Six weeks ago I decided to give up soda, and I’m happy to say I haven’t had any since then.
What helped the most was not keeping it at home, drinking water, and fixing a cup of herbal tea when I wanted something other than water. I don’t miss it that much.
What I didn’t know when I decided to give up soda was that a week later I would also have to give up dairy, gluten, and corn. The baby was showing symptoms of food sensitivities which went away after I stopped eating those foods. And since I don’t drink my coffee black, I gave up coffee too.
It worked out so well to give up soda when I did, because otherwise I might have consumed more of it when I couldn’t have other foods.
My husband and daughter have those same food intolerances, so we went through that steep learning curve a couple of years ago. At the time I gave up several foods to match them, but I still had a few favorites I was hanging on to.
If I thought giving up soda might be hard, it was nothing for me compared to giving up milk. I gave away a brand new pint of Häagen-Dazs. (It was hawaiian lehua honey & sweet cream. Painful.) I gave away a block of cheddar cheese with crumbled bacon in it. Goodbye favorite snacks. Now it takes a lot of salad to fill me up the way a glass of milk could, but I’m eating more vegetables than ever.
I felt like I had a pretty good understanding of what it’s like to not eat those foods, but now I’m experiencing it first-hand. I was at a social event, and I looked at the huge table spread with food and realized that I couldn’t eat any of it. I didn’t feel excluded, but it definitely made me feel different to not be able to eat the food that everyone else was having.
That’s when I realized the real value of sharing meals together. Often when I think about meals and dinner, my mind is filled with meal plans, grocery budgets, nutrition, and preparation. No wonder it feels like such a chore sometimes! But that’s not what it’s really about.
Sitting around the table sharing food together gives a feeling of belonging. When we eat meals together, that’s what we’re creating in our family.
Now that I understand that, what could have been a burden became a blessing. It was so worth it.