If you’re Catholic like me, then you’ve already decided on what awful habit you’re going to be giving up for Lent. For the last few years, I’ve given up soda. It’s my fail-safe… just difficult and tempting enough to warrant a healthy break. Is that how Lent works? Anyway, come midnight Holy Thursday, I’ve got a 2-liter of Diet Coke and an ice-filled glass ready. That glass is usually the sweetest glass of the year.
If you were wondering if I’ve been going to the gym since my last post: I haven’t. But wait! Hear me out. If I start going the same week that I stop drinking soda, I’ll be able to see the effects of exercise with a diet sans the syrupy bubbly. Or I could just really upset myself, but I’m not counting on it because of all the cute workout clothes I have now.
What I’m hoping will happen is that I’m able to wean myself off soda completely. Okay maybe not completely, but to a point where I don’t have to order it when I’m out. I definitely want to stick to the no-soda-at-home thing I foolishly came up with, but I also just want to be in a place where If I go to Sizzler to enjoy a salad bar (and maybe some soft serve, I don’t know, let’s not rule that out), I will happily order a Raspberry Iced Tea instead of a Root Beer and have no qualms about it. If I snazz up some boring drinks, I think this initiative will be more successful as opposed to if I just drink lemonade and juice. I’ll still be craving the carbonation, me thinks. So here are my alternatives to soda for the next 40ish days (be warned: the most useful and healthy information is probably this first one here):
1. Sparkling water + flavor
When I say sparkling water, I also mean tonic water/seltzer/club soda. I’m not sure what the difference is, but basically fizzy water is what I mean. As for flavor, fruit juice is pretty good to mix with le fizz. Two parts carbonated water, one part juice, and you’ve got yourself a homemade Izze! Fruit juice alone can be high in sugar, so watering it down will make it less guilt-inducing to drink. I’ve done this with cranberry & grape juice, so I obviously know what I’m talking about. Sparkling water by itself is actually starting to grow on me. If you’re not a juice person, slicing up some fruits and letting them spread their sweet delicious juices into normal and/or carbonated water is just as good. Try cucumbers, oranges, lemons, raspberries, or strawberries, alone or mixed together! Yum. The rest of the fruits I cannot speak for because those are not my favorites.
2. Arnold Palmers
Tea and lemonade by themselves are given alternatives. But put them together… heaven! Arizona has started bottling their Arnold Palmers in 1-gallon jugs. They do the mixing for you! Have you guys seen that ESPN commercial where some guys watch Arnold Palmer make an Arnold Palmer? That was awesome.
3. Okay, tea
I hear home-brewed iced tea is best. When you’re out for dinner and are presented with the choices of soda, water, or iced tea, I’d say go for the iced tea and add half a packet of sugar. If you absolutely need the flavor to compliment whatever roast duck you’re enjoying and cannot deal with plain ol’ water, then go for the tea. Some places carry Raspberry Iced Tea… oOoOoh.
4. Herb things
Are you one of those cute girls who grows potted things on her window sill? Then that your ticket. Crush up some mint leaves, basil, or some ginger, mix with juice/water plus your choice of fruit, sugar to taste, and wha-BAM you are your own barista.
I don’t drink coffee, but whatever.
6. Sports drinks
I’m a big fan of Gatorade. My favorite flavor is Gatorade Rain Lime. I could drink that stuff like it was water. With the array of flavors and pretty jewel-toned colors, you are bound to find some that you like!
A girl at work who goes to the gym every day swears by vodka-waters because “there are like, no calories.” That’s all I can suggest because I don’t drink a whole lot. My drink of choice is usually something fruity and girly like cider.
You could go anywhere for this information, but coming from me, you know it’s real talk. Okay I’m not a health or nutrition nut so these suggestions, like most of my opinions, aren’t based on anything concrete. They’re simply ideas I’ve thought of to help make this Lenten season a bit more colorful and possibly rewarding. I guess you could say I’m sacrificing for both Jesus and for myself. Is that selfish? I don’t know. But listing them all out like this definitely helps and reassures me that I can live without soda! Good luck, fellow Christians. And people who like to go without things for 40 days. STAY STRONG.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have three hours to finish this brand new 2-liter of Diet Coke I just got from Target. I’m going to make myself so sick of it I won’t want it for like, five years!