Random Thoughts on Soda Pop

For some reason I’ve been thinking a lot about soda pop lately. I think it all started with a conversation with a long-time friend. He recently installed his own bar-quality soda dispenser in his home; it’s the kind with the spray nozzle. He has boxes of Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite, and lemonade syrup hooked up to it with lines running to his kitchen and his party room in the basement. He’s had the CO2 tanks for awhile for his self-installed beer taps. I admire my friend for his ingenuity, frugality, and mechanical skills, but I was surprised when he admitted that he and his wife go through enough soda to make this installation such a financially savvy decision.

Despite all the things I am not so sure that I’ve handled correctly as a parent, I feel like I’ve got a pretty good thing going with our soda situation. My kids very rarely drink soda at home. My husband keeps and drinks soda in the house, but the kids were taught early on that it was not there for their consumption.   Soda is pretty much just liquid candy, and I felt that it was an expensive form of candy that they could mostly do without.  As a result, the kids are limited to water, milk, or juice at home, except for the occasional pot of sweet tea.  I’ve even pretty much given up soda at home as well.

When the kids do drink soda we try to steer them towards non-caffeinated beverages like Sprite/Sierra Mist, rootbeer, fruit punch, or lemonade.  My husband is not a big fan of caffeine in general, and the kids are hyper enough without that extra boost of energy.  I was never a caffeine addict, but I drank caffeinated beverages regularly in the forms of coffee, tea, and Cokes.  I just never thought much about it.

Once I got to college, though, I started noticing tremors the next day after the occasional pot of coffee.  Then when I started my first post-college job I would get horrible migraines, partly from the stress and partly because my caffeine intake was inconsistent on the weekends.  After three pregnancies and two and a half years of nursing, I’ve greatly reduced my caffeine.  I’ve learned that my body is very sensitive to caffeine, so I do mostly decaffeinated beverages.   I do love the taste of Coca-Cola, but unless I am absolutely craving it I try to get lemonade or water when we are eating out and stick to non-caffeinated Coke at home.

My parents never really had rules about soda consumption when I was growing up.  I guess they figured that I wasn’t getting any at school or my baby sitter’s, so it wouldn’t matter that I drank it at home.  They actually had one rule: no soda with dinner at home.  We had sweet tea with dinner every night; I’m sure I could have milk or water instead but it never crossed my mind.  We all drank coffee with breakfast from a young age (half milk, half coffee, lots of sugar), so it was a non-issue in the morning.

I’ve had to adjust my vocabulary since moving up here.  Back in Kentucky, all soda is under the umbrella of the term “coke”.  Coke is less of a brand and just a general term for any kind of cola.  I think technically they refer to it as “pop” up here, but that term annoys me for some reason.  So I’ve trained myself to say “soda” instead.  Family and friends back home have kind of laughed at me from time to time when I’ve asked if they wanted a “soda”.

Today I saw an article on yahoo!news about a link between soda consumption and bone density.  While the general consensus with soda consumption is that it mainly keeps one from consuming as much milk, just like unlimited television, computer, and video game time may keep one from doing more physically and mentally active activities.

And what was wrong with the parents of the boys in The Outsiders.  Who in their right minds names their kid Soda Pop?  I believe the novel is set in the fifties, so you can’t excuse the parents as weird hippies.  Unless it is supposed to be an indication of the parents general idiocy.  It’s been many many years since I read that book, so maybe it has greater significance in the novel than I picked up on as a young teen.

As titled, random thoughts on soda pop…

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3 Comments on “Random Thoughts on Soda Pop”

  1. Kelly Says:

    I am still a total Coke addict, even when expecting. I try to rationalize that since I have a serving of 1 can a day or less, I’m drinking a lot less Coke than most self-proclaimed Coke addicts. The rest of the time, I drink water.

    On the other hand, I’ve seen some of the nutrition research, and I know even this amount is harmful. But reading the studies didn’t help convince me to stop, because they said even 3-5 cans of Coke per MONTH effected things like bone density. I think I could get down to say, 1 can each on Saturday or Sunday, but less than 3-5 a month was not a doable goal for me.

    We’ve told the children that their bodies are still growing, and adult bodies are not still growing. Coke (generic term) and coffee have a chemical that isn’t healthy for bodies that are still growing, so that is why we can have Coke or coffee and they can’t. But we have also told them that too much isn’t healthy even for adults, and they do see us “moderating” and drinking other beverages.

    You have probably revealed one of the reasons why you are so skinny. Studies show that most people add 1-3 lbs a year due to soda consumption. 😉

  2. Joe Says:

    I’d say Soda Pop is better than Pony Boy, FWIW. Of course, I would have opted for more obscure beverage names. Goat’s Milk Jones. Absynth Smith. Mad Dog 20-20 and Grape Kool-Aid Johnson. The possibilities are endless.

    I enjoyed the blog. Fight the “pop”– From a hillbilly with Ohio roots, I can’t stand it either.

    Joe Cox

  3. Laura Witten Says:

    “Pop” annoys me, too, and I started calling it “soda” after I left college, or perhaps during. I’ve had a few laughs from southerners as well.
    We do not have sodas in our home at all. I am sensitive to caffeine (took me a while to figure that out – can’t have any after noon or can’t go to sleep easily that night) and the adverse health effects are not worth it, for adults or children. Its like drinking acid.
    At the same time, it does taste good, so on the occasional night out I may have one, but usually the price convinces me that water will be enough.
    My dilemma with the unhealthiness of soda is that we run a game store with lots of 16-26 year olds who love it. So we sell it – almost every type! The higher caffeinated ones I ask the employee to give out warnings with and limit the quantity the younger ones drink severely. Might not be PC of us, but we don’t want hyped up 14 year olds running around the stores. After all, their parents drop them off in our care for several hours a day, so we do what we gotta do.


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