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As part our family’s commitment to Build A Better Me this year, we have eliminated gluten in our diets, reduced the overall carbs in our family’s food choices, and adopted a mostly Paleo style diet. But the most compelling change in our household came for my husband. It was over a year ago now, that he drank his last soda and he did it with some help from a little herb called Stevia.

Which is why I was so excited when my favorite purveyor of liquid Stevia — NuNaturals, contacted me and offered to send me a selection of their Stevia products. After chatting with Ron over at NuNaturals, I was excited to find that he was going to send out a couple new flavors in their liquid Stevia line (peppermint and orange!) for me to try. What he sent was much more than I could have ever expected!

My all-time favorite is the alcohol-free vanilla liquid, made with Singing Dog Vanilla (in fact, it was my recent post on homemade Faux Vanilla Frappuccinos that caught their eye.) I use this regularly in my tea, Teecchino, and even in water but the most amazing thing about the vanilla liquid  Stevia is that it helped my hubby beat a lifelong soda addiction (he’s been off soda for over a year now! Yay, honey!)

How to Beat Your Soda Addiction

When I met my husband, he had a serious soda habit. His drug of choice rhymed with Hoka Hole-A. He would drink it from a can or two liter bottle if he had to, but he had a particular fancy for the soda fountain variety, with a little extra syrup in the syrup to carbonation ratio (yes, I know, he had a problem, poor baby!) The worst part is, he was buying several of these 32 to 64 ounce babies a day. He had tried to quit many times before in his life but was NEVER successful.

Then, I came into his life and naturally, as we all do, you want to be the best for the person you love, so he began focusing on his health more, cutting way back on his soda drinking (and eating more vegetables!) but still he never fully was able to wrest himself from soda’s grip (sugar has been determined to be as addictive as cocaine and heroin.) But with the birth of our son, came a new determination for my hubby to stop drinking soda. His own father had passed on at the early age of 53 from a heart attack and my husband decided that whatever he did, he wanted to be in the best shape possible to be around for his son.

Stepping Down, to Step Away

Together we came up with a plan for kicking his deadly soda habit. I call it Stepping Down, to Step Away — he used a replacement method to help him reduce his reliance and finally step away, completely, from soda — this is the most sustainable way I know to quit something. Here are the steps he took:

  • Step 1 Cutback: Reduce the number and frequency of sodas that you ingest throughout the day. How many can you cut out, what meals, times of day can you skip it without replacing it? Do it.
  • Step 2 Drink more water: The more you properly hydrate yourself, the less you’ll be triggered for soda.
  • Step 3 Replace with the Next Best Option : My husband replaced high fructose corn syrup, caffeine and sodium benzoate drenched commercial sodas, with all natural sodas (in cola and ginger ale flavors.) The best brand, hands down, is Blue Sky Naturals which has both a regular and organic line of sodas, both are all natural nothing artificial, no preservatives and all naturally flavored. You can find these at Whole Foods Markets nationwide. They even have a new Stevia sweetened version.
  • Step 3 Go Down to the Next, Next Best Option: Here, the hubs began replacing some of the natural sodas with Dry Soda, a less sweet, all natural, only 4 ingredient soda. It comes in a variety of sexy flavors from rhubarb, blood orange and cucumber to vanilla, lavender, and juniper berry. Delish.
  • Step 4 The BEST level: Here’s where the hubby made the healthiest choice, he made his final step down using the vanilla Stevia Liquid from NuNaturals in his sparkling water. All he needed was 4 to 5 drops to get that sweet but deep vanilla flavor, paired with the tongue tickling bubbles of sparkling water. WIN!

In the beginning, there was just natural soda and that old villain, Hoka Hole-A, but the more he drank the natural soda, the less he relied on the “hard” stuff and pretty soon he was drinking only natural soda (except at the movies, where temptation was greatest!) Then we added Dry Soda to the mix, to reduce his sugar intake, and finally we introduced the vanilla Stevia (stevia has a negligible effect on blood glucose levels, so it’s an awesome choice) and sparkling water.

There were times when all of them were in the mix but with perseverance, a good plan and a supportive mate (I even began sneaking paper cups, filled with ice, complete with lids and straws into the movie theater in my big purse, along with ice-cold cans of Blue Sky cola. Once inside, we’d pop the tab and pour it into the cup — he’d get the movie experience he wanted, without all the crap food temptation. Voila!) My sweet hubby became a soda-free man!

The soda-free dude himself.

There were loads of interesting side effects of his quitting soda:

  • He lost weight
  • He is less moody
  • He has way more energy
  • His seasonal allergies have gotten better
  • His digestion is better
  • He’s reduced his chances for diabetes (even 1 soda a day increases your risk!)
  • He’s reduced his chances for heart disease

The bonus? With the Stevia and sparkling water, my hubs still gets to enjoy a really refreshing beverage that helps keep his body well-hydrated, his taste buds satisfied and his body in good health. I am so proud of him — what he did for himself and what he did for our family is significant. He made a choice for better health, to be around for his son (and for me.)

If you’d like tips on how to reduce the sugar in your diet, stop by my friend David’s blog called Stop Being Sweet and see what effects reducing the sugar in your life can make.

WIN a bottle of NuNaturals Pure Liquid alcohol-free Vanilla Stevia

NuNaturals wants to give away a bottle a post (4 total) of each of their enticing liquid Stevia flavors. If you’d like to win my favorite, the vanilla, just visit NuNaturals website’s recipe section and post a comment below telling me what recipe you’d like to use your NuNaturals Vanilla Stevia in.

Extra entries:

Be sure to let me know each of these you did in the comment section below:

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