Kicking the Pop Habit: 1 Year later

198 comments

"Watch your thoughts; they become words.
Watch your words; they become actions.
Watch your actions; they become habits.
Watch your habits; they become character.
Watch your character; it becomes your destiny."
~Lao-Tze

IMG 7263   Kicking the Pop Habit: 1 Year later

If you are a new reader, you may not know that just over 1 year ago, Eric decided to eliminate pop from his diet.

Since he was a young boy, he was hooked on pop, specifically Coke. During university, he often drank up to 6 cans a day as a way to stay awake during late nights. He cut back after university, but he still drank 2-3 cans of Coke during the work day to give him a boost.

Back in 2008, Eric wanted nothing more than to have his picture taken beside this retro Coke truck in Istanbul!

Istanbul7   Kicking the Pop Habit: 1 Year later

If you would have asked him back then if he would ever give up pop, he would have laughed in your face!

But he suffered from constant sugar cravings, migraines, fatigue, cavities, and more which he believed were mostly due to the large amount of pop he consumed each day. He knew that something needed to change, but he didn’t quite know how to make the change. Or if he could succeed.

When we vacationed to Florida last March, Eric decided to drink pure fruit juice to satisfy his cravings instead of relying on pop. The sunny, warm weather and delicious fresh fruits and vegetables made it relatively easy for him to focus on drinking natural juices and smoothies while on vacation. It was also during this time that he decided to give up his favourite cereal that contained High Fructose Corn Syrup, instead opting for an organic cereal by Nature’s Path. It took a couple bowls to get used to, but after he did, he said it was a really easy switch. Now he eats Nature’s Path Spelt cereal and sprinkles some raisins and chia seeds on top. I never thought I would see the day!

He also discovered that he really loves drinking juice and smoothies and felt more energized than ever.

IMG 9269   Kicking the Pop Habit: 1 Year later

This vacation was truly worth its weight in GOLD health!

Inspired by how great he felt while away, he decided to stick with his new eating plan. He drank 100% pure juice, tea, or smoothies when he craved pop and he also kept buying organic cereals free of HFCS.

And then he said something that I never thought I would hear come out of his mouth…

‘Ange, I have decided to completely cut out pop from my diet….for good.’

I was so proud of him at that moment because I know how difficult it would be for him. I could tell that he was a bit scared, but he was also very proud of his accomplishments, now 2 weeks without pop. With each day, he gained momentum, but the road wasn’t always a smooth one!

When Eric told some coworkers that he was cutting out pop from his diet, he got a lot of flack and teasing for it (in addition to his healthier eating in general) and this made it difficult for him, but the resistance from others actually made him want to stick to his guns even more! He was more convinced than ever that this choice was the right one for him. Whenever someone scoffed at him for passing up pop or junk food, it only made him more determined to stick with it. And he has also become very well versed with comebacks. ;)

Today, we celebrate Eric being 100% free of ALL POP for 1 year! Congrats Eric!

I asked Eric to comment on his journey over the past year, so you can hear it straight from the man himself.

We did a little Q & A together last night…

How did you do it?

Cold Turkey. :)  With lots of support from Ange.

Did you ever feel tempted to cheat, if so how did you overcome it?

Not really tempted to “cheat”, but there were times after doing work outside (in the yard) when I craved a Coke.  I usually would try to get my fix through something else. Originally, I thought it was the caffeine that I craved, so I would try to drink Tea, but then I realized that didn’t really help much. I figured out that it is the sugar that I craved so I would drink a juice instead.  While juices aren’t much better in terms of sugar, I would make sure there was no HFCS/glucose fructose in it, and at least this way I’m having a more natural sugar source. I also realized that it is very difficult to find juice without HFCS/glucose fructose hiding in it. Sometimes, the restaurant or café I go to for lunch doesn’t have any options at all. I tend to look for 100% pure apple juice and I can find it at places like Subway. I would guess that 98% of the juices for sale have HFCS/glucose fructose in them.

Was it as difficult as you thought to kick your pop habit?

I actually didn’t think it would be that hard, but it was fairly difficult.  Mostly from peer pressure.  Co-workers constantly try to give me pop and they place them on my desk in front of me. Sometimes they would hide cans of Coke in our house too.  Most of my co-workers don’t see the need to eat healthy so it is difficult on me when I am the only one out of the group who wants to eat better.

Do you think you will ever go back to drinking pop?

No.  I’m tempted to get a rum/coke sometimes for a drink when we go out as I used to have it as an alternative to beer every once in a while, but I feel like I would be cheating so I don’t even do that.

How do you feel now?

It took quite a while to feel any difference. While drinking coke I would get the 2 or 3pm slump, but to get over it I used to drink even more coke (it’s a vicious cycle).  After a few months of not drinking coke (and I think it took at least 3 months to feel this way), the 2 or 3pm slump wasn’t nearly as bad.  Sure, every once in a while I’m tired in the afternoon, but nothing even close to what I was back then.  I also don’t drink juice as much as I did when I first quit drinking coke, so now I’m probably a little lower in sugar intake. I don’t get the highs and lows as much as I used to. The juice was a good substitute initially, but I find I don’t ‘need’ it as much anymore. I also lost about 10 pounds which was an added bonus.

Any final words to those people out there who want to kick a bad habit?

Definitely go for it! You may think it is such a small change and it may take time to notice anything, but it will make a huge difference in your life. I found that by making this healthy change in my life, I was inspired to make other changes in my life that I never expected. One healthy change gives you momentum for other healthy changes. When I eliminated pop my coworkers stopped drinking it as frequently too. While my coworkers would argue that it had nothing to do with me, I think healthy changes rub off on other people overtime, even without asking anyone to change.

 

We made one of his favourite smoothie combos to celebrate. :)

IMG 3227   Kicking the Pop Habit: 1 Year later

Strawberry Banana Chai Smoothie

Yield: 2 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 frozen bananas
  • 3/4 cup frozen strawberries
  • 2 cups non-dairy milk
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 scoop Vega Vanilla Chai protein powder

 

Serving Suggestion: Close your eyes, sit in front of a space heater, and pretend you are in Florida. ;)

 

Have you ever made a healthy change in your lifestyle? If so, what was it and how did you do it? Did you have any peer pressure or resistance from other people?

Or are there any changes that you want to make in your lifestyle this Spring?

Eric’s 1 year anniversary has encouraged me to question what positive change I could make in my own life this Spring. Yesterday, I decided to bring out my juicer and start juicing a few times a week again. We juiced a lot last summer and felt amazing, so I would really like to start this up again. Spring is always a great time to make a new change!

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{ 198 comments… read them below or add one }

J3nn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog) March 22, 2011

Congrats to Eric!! That’s fantastic.

I have a similar story: My husband was also addicted to soda (Coca-Cola!) his entire life. He drank 6-10 cans a day or more; some days, that’s ALL he consumed calorie-wise! :shock: His whole family drinks it all throughout the day, and he had been talking about giving it up, but when we visited his family last spring, he saw their total dependence on it and how generally unhealthy they are, so shortly after he gave it up!! :D Cold turkey! He still drinks ginger ale and root beer on occasion, usually when we eat out, but he’s reduced his consumption by at least 90-95%. His one-year Coke-free anniversary is almost here, so proud of him!

And my husband also drinks a lot more 100% fruit juice. Still, not THE best choice of calories, but better than soda, especially because he doesn’t have much of an appetite and needs some kind of caloric intake. :)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 22, 2011

Wow congrats to your husband!!!

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Jessica @ How Sweet It Is March 22, 2011

That is so exciting! Congrats to Eric!

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Stacy @ Every Little Thing March 22, 2011

I switched from regular to diet pop many years ago but have been addicted to Diet Pepsi ever since (specifically Diet Cherry Pepsi…). It stands in the face of all the healthy eating I blog about daily, and I hate it! All those chemicals and artificial sweeteners…yuck.

So I decided to try and kick the habit this Lent, and so far so good! It’s difficult. It’s not the caffeine for me, but the carbonation. I love that “kick” that carbonation gives you! To replace it, I drink a can of LaCroix (all natural carbonated water) and it helps. It’s been a few weeks now and I do still crave it on a warm afternoon, but I’m getting there. I’ve been drinking a lot more iced tea (unsweetened of course), WATER, and sparkling water.

I felt like a hypocrite for so long, blogging about eating kale and almonds while chugging a Diet Pepsi. Now I feel a lot more true to myself and my lifestyle!

Great post…good for Eric!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 22, 2011

Way to go! :) I have heard people say they miss the carbonation, but Eric was never crazy about it. I think people get hooked on it for different reasons and finding a replacement is key!

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Julie @ Honey B. Nutrition March 22, 2011

Good for him!! My husband did the same just over a year ago! He has had an irregular heartbeat for almost ten years and suddenly it’s back to normal! Coincidence? I doubt it!

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Emily March 22, 2011

Congratulations Eric!! My biggest things to kick in my life have been fried food, dairy, and artificial sweetners; all of which I am so much happier and healthier without :)

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Katie March 22, 2011

Congratulations to your husband! That’s awesome. I stopped drinking all pop when I got pregnant two years ago and it definitely wasn’t easy! I was very addicted to Diet Coke.

Is that a glass straw in your smoothie? If so, how do you like them? I drink a lot of smoothies and was thinking about getting some.

I’m a new reader and love your blog. :) Your pictures are all amazing. Thanks for such great posts!!!

Katie

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Jess@atasteofconfidence March 22, 2011

Congrats Eric! I know how hard this is: I gave up pop (mostly diet) a year and a half ago. I feel SO much better without it!

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Maryea @ Happy Healthy Mama March 22, 2011

Way to go, Eric! This is such an encouraging story.

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Leanne March 22, 2011

Congratulations to Eric!

I gave up my loooove, Orange Pekoe tea for lent & have switched to drinking green tea. I know it doesn’t seem like much but I have become quite addicted to my black tea in the last couple years, usually having 3-4 big cups in the morning before work! I’ve also become dependent on the caffeine to keep me awake & wanted to kick this habbit to the curb!

I’ve wanted to do this for awhile because my dentist said that dark tea stains your teeth (I want nice pearly whites for my wedding!).

At first I found it very hard to enjoy green tea, but I must say that I’m doing fantastic now. I’m happy that I’m not so dependent on tea to give me that boost of energy, and I actually like the taste of green tea now.

A simple switch, but I feel like it’s healthier for me!

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Amy March 22, 2011

I’ve received a lot of comments since going vegetarian/vegan almost 4 years ago, but I know that those people are simply uneducated and believe in the Canada Food Guide, so it’s really easy to brush it off.

I’m the one who cooks supper at home, and my dad often makes jokes when talking to certain other people, saying that he’s so weak and needs his meat. lol He does it to be funny – I don’t think he really cares that much, and I still cook some sort of meat every couple weeks for him. Saturday, my grandmother called and said that they were leaving on vacation and that they had some ground turkey for him if he wanted it. He RAN around the corner and down the road to their house, just to make us laugh. I’m just thankful he didn’t go arms flailing like he said he would. LOL

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Amy March 22, 2011

Shoot, I hit submit without saying

CONGRATS, Eric!

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Lisa Fine March 22, 2011

Congratulations, Eric!

My partner used to drink at least two bottles of Diet Coke a day, but as he learned more about healthy eating, he switched over to seltzer, and realized that he was craving a cold, bubbly drink, and not necessarily the caffeine or sweetness.

He’ll still enjoy a soda every few weeks or so, but loves his seltzer and sparkling water. He feels healthier and less groggy, too.

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Angela @ MyPinkyToes March 22, 2011

I’m with Stacy in this one, but my unhealthy food habit was candy (if you call that a food)! I felt like a hypocrite trying to live a healthy lifestyle all while being addicted to candy! So, my New Year’s resolution this year was to run my first half marathon and also to give up candy. I gave it up cold turkey, and I run my first half marathon in a few weeks! Now that I don’t eat it anymore, my body doesn’t even crave it. Instead I will crave fresh fruit…so good! Now I am feeling stronger than ever and I feel like I could do a whole marathon someday! Have you done a full marathon before?

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Colleen March 22, 2011

Giving up soda is so hard! I find I get caught in an on-again/off-again with it, but after a while, I realized my favorite part was the carbonation (like Eric I tried subbing caffeine or sweetness, but it didn’t seem to cut it!)

I’ve been following OSG for a little over 6 months now, and it’s helped me (inspired me) to make the change to somewhere between vegan & vegetarian, so I want to give you a big heart-felt thank-you, Angela! [Note: My non-vege family has devoured everything I've made from your blog.] I’m really interested to hear about juicing too :-) This Spring feels ripe with opportunity.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 22, 2011

Thank you Colleen!

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kell March 22, 2011

congrats to Eric, what a huge accomplishment!!!
ps. i love that you call it ‘pop’ :)

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Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat March 22, 2011

Congratulations Eric! I remember when you posted a little while ago Ange, about how it had been 6 months or something since Eric had kicked the habit.. I can’t believe it’s now a full year!!!
This spring, I’m making a conscious effort to (again) reduce the amount of artificial sweetener in my diet. I’m a gum-a-holic, but I also get into the habit of drinking Crystal Light and other similar drinks to try to get more water. I’m hoping with the warmer weather coming that I’ll actually feel thirstier (in the winter I never feel like drinking plain, cold water). I’ve tried giving up artificial sweeteners before but I keep coming back, so hopefully 2011 will be the year I do it for good! :)

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Sarah March 22, 2011

Congratulations to Eric! His commitment to health and staying away from pop is really impressive. Even more so, I love that link between your good example rubbing off on him, and then his good example rubbing off on his coworkers.

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Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg March 22, 2011

So amazing!!! Congrats to Eric for making this change and, more importantly– making it STICK!

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Caitlin @ The Caitie Experiment March 22, 2011

Congratulations, Eric!! Andrew is using Lent as his motivation for trying to kick his soda habit this year — two weeks in and nary a drop (for the religious aspect, he’s donating all the money he is saving to charity)! I feel terrible when I inadvertently tempt him (which isn’t often, since I rarely drink soda), but he is sticking to it and is excited to see if he feels any different. Thanks to Eric for answering your questions about his experience; now I have some info to pass along (especially the part about it taking awhile to feel the difference!). Between the two of us (him=soda, me=meat), our grocery bill is LOVING Lent this year, so those charities are going to end up winning big time in the end!

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Julie @ Shining From Within March 22, 2011

Congrats to Eric! I’d drink that smoothie over soda ANY day of the week! I cut out soda about 2-3 years ago and NEVER looked back. It does nothing for me.

I think one habit I’d like to get back into is juicing too! Also to try and cut back on sweets ;)

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Eates-a-Lot March 22, 2011

Congrats to Eric!

I gave up Coke for Lent about 8 years ago…. best decision I ever made. I totally stopped for 40 days and I haven’t gone back since. I do drink it every once in a while. But I rarely crave it. I even drink ‘Jack and Sprite’ and not coke.

If you need anytype of ‘sugar’ fix.. I drink Benefiber in the morning (I don’t have a gallbladder)
and I noticed that if I drink it, my cravings for sweets are gone for the rest of the day.. and it has fiber for you!

Best wishes!

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jenny March 22, 2011

I went 6 years without soda at all, thanks to my mom. She saw how much my sister and I drank soda when she bought it,.so.she started buying water. Never looked back.
I was very proud when my boyfriend gave up drinking soda so much. Now we only drink organic root beer with our Friday dinner. We were desperate and had a sprite out once and the carboration was so bad, we had to throw it away!
I teared up a little when I saw Dustin reading labels for HFCS. And yesterday he dipped his cookies in almond milk. It was a beautiful sight to see :-)
AND CONGRATS TO ERIC!! I think he inspired me.to give up rum and coke too.

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Lauren at Keep It Sweet March 22, 2011

Congrats to Eric! I imagine that cutting anything from your diet that you consume so regularly would be really hard. It is great that he feels so much better now!

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Natalie @ Will Jog For Food March 22, 2011

Congratulations Eric! It must be so hard to kick something cold turkey….but it can’t be bad going from Soda to Smoothies ;)

Were you guys in Ft Lauderdale in that picture?? Looks like you’re right next to my house! hehehe

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 22, 2011

Yes we were :)

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Jennifer March 22, 2011

Congratulations, Eric! That is super great! Huzzah for you!

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CathyK March 22, 2011

i DO remember last year when eric gave up coke! WAY TO GO, eric!
i really enjoyed the q & a, above, angela – thanks for sharing, both of you.
inspired by eric, in part, i stopped diet coke last spring. over the past year, i’ve been on again, off again (currently on again, one diet coke every 1-2 days – reduced a lot, at least)…i think i am going to print out this post as motivation to stop FOR GOOD, though.
thanks so much for the coke update, ang!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 22, 2011

nice work Cathy!

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CathyK March 22, 2011

thanks, angela!
update: i DID just pour my last three pops down the drain, and i have printed out your post from today. that’s it!

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Christina March 22, 2011

Ah, congrats Eric! So awesome! What an awesome post.

I did the same thing about a year ago and it has inspired me to make healthier choices as well! Whenever I drank soda, I always felt so sluggish and bloated. Even though I drank it to quench my thirst, it always made me thirstier. Drinking liquid sugar was doing absolutely nothing for my health so I decided to cut it out too! It was incredibly hard and my friends always tried to tempt me but I was able to last a year without drinking a soda and quite frankly, I have no desire to even take a sip.

It’s a very hard thing to give up but it feels so good once you do! :) Those strawberry banana chai smoothies look so good!

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Leah (The Kind Weight Watcher) March 22, 2011

Congrats to Eric for kicking the coke habit for an entire year!

I’ve made so many healthy changes in the last two years.

* First, I joined Weight Watchers in May of 2009.
* Then I quit smoking in July 2009.
* I began learning to enjoy exercise some time in late ’09 (not sure exactly when this clicked, but it was around then).
* I became vegetarian in 2010, went full-out vegan on April 13, 2010
* started my own healthy living blog!!!
* I’ve lost 70 pounds since beginning my weight loss in May ’09
* I’m slowly weaning myself off of Weight Watchers and becoming an intuitive eater who focuses on mostly whole foods (this is largely inspired by you, Ange! Thanks.)
* I recovered from eating disorders (anorexia, recovery, anorexia again, recovery, binge-eating, Weight Watchers/recovery) which I have suffered with since I was 19.

Needless to say, I’m sooooooooo proud of myself! I am looking forward to each new goal reached, and am happy to be the healthiest I’ve ever been.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 22, 2011

Wow congrats!!!!!!!!

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Leah (The Kind Weight Watcher) March 22, 2011

Thanks. :-)

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AGS March 22, 2011

I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy hearing about others’ success. It’s like a little kick of upbeat energy in the middle of the day. I found that when I achieved moving from monitoring calories/nutritional goals (which is usually a necessary step for most folks — so I have no problem with it), to finally working to just eat the best foods intuitively and with hunger cues that I felt I was really about the happiest I had ever been with regard to me+food. So good luck with that!!

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jenna March 22, 2011

congrats eric!!! that is awesome! I think its awful erics friends/coworkers teased him instead of fully supporting him. I see that alot at work. people laugh or get ‘grossed’ out when they see people eating healthy yet they come in with a huge soda and fast food sandwich for breakfast, then a few hours later complain of being tired and not feeling well….duh?? I will never forget a coworker almost dying when she saw my green moster on my desk one morning!! LOL LOL she totally freaked out and i wanted to say you want me to bring you one tomorrow? hee hee hee!!

on the green monster note, i asked my daughter this morning if she wanted some of the strawb/banana smoothie i was making and she came out and wrinkled up her nose “NO. I only like the green ones!!!” moooohahahhahhahahaha!! Maybe we will be serving green monster smoothies at her next bday! ;)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 22, 2011

haha that’s cute!

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Chelsea March 22, 2011

Congrats!

P.S. As a native Western New Yorker living in NYC, I appreciate when someone says pop instead of soda!

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Katie March 22, 2011

What kind of juicer do you have? I was thinking of investing in one this spring. :) It gets expensive buying fresh juice at the organic store!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 22, 2011

I have a Breville Fountain Plus :)

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Nicole P March 22, 2011

what do you drink throughout the day? will you either let me know, or add it ino a post? i am trying to not drink soda or hfcs, but what else is there except water and tea? i don’t have a juicer, and much of the juices you buy have so much sugar, it’s ridiculous.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 22, 2011

He drinks tea, 100% pure juice or water throughout the day.

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AGS March 22, 2011

My husband and I drink a lot of homemade iced tea in the summer. My favorite, though, is simply to have regular seltzer water, with a generous splash of orange juice (which really is one the cheapest juices on the market — and easy to find one that isn’t a juice “drink”, but actually 100% juice). Give it a try.

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Nicole P March 22, 2011

i will, thank you!

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Lisa March 22, 2011

Try making pitchers of water with cucumber slices, strawberries/mint, orange slices, lemon slices. Pretend you are at a spa!! In the summer I also love iced tea with a splash of pineapple juice.

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Jess March 22, 2011

Congrats, Eric!! I’ve mostly weened myself from pop as well (and I’m so glad you say ‘pop’, and not ‘soda’), though every once in a while I’ll have a can if it’s free…I regret it about 1/3 of the way through. :)

Coffee consumption is probably something I should consider decreasing…but I only drink it with skim or soy milk?

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coffeeaddict March 22, 2011

Congratulations to Eric! An inspiring achievement. Though I was shocked to read what a hard time his coworkers gave him. Truly rude and unthoughtful!!!! Seriously, will people ever learn to respect that we are all entitled to our own beliefs?
I’m happy to say I’ve had tremendous support and understanding from the people around me when I decided to become vegetarian.

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Jennifer @ keepitsimplefoods.com March 22, 2011

I love that you guys call is “pop!” That’s so cute. ;) Congrats on a job well done!

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Jenn from Much to My Delight March 22, 2011

That’s a really great commitment to make! May I ask if Eric lost any weight from that one change? I’ve heard of people who lost 20-30 pounds just by eliminating the 4-5 sodas they drink per day. I haven’t cut it entirely, but because I drink it so rarely, when I do it actually makes my throat burn. That can’t be good!

I’ve found that drinking sparkling water is a fantastic alternative to drinking soda because you get the health benefit of drinking water and the fizzy fun of soda/pop.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 22, 2011

He lost 10 pounds

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Jennie March 22, 2011

Will you post some of your fav juicing recipes? I just received a juicer as a Christmas gift and want to get into juicing. I would appreciate some great recipes!

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Andrea B. @ Vegvacious March 22, 2011

Yayyy for Eric! It’s amazing how difficult such a small change can be and what significant results you notice in the end ~ my hubby’s family are big pop drinkers and several of his aunts and uncles are now being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Connection?? – I would say probably yes.

My goal this Spring is to eat one large salad per day. It’s combined with my effort to get healthier and more fit :-)

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Jillian @ Reshape Your Life March 22, 2011

Congratulations Eric!

Do ya’ll have a juicer? I have one and I would never even think about buying juice at a store anymore. Then you could juice all of your own fruit and vegetable juice and not have any added sugar. :)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 22, 2011

yes we do :)

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Liz March 22, 2011

Congratulations to Eric! I was just like him only with diet coke and diet soda. It was such a part of my identity (I was always known for sucking down the stuff) that I thought I could never give it up. With the exception of one or two slipups, I’ve gone without any artificially sweetened beverages or soda for about 4 months now, and think it was a great decision. I find I crave sugar a lot less and that my gums have become much healthier. Despite that these drinks did not contain actual sugar, I still had tons of withdrawal syptoms for about 2 weeks. I’ve substituted sparling water with a little bit of 100% juice when I need some bubbles and allow myself one coconut water per day for variety.

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Margaret March 22, 2011

I gave up soda when I was just 16 (10 years ago…hard to believe)! I gave it up for Lent and just never went back to drinking it. I was never really ADDICTED to soda, but I drank more than my fair share and it was always stocked in the fridge. I don’t miss it at all, and the smell of the syrupy stuff makes me cringe. I don’t even have it in mixed drinks — I’ve never had a rum and Coke and I’m totally OK not ever trying it! Sometimes my parents even forget that I don’t drink soda and offer me a Coke…at which point I politely remind them that I haven’t had a soda in TEN YEARS! Congrats on making it to the one-year mark!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 22, 2011

WOW 10 years….amazing accomplishment!

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