Guest Blogger: Tawni Haley
A few years ago, I surprised my mother with a birthday gift she’s wanted for a long time: I gave up a certain popular diet soda. It was a pretty big deal. My mom is a firm believer in food as pharmacy, and raised all six of her children on natural fare. We drank fresh, frothy milk straight from the farm down the road. I can still recall the earthy smell of bee pollen tablets.
So when I developed a taste for diet soda in my 20s, Mom was horrified. She shared ominous studies and fretted about the future deposits that would surely form in my brain tissue.
I started to fret a little, too.
But ditching the diet soda was really hard – a lot harder than I thought it would be. And that gave me pause, too. Why would a drink make such a difference in my day? Caffeine is the go-to answer, of course, but it was more than that. I liked the scratchy fizz of the carbonation. Also the crisp, hard taste. Finally, I decided that my afternoon diet soda was a treat I felt I deserved, and it helped me gear up to tackle the next round of work / kid activities / errands / life.
I do drink water, but water doesn’t feel like a treat.
Time to find a substitute.
I went to the drink aisle of our big natural foods retailer. There were a lot of options, and I felt encouraged. Unfortunately, the ones I tried then (a lemon-lime something and a gingery something, plus a few others) weren’t quite right. Some were syrupy sweet. Some had a too-strong fruity flavor. None had the bite of my beloved diet soda.
After a few irritable weeks of deprivation, I started to sneak the occasional diet soda. They tasted like chemicals and gave me a headache. I drank them anyway.
Then one day I reached for a Mountain Valley Sparkling Water in our work fridge (probably because we were out of the diet soda, or I was feeling extra virtuous that day). And there it was. Crisp, cold and fizzy. The glass bottle was an added bonus, because it feels good to drink from. Special. That water felt like more than just water. It felt like a treat.
So began my love affair with Mountain Valley Sparkling Water. I still sneak the occasional diet soda (sorry Mom!), but it is no longer my daily drink. And I still crave caffeine (80/20 tea for that). But these days, my afternoon fix is often a glass bottle of the world’s best sparkling water. It’s a habit that makes me feel good – and Mom feels good about it, too.