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I Stopped Drinking Soda

Nah, just water.

Posted on 2021 December 30

This year I made a huge change in my life - I gave up soda.

I’ve been a huge fan of soda for basically my whole life. I would drink it with dinner as a kid, and when I finally started getting my own money I spent a lot of it just on soda. Since 2012 or so when I moved out during college, I’ve really been in overdrive on drinking soda pretty much every day. It’s embarrassing but there were some periods that I really didn’t drink much other than diet cola. I really enjoyed it but it’s not a life that I want to repeat.

I’ve had a water-drinking thought replaying in my head for a long time. I was at a friend’s apartment in college and I told him that I was hoping for a “Nice cold coke zero” with some food. He looked at me and just said: “Nah, just water” as he lifted up his big water bottle and took a huge swig of it. It replays in my head a lot.

Making the Change

Around June 2021 I decided to make a change in my life to cut out soda.

I drank my last can of Diet Pepsi, I poured out the rest of the 2 liter in the fridge, and I vowed to not buy any more.

I started to think that maybe my body really isn’t meant to drink this much soda and this much aspartame. I needed to take control of what I’m drinking. I can build a stable future for my health if I try to drink more natural things like water or seltzers with only natural flavoring.

It’s been really hard. I don’t think soda was an addiction for me but it was definitely a huge habit. Some days I don’t crave soda at all and water or seltzer is all I need. Other days a familiar food or flavor hits me and I crave it really badly. The best way to describe how I feel when I miss soda is like I can’t see a color anymore. I know the color exists, but I won’t let myself see it again.

Although stopping soda was a sudden change, it was at the end of a long progression. I took the personal leap only get water at restaurants around 2018. At home I tried drinking a cup of water between every cup of water starting from 2019.

Thinking on the Habit

I drank soda every day, with lunch and dinner and usually more in the evening while gaming or relaxing. It was such a fixture of my diet that I didn’t really think about it.

It was really nice and refreshing to get that overwhelming fizz when I drank it. A nice, crisp burp, all from a cold cola. I felt like it focused my mind and it was always comforting to me. I used to joke that soda was the mana potion of my life.

In 2018 when I was on vacation in Europe, I couldn’t find Diet Pepsi anywhere. I didn’t really go looking for it because I didn’t want to waste any vacation time on finding soda, but I found it in two places:

  1. A can on an airplane for 3.5€ (I know, pricy 😰) ✈
  2. An empty can, in Japanese, thrown into a planter on a street in Paris

It’s a fun story to think about, but I hate how aware and sensitive I was about it.

No to ‘Sugary Drinks’

This got me to really re-evaluate what people are really saying when they “Hate Sugary Drinks”. I drank diet/zero sugar so I never really thought about what I was drinking as being that bad.

Honestly it kind of felt like it wast just an easy way for people to pretend to be healthy, by attacking the vile soda drinkers. Imagery of people losing teeth or gaining weight, all because of their decision to drink a soda! *gasp*

When I was getting ready to stop drinking soda, I read a post talking about the content of a regular soda and it’s nutty, it’s like a candy bar! The post wondered if an average person would eat a candy bar with every meal, because that’s an equivalent to what’s being drunk in sugar.

I was drinking multiple cans a day! I didn’t like that idea, and I’m the one who can decide this for me!

It’s an incredibly unbalanced thing to belong in meal plan or diet. I would rather eat a whole bowl of grapes than drink even just one can of soda! I get why sugary drinks are so hated - it’s too easy to punish your body with them!

I started getting worried about insulin resistance. Full sugar soda is what studies tend to research but I started to see news articles that said diet soda can still train a response in your body to ignore sweet flavors since it’s always a false alarm. I really didn’t like the idea of my body just ignoring sweet flavors, so that was a red flag to me. 🚩

Drink Menu

So what do I drink now? Well it’s not carbonation-free, but the idea is to stop drinking the major soda products, so:

  • 💧 Water 💧
  • Seltzer (Aha, Bubbly, La Croix)
  • Sparkling Water (Sparkling Ice, the Kroger generic brand)
  • Tea - I usually drink decaffeinated if I can and throw a lime or a lemon in there
  • Juice - Cranberry, Orange, Sparkling Cranberry, Botanical Sparkling ex Cherry

So where do I slip up?

Haha, yep, I’m human too!

I drink some booze that might as well be soda like Mike’s Harder or Twisted Tea. I’ve had some botanical sodas (I like lavender flavor!) but I check that there is no aspartame first, and that it’s sugar instead of a substitute. If I’m going to drink a ‘soda’, then I want it to be real sugar so my body processes it correctly.

Sometimes I’ll drink a monster energy if I’m really crashing or need to make sure I don’t fall asleep. That’s p much a soda. 😝

I miss whiskey + coke zero 😔 It’s more vodka + cranberry or whiskey + water nowadays, or a nice sweet sangria!


In my head every time I’m thirsty: Nah, just water.


Thank you for reading!

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