Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Sparkling

Instead of going through at least a couple of 2-liter bottles of Diet Coke a week, we've lugged home only two or three bottles in the past year. And it's not because we switched to cans.

Our Diet Coke addiction has officially been broken, since we've both stopped craving the stuff
(for the most part) for well over a year. We both went from drinking a few tall glasses daily to ordering one only occasionally when we go out, — if we're indulging ourselves with a cheeseburger and onion rings, for example, as we do three or four times a year. In restaurants, we usually stick with water now, or perhaps a ginger ale. We drink a lot more water at home, too, often flavored with a little juice. (We've gotten over our Coke addiction, see, but not our sweet tooth.)

I was raised in an Italian family where a bowl of pasta always came with a Coke, not a glass of wine; my addiction may not be genetic, but it ran in the family. As a kid, I thought it was that normal that my grandmother got huge monthly Coke deliveries to her basement from the same red truck that supplied the restaurants and grocery stores nearby. She had tall stacks of wooden crates with six-packs of glass bottles. Carrying a couple of them upstairs (you had to go outside; her house had a weird set-up) was one of my first chores as a kid.

Until recently, I considered Diet Coke to be my Universal Solvent, the drink that went with everything, especially burritos, Indian food, and pizza. Underlying its initial sweetness, I thought it had a nasty bitterness — which I loved. Now, I mostly taste the chemicals and I don't enjoy it. I'm finally over it — and regular Cokes usually seem too sweet. The brand has finally lost its power to leach calcium from my bones and screw up my metabolism with its fake sweetness.

So, how did we achieve this? With self-denial and fortitude? Oh no....

We bought a SodaStream soda maker from the KitchenWares shop on Newbury Street. We've had it for about a year and a half, and it's saved us. We're still drinking about a glass of soda a day, but the flavors we like — after some experimenting, we stick with orange, root beer and cranberry-raspberry — aren't as bad for us as Diet Coke. (Its phosphoric acid leaches calcium from bones and it also has Aspartame, a controversial artificial sweetener.) We also like to make fancier sodas with Italian syrups: apricot, vanilla, tangerine, toffee...

One step at a time, we plan to break our entire soda habit. The flavors we use are beginning to seem overly sweet and strong to me, so I'm going to try adding drops of SodaStream's flavored "fruit essences" to our fizzy water instead. That will be my next step toward becoming Soda Free. If I can kick a nearly 50-year Coke habit, I can go all the way.

4 comments:

  1. The universal beverage that goes with burritos, Indian food, and pizza is generally referred to as "beer," but since you don't drink beer then you should probably stick to your sodas.

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  2. Diet Pepsi addict here - pondered the soda stream, but haven't taken the leap. I know it is healthier than the bottled and canned stuff - but how does it compare cost wise to use the soda stream????

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  3. We buy bottles of their flavors for between $5 and $7 and each makes about 12 liters, or about $2 for the equivalent of a 2-liter bottle of regular soda. So it's not really cheaper if you're used to getting your soda on sale for as low as $1/bottle or less. On the other hand, you're getting a more "gourmet" soda for the price. You can also find the SodaStream flavors for less, and use coupons at places like BB&Beyond, to get the price lower. Or buy Italian syrups when you find a bargain. The other expense is the CO2 cylinder. We're on our 3rd since November 2011 and it's still going strong; it's the large size. So we're replacing that maybe once a year. It's much easier carrying home a cylinder once a year and shlepping and storing all those bottles of Coke! We don't mind paying a little more to free up storage space in our tiny kitchen and being free from lugging heavy groceries in the city.

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  4. Alas, I can't be trusted to do math before 9 am.... a bottle of SodaStream soda costs about $1, not $2, so it's about that same as stocking up on Coke or Pepsi on sale.

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