Kicking the Pop Habit: 1 Year later

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"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 }

R Chandra March 22, 2011

can i just say how much i adore how in your smoothie pictures, the liquid is always slightly overflowing ? it makes it all look that much more tempting :D

i never, EVER drank diet drinks until a couple years ago. i’ve recently cut them out again and i feel great about it. water, water water! i still like the occasional vitamin water zero though :)

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Heather (heathers dish) March 22, 2011

That’s crazy in a good way to add chai to that smoothie…yum!

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Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman March 22, 2011

I gave up soda about six months ago and I’m surprised how easy it was. I do get tempted, though, when I’m eating popcorn or pizza, foods I associate with Diet Coke. Still, an iced tea takes the temptation away. Now if only I could get my husband to join me…

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Ashley March 22, 2011

Go Eric! My boyfriend has given up soda but he hasn’t replaced it with healthy juices or anything, and he still uses it in his mixed drinks. I’ve given it up and now it tastes terrible! I can’t believe how sweet and cheically it tastes.

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Jensine Crandall March 22, 2011

Thanks for the excellent and timely post. Eric should be so proud of himself. I need to kick the sugar habit and this was definately inspiring. I have cut down on my Starbucks chai habit(usually one a day-eek) and I am drinking a green monster instead. I can’t believe that I actually crave them now! Thanks for helping me make a better choice!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 22, 2011

nice work! :)

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Kath (My Funny Little Life) March 22, 2011

Congratulations on 1 year poplessness! :D :D :D I almost never drink them anymore as well, and if I do, I have a sugar free one because the sugar loaden ones make me feel bad for hours. So, maybe three times a year, I have a light coke, more often I don’t crave it anymore. Instead, it’s all about smoothies now. :D I don’t have a juicer, but I drink a lot of green smoothies and tea.

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faith @ lovelyascharged March 22, 2011

I actually remember when you first posted about his decision last year! Is it possible for that amount of time to have flown by already? WOW!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 22, 2011

I know, I couldnt believe it had been a YEAR!

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Karen March 22, 2011

I LOVE the quote you have up at the beginning of this post! Awesomesauce:)

Congrats to Eric! I have pretty much given up soda. I never buy it for home anymore. The only time I really drink it is if we go to a restaurant and I don’t feel like a beer or glass of wine. I still do enjoy an occasional fountain soda like that! But all in all, I just don’t have a taste for it anymore.

I also invested in a Breville juicer after seeing a Matha Stewart episode on detoxing/juicing. But I haven’t used it much. :( I made a lot of lemonade last summer for my family, but I’d really like to try some healthy fresh juice combos! I can’t wait to see what juice recipes you post!

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Stefanie March 22, 2011

Congratulations Eric! Keep up the great work. Don’t let your coworkers bring you down. It is your health, not theirs. :)

The biggest health change I have made was going vegan and I do not regret it at all.

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AGS March 22, 2011

I’ve never seen soda/pop as being “evil” — more like the type of “junk” food you should just limit (which I’ve never had a problem doing — I don’t have any real craving for it). BUT, any strong positive change like that is terrific. Congrats to Eric for taking this on.

This year, I decided I would focus on getting at least one meal focused on raw/vegan food most days/week. And I’m so glad that I decided to do that. Usually my lunch is a large salad, and often my dinner is at least 50% raw foods. It takes a bit of commitment, but is a pretty easy to follow habit.

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Ari@ThE DiVa DiSh March 22, 2011

Good Job! my hubby is a a soda drinker, and would love to stop, but he craves it so much! lol. But I am definitely going to have him read this. Maybe it could help him out :) Thanks for sharing!

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Bronwyn March 22, 2011

Love it, this is pretty inspiring. It’s a good example of “small changes” that become a big change. he really only changed one thing.

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Tessa @ Amazing Asset March 22, 2011

Congrats to Eric! Although I only drink Diet Coke 1-2 times per week, it is something I am trying to completely stop consuming. It is just plain bad for you, which I know, and this story came at a perfect time to give myself a kick in the butt!
That smoothie sounds great! And it looks so pretty, pink and spring-like :)

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Hannah March 22, 2011

Congrats to Eric! This is so great. It’s amazing when you make one change and stick with it for so long. I’d like to respect myself more, body mind, and soul.

Love the smoothie-would be perfect for Valentine’s day!

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Heather @ Get Healthy with Heather March 22, 2011

What a great and encouraging story! When I kicked pop a few years back it was like a new found energy emerged.

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Meredith March 22, 2011

I can’t believe it’s been a year! Holy moly time flies. Way to go Eric!! Ange, you clearly have a gift for inspiring healthy choices in people! What an awesome influence – on all of us!

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vanessa March 22, 2011

CONGRATULATIONS ERIC!! What a huge accomplishment, especially in the face of such foolish teasing. It reminds me of being in high-school, and getting teased by classmates for studying and doing well in class. Like… um… WHA?!??? And I LOVE the quote at the start of the post!! Thanks for some inspiration for the day <3

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Marina March 22, 2011

Congrats to Eric!
My bf made a lot of changes in his diet because of me, but he isn’t quite as healthy as I would like. But I think that each day, he tries to eat and life healthier, and that’s pretty awesome.

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Holly @ Couch Potato Athlete March 22, 2011

Congrats to Eric! I am actually sending this link to my husband who is a Coke drinker :( He tries to kick the habit but usually not for too long. I know he would feel better and have more energy if he didn’t rely on caffeine/soda to keep him alert.

Thanks for posting this!

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Emily March 22, 2011

Congratulations to Eric! That is really great. I think the most positive change I have made is running and race-training. It has made me realize that it is essential to properly nourish your body (with awesome vegan foods of course) in order to become stronger!

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Julia March 22, 2011

Congrats to Eric!
It’s amazin that he went trough with the changes towards a healthier lifestyle although other have been teasing him about this.
This teasing habit is something that I have to face quite regularly, too – and I don’t even follow a strict or extreme regimen! I really don’t understand why anyone has to justify oneself because of making choices towards a healthy/healthier lifestyle. That makes me sad!

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shana @100lbsandcounting.com March 22, 2011

Good for him!

My bf was also addicted to soda, could drink a liter a day. He too quit cold turkey, but first tried the Dr. Oz’s 28 day soda challenge. The challenge makes you take baby steps, first be switching from regular to diet, then to sugar free, then to caffeine free etc… well, the bf hated the taste of diet so much that he somehow was just able to give it up… it has been MONTHS since his last sip of soda (Sep 2010 to be exact). Yes, he still deals with some consequences of his soda addiction (has 7 cavities! – recent dentist check up), but I’m so proud of him for his accomplishment. =) YAY! and yay for Eric too!

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Kate - Bread & Chocolate March 22, 2011

Thanks, Eric! I’ve been off Diet Coke for a month now. At first I missed my afternoon pick up, but now I’ve stopped craving it. In the meantime I’m enjoying more smoothies and water with lemon or lime.

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Sabine @ thefruitpursuit March 22, 2011

Yay Eric! Amazing story. I feel like it’s such a big ‘man’ problem, all the soda, so be happy you beat this nasty habit :)

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Laura @ Starting Out Fit March 22, 2011

Wow, has it already been a year???
A big congrats to Eric for sticking with it. :)

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Stefanie @TheNewHealthy March 22, 2011

Congrats to Eric–that is so great! And it must have taken some serious willpower! :)

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Emily March 22, 2011

Congrats to Eric! My boyfriend is a pop drinker. He always asks me why he has cavities and stains on his teeth (not to mention a lot of tummy troubles), when I’ve never had a filling. I told him that I wasn’t allowed to drink a lot of pop growing up, and I rarely drink it now. I wish he would kick the habit, but he won’t listen to me; he needs to hear it for someone else, or have the will power to do it for himself. Maybe I’ll show him this post :).

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Lucy March 22, 2011

I have given up pop/soda/coke about 3 times and always come crawling back! I just need to kick the habit for good but why oh why does McDonalds diet coke taste so darn good (does anyone else agree with me on this?!) and why am I at McDonalds anyway?!

We recently moved right across the street from a park so my husband and I are trying to walk/run/bike several times a week. I can’t wait til May when the farmer’s market starts up!

Congrats Eric!

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Justeen @ Blissful Baking March 22, 2011

Congratulations to Eric!

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Michelle | GOLD-HEARTED GIRL March 22, 2011

I’m definitely aiming to make more snacks at home (read: larabars), since it’s soooo much cheaper. And fun! I have this mentality that it’s hard to find time, but when I finally get aronud to making them, I’m surprised by how quick it is!

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Moni'sMeals March 22, 2011

The best quote ever, I had to post it on my face book!

CONGRATS ERIC! He should feel so proud. :) It is hard to kick, soda is EVERYWHERE!

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Dana March 22, 2011

That is a great story.
Cpngrat’s to you Eric.

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Michelle March 22, 2011

That’s awesome – congrats, Eric! I used to be addicted to Diet Coke, and for years I convinced myself that, despite my otherwise healthy lifestyle, my two cans of Diet Coke a day weren’t doing me any harm. Last September 15, as an experiment, I decided to try to cut it out for 30 days, just to see if it had any effects on me. I honestly believed at the end of 30 days, I’d feel exactly the same and would go back to drinking Diet Coke once or twice a day.

Boy, was I wrong. Within 3 days I had a ton more energy, like I literally could not contain the excitement inside myself (I drink a cup of coffee in the AM, so it was never about the caffeine for me, rather about the sweetness). Since DC used to accompany my lunch and dinner, within about a week I started noticing that I was craving different things now that I was having water with meals instead of pop. No longer did I crave salty/carby things to balance out the sweetness, but I wanted more and more vegetables.

In addition to reseting my taste buds, I would also add that the first time I got my period after quitting DC was quite remarkable – I had zero PMS symptoms like I usually did. I started researching this to see what the connection was and found a lot of data to back that up. I certainly noticed a big difference in myself!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 22, 2011

Wow amazing!

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Lily's Health Pad March 22, 2011

Yay Eric! I, too, have given up soda. I do drink the occasional Zevia though. Now, the cravings are totally gone! And I just feel all around better. Plus, when I simply think about drinking a soda, I immediately associate it with the headaches it used to give me.

PS- Does Eric know Subway’s bread has HFCS in it? :-(

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 22, 2011

Really? I asked before and they said no glucose-fructose (which is what HFCS is called in Canada). I hope that isnt the case!

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Gail March 23, 2011

I just checked their website, and in the U.S. they do have high fructose corn syrup in their bread.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 23, 2011

I’m in Canada, but Im aware that the bread contains it in the US. Can’t find any info in Canada though. I don’t get why they have to use that stuff to begin with. Wouldn’t normal sugar be enough in a bread recipe?

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Gail March 24, 2011

Tell me about it. You would think so, but I guess with most companies it’s only the bottom line that matters. Groan!

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Kelsey March 22, 2011

wow good for Eric! that’s awesome. I recently became vegan (this past fall) and love it. surprisingly, I don’t crave cheese/eggs as much as I thought I would (I was already a vegetarian). And actually cheese looks less and less appealing to me…

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Lean Muscle Bound Gal aka Grace March 22, 2011

Congratulations to Eric for accomplishing 1 year of being a pop free human being! Woohoo! I can say that there have been several things that guided me to a healthier lifestyle and yes, I’ve always received flack from peers, even to this day. Recently, going on a year now, I’ve gone from a red meat and foul eater to a pescatarian/vegetarian. I would love to eventually become a full fledged vegetarian but am having a hard time giving up seafood. My goal in the past couple months is to become an even more clean eater and am accomplishing this day by day and seeing some marvelous results.

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Heather @ Health, Happiness, and Hope March 22, 2011

HUGE congrats to Eric for kicking the pop habit! It times time and effort to break an old habit or implement and new one. And thank you to Eric for doing the Q&A! So great to get his own thoughts. :)

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Clare @ Fitting It All In March 22, 2011

I used to drink about 4 diet cokes a day, but in my quest to get healthy I cut back by incorporating more water. When I started working full time I would have coffee in the morning and then slump and reach for diet coke in the afternoon. I gave up the diet coke in favor of tea, but eventually gave up caffeine all together. I thought not having coffee would be hard, but I’ve replaced it with hot lemon water and have TONS more energy!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 22, 2011

I enjoy lemon water too!

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Amber K March 22, 2011

Congratulations Eric! That’s awesome. And I’m totally drooling over that smoothie. Definitely a great way to celebrate.

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Shelley March 22, 2011

Yes, I just recently celebrated my anniversary of 1 year of sobriety (on Feb 18, 2011). Giving up alcohol definitely gets you a lot of questions and some not so supportive peer pressure to start drinking again. But I had to do it for myself. I have been completely sober for over a year and with sobriety and recovery has come so many positive changes in my life that I could never have imagined! I would love to stop drinking soda as well but I really only have 1 or 2 a month so it will just continue to be my guilty pleasures!! Love your blog, you really inspire me.
Shelley

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Michelle @ Lifewithacrazypup March 22, 2011

That’s awesome Shelley! Congrats!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 22, 2011

Congrats Shelley! What an accomplishment :)

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