Freshman year of high school we had to work on a presentation to convince our audience in our English class. I think they were called "persuasive" presentations or something of the sort (that was over 10 years ago, please forgive my brain for forgetting). One of my favorite high school teachers taught that class. He was a great teacher—used a very different style of teaching and really changed my perspective through his classes (I took several classes with him: English, Art, Speech & Debate, Journalism).
I did my persuasive presentation on why I was (and still am) all for the death penalty and why I believe they should enforce it more and why I thought everyone else should be all for it too. But that is not where I am going with this post. A boy in my class, who happened to be a sophomore or junior at the time and was repeating freshman English, gave a presentation about why we should stop drinking pop. (Yes, I wrote "pop", not "soda" or "soda pop"—that is what we call it in Colorado.) I don't remember what made him stop drinking it, but considering the quantity he was typically drinking it was not an easy task (he used to drink multiple cans of pop a day, like up to a 6-pack was normal). He spoke about the headaches he experienced when he first stopped drinking it and how he longed to take a sip. Then he hold us how much better he felt once his body adjusted to the lack of caffeine, sugar and whatever else is in pop. How much more energy he had and how he lost weight without even trying. I don't remember much else about that presentation but I know it made an impact on my life because I decided to stop drinking pop shortly thereafter.
My parents never let my sister and I drink much pop. When we were little, we could share a can of pop with dinner every other night. Not even every day. I am sure things changed when I was with my grandparents or aunts & uncles, but not at home. Pop was limited and while I didn't understand my parents position on it for years and years, I am so thankful that they were strict about it. I have family members that used to drink over a six-pack of pop a day and I am thankful that I was never one of them. Anyway, so as my sister and I grew up, my parents relaxed a bit on the pop rule and we got our own pop for dinner, but I am pretty sure it was still only every other night. I also drank it when I was at a friend's house and whatnot. So when I decided to stop drinking pop, it wasn't terribly difficult. I wasn't addicted to it like my classmate, but it did mean that in social situations I'd have to explain why I had water or whatever it was I drank. I may not have been perfect throughout the years, but I definitely halted drinking 90% of the pop that I would have.
Once I was legal, I decided that the only pop I'd drink was if it was in a mixed drink—vodka tonic, or rum & coke. But in general, I did not drink pop by itself on normal occasions. My beverage of choice is water by and far. I'll take iced tea, lemonade, real juice (not this nectar crap in Chile) and sometimes a Gatorade too, but agua is my favorite. However, I'd have to say that moving to Chile seriously challenged this habit and I started drinking a lot more pop that I ever have.
Anyone who has spent a bit of time in Chile knows that Chileans love their Coca-Cola. Heck, if that stuff came out of the faucet instead of water, Chileans would all drink out of the tap! See, here no one drinks tap water. When you go to a restaurant, you ask for "agua con/sin gas" (mineral water either sparkling or flat). While you can still ask for tap water in most restaurants, you won't be able to do so without getting a strange look from the waiter. Plus in most places, a pop is cheaper than mineral water! So it is easier on the budget to drink it. My husband is a typical Chilean in this sense—he loves his Coca-Cola, or Sprite or any sort of pop available. And thus that influence affected me as well. So I started drinking it a lot more. At lunch on the weekends, or if we ate out for dinner, in addition to any mixed drinks that I ordered that would have it. I drink water all day long at work, but it was the weekend and social gatherings where I was drinking a lot of pop. Which for me, was a lot.
Anyway, I'm happy to say that I stopped drinking it again. Right around the time when I started to clean up my eating habits back in April, I decided that it was time to get back to my beloved water. So I come with a bottle of water in hand to your party, now you will know why. It all goes back to my freshman year of high school and that damn persuasive presentation. (Plus we all know pop is not good for you regardless of whether or not it is diet, zero, or whatnot. It is full of chemicals, dyes and ickyness.)