How I Broke My Addiction to Soda

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This time last year, I was still drinking soda. It was diet of course…and I didn’t drink as much as “most people.” I might go through a two-liter bottle in 2-3 days. But, considering it all, that’s still a good amount of goop going into my body.

Kissing it Good-bye

After a month or two on our new food journey, I decided to cut out all my caffeine content, so we started drinking decaf coffee, Teecino, and caffeine-free soda. I decided to take it one step further for myself and I cut out soda all together. I felt like I was addicted to it and needed to just kick it to the curb – Barry didn’t feel this same calling, but I already knew he was drinking less than me…and he could do without it all together. He still has a soda now and then and has beat the caffeine addiction.
Instead of just cutting it out all at once, I cut myself down to one glass per day after dinner before I’d go to bed. That was when I usually drank the most anyway – when I was sitting around and relaxing. I had a pretty good stash of two liters in the basement that I had purchased “on sale.” I knew when those were gone I wouldn’t be buying any more. It’s hard to drink it or be tempted if it’s not hanging around in your basement.  :-)

Image by switch-twitch


Why We Quit and How

If you leave out a glass of soda and watch what happens to it, it’s kinda gross. It gets filmy around the top…and then you pour it out and it leaves nasty sediment in the bottom of the glass. What’s it leaving inside my body? Read the ingredients label….that’s an excellent way to wean yourself off soda…..YUCK! If I can’t pronounce it, I probably shouldn’t be drinking it.

We’ve attempted to cut out artificial sweeteners from our diet, and diet sodas are just chock full of them. Instead, we’ve replaced those sweeteners with good, healthy ones. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again. How does artificial food make ANY sense? ARTIFICIAL FOOD? They make artificial grass too, ya know….do you go outside and see a cow filling up on AstroTurf?
So, here were my steps to cutting out soda:

  1. Cut down to one glass per day
  2.  Stop buying it and bringing it home
  3. When it’s gone, I’m finished

Image by Svadilfari

And Now

It’s hard to just cut something out without an alternative. I hate tea…so that wasn’t an option for me.  With the exception of a little juice now and then, I mostly drink my coffee at breakfast and water the rest of the day. It helps to have a wonderful water filter like our Berkey. If I get a hankerin’ for some soda (or pop as I like to call it), I can just whip up a batch of Ginger Ale or stevia soda. And I even saw this awesome idea from Bran Appetit about making soda using juice….and like she says there, “sometimes water just doesn’t cut it.” ;-)
Now, here is my disclaimer.  Because we live by the 80/20 Principle, Barry still drinks a soda now and then…and we still have artificial sweeteners occasionally when we’re out of the house and can’t avoid it. When I was first pregnant, soda was all that I could keep down (but when I got over the sickness, I didn’t drink any more – I don’t really enjoy it or have a taste for it). But soda isn’t something we’re going to keep around or drink on a regular basis.

*This post is linked at Fat Tuesday on Real Food Forager, at Healthy 2Day Wednesday on Day2Day Joys, Hearth and Soul Blog Hop at Penniless Parenting, at Pennywise Platter at The Nourishing Gourmet, at Simple Lives Thursday on GNOWFGLINS, and at Tuesdays at the Table on All The Small Stuff.


Comment Policy: I love hearing your thoughts and input on what I write. Since I write about what works at my house, what pleases my handsome hubby and darling children; I'm sure we'll disagree sometimes. In those cases, do what's right for you and yours. As with any form of communication, please only post comments that move the discussion in a positive direction.

About Stacy

Stacy is the author of Crock On: A Semi-Whole Foods Slow Cooker Cookbook and Keep Crockin': A Poorganic Slow Cooker Cookbook, and a stay-at-home and homeschooling mom to her two children, Annie (June 2009) and Andy (August 2012). After an “awakening” in March 2011, her family switched to a more natural, whole foods diet. She likes to blog about how to live on less than you make and how to eat good food while doing it. Her passion is teaching others how to save money and she tag teams with her husband in this endeavor. At Stacy Makes Cents you’ll find information on how to save money in the kitchen, how to have fun with your kids, and how to be thrifty in all areas of life. Her passion is teaching others how to live debt free. Make sure to follow her on Facebook, Youtube, Pinterest and more to keep up with her daily antics.

  • Becca C

    I know you don’t like water kefir, but you can make apple juice kefir. It’s pretty good, isn’t as sweet as straight apple juice, and has a little fizz to it like pop.

    • Stacy

      Girl…I’m not going there again. LOL

  • JD

    I think that is great that you have eliminated soda. Hooray for you. I never have liked the stuff so I don’t drink it but my husband does. He has cut back but not for health reasons but because of how expensive it is. Hey, works for me! We still drink coffee but I only drink two cups in the morning and that is it. I suppose that is too much but for now I am going to go with it.

    • Stacy

      You know, it really is expensive…especially when you consider the price of water. :-) It’s nice to have that extra room in the grocery budget!

  • Kay

    Soda is not a part of my life either. Husband drinks one every day. I did get him to cut back and the result is that he has lost some weight. I only drink an equivalent of one 12-oz or less a year. I only drink these when I am extremely thirsty and nothing else is around. I’d rather drink water or iced tea.

    • Stacy

      I wish I liked ice tea…I might have to learn to like it. :-)

  • Crissi

    Congrats on kickin’ the habit Stacy. I have “kicked it” many times but seem to fall back onto the diet coke wagon as soon as I get stressed or when I am feeling under the weather and “need the energy”. It is definitely addictive and hard to go cold turkey. Harder when I have slipped in my real food journey….I believe fake food makes us crave more fake food and it is a slippery slope to re-climb and start again! Thanks for the inspiration to do it again. ;o)

    • Stacy

      It IS a slippery slope. I knew I was addicted when I HAD to have it every night. If you ever need help or encouragement, you just give me a holler. :-)

  • Julia

    Thank you for your everything in moderation approach. Too many people feel it is all or nothing. I love the 80/20 rule. I also appreciate that you don’t preach, you teach.

    • Stacy

      :-) Thank you for saying that Julia.

  • http://www.branappetit.com brandi

    Thanks so much for the link, Stacy! I love making those homemade Izze’s – it’s so much cheaper!

    • Stacy

      Girl, they look delish!

  • http://stayathomefarmermom.blogspot.com Tracy

    I just did this same thing about 6 months ago. Actually, I don’t have any cravings for it but the problem I do have is when we go out. Sweet tea, here in GA is WWWWAAAAAYYYYYYY sweet so I NEVER order it. Some restaurants have funky tasting water so I tend to not order that either. Usually, I order an unsweet tea but, like you, I don’t want to use any artificial sweetner. I try to keep some sucanat in my purse but hubby makes fun of me when I pull out my baggie and empty it in my drink! Thankfully, we don’t eat out very often so I don’t have to struggle too much :)

    • Stacy

      :-) I have some friends that do that with liquid stevia…so just stick your tongue out at your hubby and keep on doing it! lol

  • http://www.thedoityourselfmom.com Anna@The DIY Mom

    In college and working as a nurse I totally loved mountain dew, but once I got married, I stayed at home, out budget shrunk, and we began to eat healthier, right out it went. I too drink sprite or gatorade occasionally during the first trimester when water just won’t cut it, but otherwise it is very rare that we have it.

    • Stacy

      For some reason, water just seems to make me sicker. Blech! I’m glad to be over that phase. :-)

  • Mary Beth Floyd

    I eliminated all sodas last June. I used to get a Route 44 Sonic drink EVERY day, but when I found out that even diet sodas make your body acidic, I stopped them. An acidic body is constantly trying to become alkaline, pulling away from your body’s ability to absorb GOOD nutrients and fight disease. ALSO, an acidic body holds on to FAT (oh, no). An alkaline body lets go of that fat. That’s why when people eliminate sodas and drink more water they usually lose weight and are healthier.
    I use filtered water ~ you are right , it tastes much better!! I also put lemon or lime in my water sometimes (lemon is a natural diuretic and helps with water weight).
    Thanks so much for this post! I know it will help lots of people.

    • Stacy

      :-) You said almost word for word what my doc said. Thanks Mary Beth!

  • http://quickeasycheaphealthy.com Anne @ Quick and Easy Cheap and Healthy

    It’s surprising how it loses its appeal once you’ve weaned yourself from it. I can’t stand soda anymore. Every now and then when I happen to take a sip, I just want to spit it back out again. It’s really nasty when you’re not used to it!

    • Stacy

      I needed it when I was so sick during the first trimester, but now I don’t want it any more….I was afraid I’d get sucked back in, but strangely I didn’t. :-)

  • http://sandra-schrijft.blogspot.com/ Sandra

    Wow, thats so amazing you managed to cut out all sweetners and soda!

    I got diagnosed with glucose intolerance (sorry English isnt my native tongue) and I had to cut out all soda and tons of other “unhealthy” food and drinks and I wasnt allowed to drink juices either. For some reason I have so much more energy since I pay more attention to what I put in my mouth. Juices are filled with sugar (fructose) and people like to think that’s okay, while for me it is not.

    I would love to brake my addiction to sweetners. Do you happen to know what the difference is between normal sweetners and Steevia?

    Anyway, your website is so inspiring for me, thank you!!

  • http://www.HassiesKitchenTable.com Faylee

    A few years ago I gave up sodas for Lent, afterwards my taste for them wasn’t the same. Like Barry, I still have one every now and then. When I do, it’s mostly like you, in late evening while I am relaxing.
    On occasion I do get a craving for them and I have learned to give in and have one, because if I don’t, I find when I do, I’ll have 2 or more in session, so it’s best to just give in to one.
    To make it harder on myself, to keep from drinking them, I have to have one that is bottled in TN. The water here makes a difference in their taste or I make myself believe it’s true, to keep from drinking them….lol.
    Hope you are feeling better and the home search is getting easier.
    Faylee

    • Stacy

      Ahhh. You must be referring to Dr. Enuf. :-) That’s Barry’s favorite soda.

  • http://wyomingstorygirl.wordpress.com Denise @ wyomingstorygirl.wordpress.com

    Strong woman to break a Dr. Pepper habit!

    • Stacy

      You got that right! :-)

  • http://thepurposedheart.com Mindy @ The Purposed Heart

    Oh Stacy, back in the day I was addicted to vanilla coke. It had to be a fountain pop like from a gas station with the vanilla syrup that they pumped in for you. I got to where I had one almost every day! Now, after not drinking pop at all for a LONG time, I think it tastes so gross! Like Anne said, I just want to spit it out :) It is amazing how your tastes change when you stop eating (or drinking) certain things!

    • Stacy

      Girl, I hated Vanilla Coke! Now, Cherry Coke is a different story. lol :-)

  • http://www.bestoffiverr.com Charleen Larson

    Yuck, I hate soda. Even non-diet soda tastes awful. I like ice water, cold enough so the water has no taste.

    I will occasionally have iced tea but I’ve trained myself to like the taste of it without sugar…which is the way tea is supposed to be consumed, anyway.

    My weakness is chai, spicy Indian tea with milk.

    • Stacy

      Barry LOVES unsweet tea. I’ve determined I’m going to teach myself to like it….later. lol

  • Lori

    You and I are on the same page where that cancer cancer causin, brain eating artificial hot mess is concerned. I do not even buy it and am trying like the dickens to get the dear sweetheart to stop. I will cop to having a coke every once in awhile as it does wonders for heartburn. I dearly love my coffee…we have a little (translate: rather large) mutual adoration society.

    • Stacy

      Wow! I had no idea that Coke was good for heartburn!! Thanks so much for sharing! :-)

  • http://www.yourthrivingfamily.com/ Sara Shay

    The evil carbonation has been hard for me to kick too! The longest I did it was NO caffeine for 7 months what I was pregnant with our first.

    • Stacy

      If I miss it now, I just make a stevia soda. :-)

  • http://vail-family.blogspot.com Emily

    I’ve never really been addicted to soda but as I’ve travelled along the “real food” path it no longer tempts me when we’re out – EVER. I can’t remember the last time I had some.
    However, I do LOVE me some club soda! It’s just carbonated water and it’s so refreshing. When I feel like I want a treat or a snack late at night I grab a can of that. No nasty ingredients or artificial sweeteners to worry about. Maybe your next pregnancy you could try that?

    • Stacy

      For some reason, I don’t care for it plain…but when I’m pregnant, I might. :-) Thanks for the suggestion!!

  • Benjamin

    Stacy, great article. I have given up sodas or pop as you call it as well as sweet tea, which was a difficult task being raised as a good southerner. I pretty much only drink water and coffee now. I need to kick my coffee habit too, but I figure I need at least one thing that is bad for me. Here is a good article about kicking the Mountain Dew habit and how it helps you lose weight. http://www.burnfatwithknowledge.com/i-cant-give-up-my-mountain-dew/

    • Stacy

      Whew, you’re right. Taking in that much sugar is awful for you…I was drinking diet, and didn’t lose any weight when quitting, but I did stop snacking at night with it. :-)

  • http://21stcenturyhousewife.com April @ The 21st Century Housewife

    Thank you for sharing your journey on cutting down on soda. I think moderation in everything is absolutely the key, and what you have done is a great achievement. You’ve also included some very practical tips too!

    • Stacy

      Thank you April. :-)

  • http://premeditatedleftovers.com Alea @ Premeditated Leftovers

    Great post! I gave up soda in January and followed a similar pattern to yours. My husband still drinks soda at work, but he knows not to bring it in the house. :)

    • Stacy

      :-) That made me grin. lol

  • http://www.allthesmallstuff-cole.blogspot.com Cole

    Way to go!!! I’ve *almost* cut soda out of my diet. I’ll only drink it now if I’m out ot eat. Carbonated water has been my saving grace – I have my flavor and my bubbles without any calories, sodium or other junk. :-)

    • Stacy

      :-) I think it’s awesome that some people can drink it occasionally…that’s exactly how Barry is.

  • http://wyomingstorygirl.wordpress.com Denise @ wyomingstorygirl.wordpress.com

    Thought I should come back and update you lady, after reading this I sucked the remainder and have been COLD TURKEY since. My husband has been gone on the road longer than that and doesn’t believe me. :p I made a pitcher of Minute Maid lemonade. yep. Caster Sugar like stuff and color. I’m going to wean myself to as weak as possible. I was never a plain water drinker as a preference so we’ll see how it goes. Otherwise I get too little sugar in my food which seems to upset my body to too low blood sugar.

    heeeheee at one point a couple of years ago I calculated that I used at least 100lbs of sugar a year for cooking or beverages. When I was preg with #2 and diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes I had to cut out my sweet tea (sympathizing with Benjamin). Lordy that was sad because I drank a gallon of sweet tea a day. When I cut that out I fell upon diet soda which I’ve always disliked but it was “still” soda and better than no soda. I’m trying to do no soda as part of the other things I’m doing nutrition-wise. Can’t do any types of teas anymore because of the kidney stones.

    My best success in cutting out chemicals and to avoid the kidney stone causing issues has been warm water with honey. sorry *ramble*ramble*

    • Stacy

      Warm water with honey is great when you’re sick! :-) Thanks for sharing your story with me…I hope you’ll keep me updated!!