I was thinking that cutting out soft drinks would be a topic for "Simple Changes". Then, I reconsidered. I remember all too well my days of drinking Mountain Dew. Making this change may be simple, but I don't think it is as easy as selecting an all natural peanut butter.
Trust me, I know that breaking habits can be tough. Eleven years ago, I gave up soft drinks. It was a huge benefit to my health... and to my teeth. I'll tell a short personal story, and then I'll get to the practical stuff.
I drank a lot of Mountain Dew. Way too much Mountain Dew. It carried me through college, I am very sad to say. Shortly after I gave up soft drinks, I visited the dentist. New town, new dentist... and I previously had just been getting my teeth cleaned by students at the local dental hygiene school for free. The dentist made note of the demineralization on my back molars and asked if I drank Mountain Dew. My shocked response was a hesitant, "I DID, how did you know?"
He told me that what he saw was commonly referred to as "DewMouth." Apparently, it is a growing problem among young people who drink a lot of soft drinks... and especially Mountain Dew because it is one of the very highest in sugar concentrations. YIKES! I had to get my molars drilled and filled. Fun :0
Most beverages are high in sugar... Kool Aid, Sodas, Bottled Teas, "Juice" Drinks. They are all high in sugar and devoid of any other nutritional value. These empty calories can lead to blood sugar spikes and plunges, weight gain, and even heart palpitations. Okay... so the list goes on, but I don't want to focus too much on the negative. Please read this amazingly simple yet informational article on the Soft Drink epidemic in our nation.
Unfortunately, diet drinks made with artificial sweeteners are just as bad. Artificial sweeteners that have been around long enough have left a trail of infamous results. Splenda has not been around long enough yet, but its time will come.
What you drink is a big part of your health. So, if you do drink soft drinks, I encourage you to let them go! If your children regularly drink sugared beverages, please work to replace them too. It may take a bit of smarts, but your children need you to guide them in this area.
Replace soft drinks with good, pure water and the occasional 100% fruit juice. Or, you can brew green tea and add a little bit of honey. Keep a chilled pitcher in the refrigerator for a slightly sweet replacement beverage without having to prepare something. It may help your children if they have their own BPA-free water bottle to drink from... something to make water more exciting.
I'd love to hear from my readers... have you given up soft drinks? If so, what did you replace them with? We would all benefit from reading your successes! Please comment to share what you have done.
Bottom line, you can do it. I am confident you can!