Thursday, July 18, 2013

5 Alternatives to Soda

We were at the pool the other day, and I saw one of the moms there drinking a diet soda.  In that moment it occurred to me that "I cannot believe people still drink sodas (diet or regular)!"  Neither one provides any nutrients.  In my health coaching I have been focusing on getting the children off of sodas, fruit juice and other sugary drinks.  Of course, I now realize (like with everything else I coach) I need to start with the parents.  If they are drinking it, their children will be drinking it too.  Since this encounter and realization I have been paying attention to how many people still drink soft drinks, and many of them drink diet sodas thinking they are healthier.  In this post I want to educate you on the downsides of soda, encourage you and your family to stop drinking them and give you some alternatives to enjoy in their place.
First let us begin with regular sodas.  The above picture shows the ingredient list for Coca~Cola.  After reading this list, I would like to point out that the three ingredients that Dr. Bill Sears says to always avoid are High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), Artificial Colorings and Flavorings and Hydrogenated Oils (Trans Fats) (not applicable here).  Coke (and other sodas) have two of these three ingredients.  Our bodies do not know how to process these artificial ingredients and excitotoxins.  They cause a myriad of health problems including a rise in bad cholesterol, obesity, an altering of brain chemistry, headaches, mood swings, Alzheimer's disease, and the list goes on and on.  There are even studies linking these toxic ingredients to cancer!
Now, let us look at diet sodas.  Above is a picture of a Diet Pepsi can.  Read the ingredient list.  It is basically the same; however, they have replaced the HFCS with aspartame.  Therefore, it has many of the same health risks as regular soda.  Aspartame is another toxic ingredient.  It is an excitotoxin, which means it alters the chemistry of the brain.  (Note: "A child's growing brain is four times more sensitive to excitotoxins" ~ Dr. Bill Sears)  It has been linked to cancer and many other diseases.

In children, drinking these toxic substances can lead to symptoms of ADD and ADHD, developmental delays, learning disabilities, trouble concentrating, behavior issues, allergies, vision deficiencies and more.  Now that you never want to drink another soda again (or have your children drink them either), what should you have instead?  Drinks like Sunny D, Carpi Sun, or Gatorade are not any better.  I encourage you to read the ingredient list on EVERYTHING you consider purchasing.  Know what you are putting in your body and in your children's bodies.
5 Alternatives to Soda:
1 - Water
Water is the best thing you can drink.  It prevents constipation, cleans the body, feeds the brain and muscles (both are 70-75% water), curbs overeating and more.  I carry a Lifefactory (glass) water bottle with me everywhere I go so I can sip on it all day.
2 - Flavored Water (Homemade)
If you need some help adjusting to plain water, try flavoring it.  Add slices of cucumber, mint, strawberries for some sweetness, lemons or limes.  Get creative, mix flavors, have fun with it!
3 - Coconut Water
Coconut water is a great alternative to Gatorade.  It has electrolytes and is wonderful on a hot summer day or after you exercise.  (Read the label to find the one with the lowest sugar content and make sure it is pure coconut water.  Some brands are made from concentrate and have added sugar.)  My favorite way to enjoy it is right out of a young coconut! (picture above)
4 - Kombucha and Water Kefir
Kombucha is a probiotic drink that is often dubbed as the "healthy soda".  It still has some sugar, but is also has good bacteria that will help with the lining of the gut.  Use caution if you want to share with your children.  It does contain caffeine.  I've heard the rule of thumb is 4 years and older.  Ask your doctor, herbalist or holistic healer and use common sense when considering your children.  Kombucha can be homemade or store bought.  Water Kefir is another probiotic drink and is a better option for children.  Here is one link about water kefir:  I encourage you to do your own research to find a recipe you like and more information on water kefir.
5 - Agave or honey sweetened tea
We love making this in the summer at our house! Instead of making sweet tea with sugar, use agave nectar or raw honey instead. Spice it up by making sun tea or adding mint. 

For an additional option check out our Green Green Juice Recipe by clicking HERE!!!
Healthy regards!


  1. Great write-up! I had never heard of Water Kefir, I'm excited to look into it!

  2. Thank you very much for your wisdom.