Welcome to the latest from Wellness Council, our handpicked holistic health squad: a tightly curated group that gives the best advice this side of your own personal guru.
Here, celebrity nutritionist, entrepreneur, and best-selling author Kimberly Snyder, shares some real talk about getting off the sauce…er, soda.
What she writes about next is up to you—tell us what what you’re dying to know! Send questions and ideas to email@example.com.
It’s true: We all have our food and drink addictions. For me it’s dark chocolate, which I admit I eat just about every day (even if a tiny amount). For many, it’s diet soda.
We all know it contains caffeine and artificial sugar that is extremely sweet (sickeningly sweet if you’re not used to it). Still, diet soda is something many people can’t quite give up, as something to reach for when you’re tired and thirsty—or a little down and need a liquid lift.
What many people fail to realize is diet soda isn’t “okay” to drink simply because it has no calories. Its artificial sweeteners can be neurotoxic, and diet soda is extremely acid-forming overall, which can cause minerals and B-vitamins to be leached from your body.
It’s as artificial as can be, and it’s not in alignment with what we’re naturally meant to digest—therefore causing you to look as if you’ve aged faster. I’ve seen many “old skinny” people, with withered skin and bony fingers clinging to their diet soda cans. Scary but true.
Time and again, though, people tell me that there is just something about it that really hits the spot. But the question is: Why? Why do you feel that diet soda is doing something good for you, when there’s no way that is true? The next time you get the urge to reach for a diet soda—something that is inarguably dreadful for your health and beauty, ask yourself, “Where exactly is the itch, and is this really the only way to scratch it?”
Try looking at [quitting diet soda] as an opportunity to choose something that can help shift your mood while adding value instead.
Also, start to notice when you really crave diet soda, mood-wise. Did you get assigned an annoying work project by your boss? Are you feeling lonely there isn’t someone to greet you at home at the end of the day, and you want a can as soon as you walk in?
Try looking at it as an opportunity to choose something that can help shift your mood while adding value instead. My favorite fast mood-shifter is kicking off my shoes and walking barefoot on the earth (it’s officially called “grounding” or “earthing”). Or, as soon as you get home, try changing your clothes and go for a walk or a jog, especially if you’ve been cooped up inside all day. And during your workday, try eating lunch outside or walk around the office to a colleague’s desk for a little pick-me-up.
On a positive note, there are pleasurable things about diet soda. The fizzy nature of the soda can definitely add a little sparkle to your day. The sweet taste gives an “up” feeling, and can make you feel like you are shifting your mood when you feel down, lonely, or sad. To ditch diet soda for good, you just have to find ways to get that buzz without downing any more brown stuff.
So, with that in mind, here are three drinks to reach for when diet soda fever strikes and you want a quick hit of something fizzy and sparkly. (Bonus: They’re super healthy.)
This is a line of soft drinks sweetened with stevia. In moderation, this would be a good first move away from your typical diet soda habit. This at least has no artificial sweeteners or flavors, so it’s a step in the right direction.
Kombucha contains tea and natural sugars that ferment into a fizzy beverage filled with healthy, probiotic bacteria. Keep in mind that sugar plays an important role in this process, so although the sugar content is far lower than a typical soft drink, it has to contain some. After being fermented, kombucha becomes carbonated and contains vinegar, B-vitamins, and enzymes that can aid in digestion and detoxification.
3. Fruit waters
Here is a great way to get creative. For the fizz, use sparkling water as your base. Mix in sliced citrus with fresh herbs like cilantro, or something really fresh like cucumber and mint. You might also like fresh, muddled berries with basil leaves. Have fun with it!
I hope these alternatives work for you in kicking your diet soda addiction once and for all—or at least greatly reduce it, one aluminum diet soda can at a time. Remember: progress, not perfection.
Kimberly Snyder, CN, is a celebrity nutritionist and the New York Times best‐selling author of The Beauty Detox Solution, The Beauty Detox Foods and The Beauty Detox Power, and co-author of the upcoming Radical Beauty with Deepak Chopra (September 2016). Her popular beauty blog, KimberlySnyder.com, features recipes and her signature products, including probiotics, nutraceuticals, and yoga DVD. She is also the creator of Glow Bio, an organic juice, smoothie, and cleanse company.
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