by Katelyn Masters

My husband grew up calling soda “pop”.  To him, there is no other way to say it.  To me, that just sounds funny, but honestly we hardly have reason to say either any more.  For over five years we haven’t consumed soda and probably never will again.

These days, the only time soda ever crosses my mind is when I see carts loaded full of it in line at the grocery store or when I hear about diabetes and tooth decay.  It wasn’t difficult for me to give it up, as I wasn’t a big soda drinker to begin with.  My husband, on the other hand, would easily plow through a 12-pack of Mountain Dew within a day or two.  This was when we first met; a time when he would regularly chug a can for breakfast on his way to class. Scary, right?!

A few years later, and a bit wiser, we decided to weed out all of the really artificial ingredients from our diets, starting with high fructose corn syrup.  For a while we would pick up the all-natural sodas made with real sugar, but then decided to cut those too.  Why?  My logic is, that no matter what dietary guidelines you subscribe to, sugar isn’t ever considered good-for-you.  At best, it is something that should sparingly be consumed.

I love sugar though!  I love it in ice cream.  I love it in cookies.  I love it an all sorts of delicious baked goods, breakfast items, and desserts.  So I rationalized that the sugar I do let myself consume should at least be something that I can savor, rather than guzzle down, only semi-aware that I am swallowing it.

One 12oz can of Coke has 39 grams of sugar.  Meanwhile, one serving of Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia Ice Cream has 23 grams of sugar. Personally, I would rather jeopardize my health for the sake of ice cream than a can of soda.

So what do we drink instead?  Well, we always have milk and water available.  And of course, we wouldn’t be sane without our morning coffee.  But what has really been our go-to beverage for the past five years are cans of sparkling water.  La Croix was the only one around for years, but slowly the market has been populated with more options.  Dasani, Canada Dry, and Schweppes all make a version of this, as well as many other store brands.

My current favorites are Dasani Tropical Pineapple, La Croix Lime, and Schweppes Black Cherry, but generally it just depends on the mood I am in.  The carbonation, I realized, was the only thing I truly missed about soda.  These drinks are essentially flavored club soda.  Zero calories, zero sodium, and zero grams of sugar.

When we go out to restaurants, I usually order a club soda with lemon or lime, which most restaurants with a bar will have.  Otherwise, I will order water or unsweetened iced tea. Sometimes you can even find a “SODA” option (which is club soda) in fast food restaurants situated near the “WATER” tab that you press with your finger.

All things considered, I’m pretty happy we made the choice to go soda-pop-free all those years ago. While I’m sure I will drink a pop occasionally (never say never!), we probably won’t be reintroducing it to our household at any point.

What are your thoughts on soda? Have you tried any of the sparkling waters?  Let me know in the comments section!