better if you can give it up entirely.
:-)

Kylee Baumle said...

You keep knocking them because of the sugar, and I agree. But I've always drunk diet pop. Only clear ones. (no phosphoric acid) And yeah, I'm one that's addicted. I love the carbonation - the way it stings going down first thing in the morning. Love the caffeine, too. Can we still be friends?

Ohiofarmgirl said...

oh of course Kylee! *gives hugs* but really - you'll feel better if you can work in more water. i love the carbonation from plain sparkling water - and its cheaper too.
:-)

Kylee Baumle said...

I do know better, but I'll admit - I'm addicted! I do drink a fair amount of water, too. My doctor said I should drink two glasses of water to each can of pop I drink. I don't do that, but I'm workin' on it! Glad we're still friends. I have other good qualities. LOL

Ohiofarmgirl said...

of course you do! :-D

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