Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Order me water, lemonade or tea

Several people wanted to know after reading yesterday's "Power to Overcome" devotion what drink I switched to when I decided to stop drinking diet soda. Evidently I'm not the only one that finds that stuff addictive and wants free of its merciless, sweet, bubbly grip!

I switched to tea, yall. All kinds of tea. Green tea, rooibos tea, herbal tea, and black tea (only if decaf). Tea has health benefits that soda does not - it is made from a natural plant and water after all.

This also helped me transition off caffeine. Did you know decaf black tea has about 3 mg of caffeine per cup whereas soda has about 37 per cup? Herbal teas have none. I was tired (sorry for the pun) of my energy level being tied to caffeine.

Honestly, I didn't feel real great for several days during my diet cola/caffeine detox but it wasn't that bad. (Just pray for help and take Tylenol or naps as needed.) I'm really glad I did it.

How this started for me was I saw a book at the start of the year called "The Ultimate Tea Diet." I flipped through it for an hour or so. I learned a lot about tea there and decided to make the switch from cola (I didn't do the tea diet plan). I bought a pretty glass pitcher at World Market and started keeping it in the fridge filled with decaf cold-brewed Lipton tea, lightly sweetened. I got diet cola out of the house.

At restaurants I ordered water with lemon or iced tea instead of cola. I asked for decaf tea if possible and unsweetened if possible. Here in the south they put lots of sugar in tea!! It tastes yum but I knew all that sugar would make me want more sugar. And I wanted to get use to drinking something less sweet than my diet cola.

From there I branched out and tried different teas and sweeteners. Some I've liked, others I didn't - I send those boxes to work with my husband to put in the break room for anyone who wants them. Since you asked, here are some that I like:

If I want a healthy tasting brew, I make Celestial Seasoning's Decaf Green Tea. I like it best with no sweetener, which is a fact that still amazes me.

When I want a more dessert-tasting cup, I brew Celestial Seasoning's Bengal Spice. It's cinnamony good. I put the natural sweeter stevia in it.

Else I make Harvest Herb Company's Chocolate Chai rooibos or Caramel Apple rooibos. By the way, my husband makes caramel apple pancakes using some of this tea and thinly sliced apples.

If I need help unwinding at night, I brew Celestial Seasoning's Sleepy Time herbal tea. I put the natural sweetener Xylitol in it.

At our local tea room I discovered I love organic Kyoto Rose Cherry Festival green tea, and I can buy it there or order it online. It smells terrific and tastes a bit fruity. Meanwhile, I discovered I do not like blueberry or blackberry flavored teas.

Most Sundays at the coffee bar at my church I get a cup of hot water and brew China Mist's Simply Mint tea they have there, which I adore. It's good iced too. Fresh tasting, like gum.

Now I carry a tea bag packet and a sweetener packet in my purse - but not because tea rules me the way diet cola did. :) And when I want a change from teas, I opt for lemonade (I make it fresh with Splenda). I tried making fresh limeade but didn't care for that much.

I've since made additional changes in my diet for the better but I started with breaking my addiction to Diet Coke earlier this year. Oh, and I didn't gain weight as I'd feared. I actually lost a couple lbs. I now pretty much avoid colas and stuff with aspartame. The other day at a picnic I picked up a filled glass with what I thought was water and took a sip. It was actually Sprite and I couldn't believe how (overly) sweet it tasted. After a second sip I didn't want any more.

You might not like any of these tea flavors at all. I assure you, none of them taste like diet soda! But for me it was worth it to keep trying things until I found some I liked. And the best part is I no longer crave cola. Let me know if you try ditching the fizzy stuff and we can encourage each other in the comment section here. Also let me know if you've got any good tea recs for me!


  1. Good for you, Rachel! I've had to interview too many nutritionists to be able to continue drinking sodas with a clear conscience - *especially* the diet ones. They don't do you any favors. The only soda I keep on hand now is ginger ale for when we have upset tummies in the house.

    I stick with water (with a bit of lemon) or I like Stash's Lemon Blossom herbal tea. Has a hint of grapefruit to it and is good hot or cold.

  2. Diet drinks have always tasted nasty to me. I can taste the aspartame a mile away - even in yogurt! The past few years I've had some health issues that have drained my energy, so I admit I have used caffeine to keep going. At one point it was bad enough I bought pills so I could stay awake during the day. But now I think I'm (almost ;o)) ready to detox. I have been a green tea drinker, but maybe I should branch out more (I usually get the antioxidant because it HAS caffeine in it). It never seems like a good time though since I homeschool and have a 2 year old! I also need my hubby to get on board. And the thought of giving up my sweet tea - sigh...

    BTW, have you looked into the effects of Splenda? I won't touch that one either. If I'm going to ruin myself, I want to do it using the real thing - lol. :)


    Congrats on your willpower though. Maybe one day soon, I can join you.

  3. JD ~ I know Splenda isn't ideal either - which is why I've moved into natural sweetners like xylitol and stevia - but from what I've read, it is better for me than aspartame.

    Sugar is natural too, which is good, but after getting off Diet Coke, I set out to cut sugar from my diet and balance my blood sugar levels through out the day. Splenda has a much smaller effect on blood sugar than sugar. And it doesn't make me crave sweets.

    So if I am somewhere and the only options for my tea is the white, blue or yellow packets, I personally choose the yellow Splenda packets.

    Maybe some day I'll get to a point that I don't need sweetner in my tea, but for now I still do with most teas, and certainly with lemonade.

  4. Tea rec's
    Rachel thank you for sharing how you went about breaking the 'diet coke' addiction! I've tried several times and my longest stint was 4 months! Each time I go back to it the harder it is to come off of it the next time. Please keep me in prayer to BREAK this bondage once and for GOoD!
    I do enjoy tea ~ the stores where I live do not carry Bengal tea so my mom mails it to me. Another tea I really like is called SWEET & SPICY ~ I'm not for sure who makes it, maybe Yogi or Good Earth. The CANDY CANE LANE by Celestial is another one of my favorites. I've so many teas that I do like ~ THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIPS.

  5. AnonymousJune 24, 2009

    Good for you. I gave up my regular coke in Jan (the 4th to be exact, but who is counting lol). I know that if I would try and just drink one, I would be hooked again. (could kick myself for starting back on caffinated drinks after my pregnancies) I recently started drinking Coke Zero and know I need to stick to my water instead. I have wondered if I stop drinking coffee, would I have more energy since the caffine doesn't seem to help w/energy. Thanks again for the encouragement.

  6. Rachel,

    I have never been one for soda. In my teen years I was such an athlete and didn't want to put it in my body. My boys have never been much on sodas either. But that sweet tea they will drink a gallon a day. You are right, even in VA they like it so sweet. For me sweet drinks don't quench my thirst. I love unsweetened ice tea, nothing compares to Lipton brewed with filtered water. Lip smacking refreshing! Um

    I love my coffee but only have one cup so I do indulge with a bit of reduced half and half, but no sugar. When it gets cool I love to indulge in the flavored teas. It is nice to freeze fresh fruit and mint to your ice cubes. This combo will give you a pretty and different spin to your water.
    Bon Appetite,

  7. AnonymousJune 24, 2009

    Rachel, thanks so much for the encouraging devotion yesterday! I, too, gave up diet coke 4 weeks ago. After several false starts of breaking the addiction, I was able to quit because, like you, the information I read about aspartame jolted me into action! Tea is my choice drink, too, and I love stevia! It feels so good to be making healthy choices, taking care of the temple the Lord blessed me with. I loved the analogy you made between addiction/bad habits and sin. Excellent point! Thanks again. God bless you!

  8. Rachel that is great, way to go! I Love water with lemon and Ice Tea, gave up the sodas! But I love Hot Tea as well especially for dinner, and somedays coffee, But I have to do the decaf, otherwise mess's with my sleepin!

    Great share, Have a beautiful day :)

  9. Ooh, Bengal Spice is my all-time favorite. I love a nice tall mug after dinner. (Quiets those dessert cravings nicely.) If you haven't been, may I recommend a visit to Teavana. There's one in the Southpoint mall up in Durham. They've got tons of tea and plenty of samples. Delish!

    Also, if you haven't tried it already you may want to give agave nectar a shot. It's very mild, though a little goes a long way. Of course, my favorite is some nice, rich honey, though that doesn't go well with all teas.

  10. AnonymousJune 29, 2009

    I gave up regular soda years ago because of blood sugar issues, went to diet soda. About a year and a half ago, I went off diet soda, but while being off it,my body missed the caffeine so much that my pulse was running about 35, way to low. So I went back on my diet soda. I ecided to beat this addiction to diet soda, so last week I went off it again. i am trying some tea, don't like sweet tea, actually I don't really like any tea, so now I am rying to just drink water, but I miss my bubbly drink. My family says I am cranky when I don't have my soda, I think they are just not patient with me. : )
    Today is day 5 no soda. i hope this gets better soon. I REALLY want a soda!!!

  11. Way to go, Anon! Hope you find something you like.

  12. This seems to be the "IT" thing this summer. I keep reading blogs about women giving up diet drinks or sodas all together.

    My thing is the caffine. Coffee is what gets me going. Mtn. Dew gives me the afernoon boost and if I don't have coffee after dinner, I could crawl in bed by 8:00pm.

    Yes, this is an addiction. There have been a couple of times that I missed my after dinner coffee. Around 2 am I will wake up with a headache. I didn't get my "fix". This is a headache that keeps me tossing and turning for the rest of the night. By morning I am sooo needing my coffee. But this usually doesn't cure the headache which will lead me to taking Excedrin Migraine. BAM..that exrta boost of caffine.

    I have read all about women cutting sodas out...but now how is your energy level? I know at first it is probably hard. Feeling tired and sleepy for a few days but after being off caffine for awhile, how do you feel?

    Congrats on kicking your habit!

  13. Rachel,

    WOW! I'm impressed and definitely convicted at this moment regarding my diet soda drinking........You have given me a new goal for this summer! Thank you!

    I'm actually responding to today's P31 devo you wrote on living water....it just came into my inbox as I was sending an email out.....notice that is 5:30 am and I am awake. I couldn't sleep....now wondering if it is a caffeine issue or the fact that I am feeling overwhelmed....or both.

    At any rate, your devo spoke to me and I thank you for it! And your post from Tuesday was just what I needed as well!

    Much love!
    Tammy Nischan


Chime in.