Subscribe: My work, sitting patiently in your inbox.


Two-a-Day to Zero: Giving Up Soft Drinks

Earlier this month, I decided I was enough of a masochist to undertake a new journey inspired by Leo Babauta’s 'A Year of Living Without’. Each month I must choose an object, habit, or food to go without completely. The goal? Find out what is really necessary in my daily life and what is simply rotting my brain and making me flabby.

It doesn’t end there. For the duration of the month, I must also replace my sacrifice with a healthier alternative. This is the end of month one.

One month ago, I closed the door on my soda-filled refrigerator. That’s not an understatement, by the
way. I have enough soda on hand as I write this to provide for one of Gatsby’s famous parties, and then some. For the past thirty days I have watched my household’s stock of sodas rise and fall, down the hatches of my friends and family.


I often found myself wanting to dramatically leap at anyone who drank a soda in my presence, violently ripping the delicious beverage from their hands and devouring the entire drink, can and all.

Except that I didn’t. Rare was it that I found myself tempted to consume that ice-cold carcinogen, and I never found myself on the verge of tossing my efforts aside. Admittedly, I was never very worried about my prospects for success this month. Over the years I have continuously decreased my consumption of fatty foods and drinks, and soda was the first to take the hit.

This tells me that, over time, any bad habit can be conquered. Most of us know this already, but it becomes a more tangible idea once you’ve actually taken the next step and done it. This isn’t the first time I’ve tried to go without soda. I tried numerous times in the past, and eventually would give in. Drinking soda was, silly as it may seem now, part of my daily lifestyle. I was so used to drinking it that I didn’t know how to give it up, despite the fact that it is as easy as asking a waitress for water or filling a glass instead of grabbing a can.

Looking back, I’m not sure how I ever drank as much soda as I did. The appeal simply isn’t there anymore. On August 1, I’ll probably pop open a can, down the entire thing, and brush my teeth. It’ll taste delicious, and will be well-deserved. Then, I’ll wait a week, a month, even a year before my next. Maybe my taste buds will have adapted and it won’t taste good at all, and I’ll pour the acid down the drain and say farewell forever. 

In any event, I can look back on this month and remember that this is when I decided I couldn’t care less about soda. Water rocks.  If you didn’t give something up this month, that’s okay! August is right around the corner--there is no better time to hop on board.