Mini-Pledge Week 2: Beverages

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I am so glad that the mini-pledges are off to such a great start this week! I love hearing from everyone on facebook…you guys are doing really well with this first one. It has been an interesting week for us too since our family took on this challenge as well. We normally eat fruits and veggies of course, but there is definitely no “two per meal” quota around here. I’ve learned how quick and easy (and painless!) it is to add to my daughters’ meals a side of sliced pear or frozen peas (yes, they like them frozen). I’ve also realized how much I focus on my children’s produce intake instead of mine. So even though we’ve had a busy week, and I ate most of my lunches standing up while doing 8 other things, I managed to get in all of my fruits and veggies too!  And while I don’t expect everyone to live by the number “two” rule every day until eternity I do hope this experience will lead to some positive long-term changes.  Increasing your consumption and variety of fruits and vegetables is one of the best (and easiest) changes you can make to your diet!  Don’t forget though that the fruit/vegetable pledge isn’t over quite yet…not until the end of the day on Sunday.

With week 1 coming to a close it’s time to announce the next mini-pledge, which will start on Monday and tackle beverages! I hate to throw one of the more difficult pledges out there early in the game, but I realize that different things will be difficult for different people (depending on what your vices are!). So as you consider this next pledge please keep in mind that it is only for one week. When I had to give up my white chocolate mochas during our 100-day pledge it forced me to come up with another alternative…that I now love! Without our pledge I imagine I would still be addicted to those highly processed white mochas because I would’ve never had a reason to seek out an alternative. So here goes nothing… 

Mini-Pledge Week 2: March 21 – 27 – Beverages will be limited to coffee, tea, water, and milk (only naturally sweetened with a little honey or 100% pure maple syrup). One cup of juice will be allowed throughout the week, and wine (preferably red) will be allowed in moderation (an average of one drink per day).

As you can see this means no Splenda (or sugar) in your coffee and it also means no soda pop. Can you (and your family) do it for seven days? Each week it will be up to you to decide if you want to take the pledge for one meal, one day, or for the entire week, and this is definitely one of those pledges where I encourage everyone to do it all week-long. The lessons learned will be much more valuable if you do this for more than a day. Here is the reasoning behind our decisions for this pledge…

Sweetener Choices: The moral of the story is that all sweeteners (sugar, honey, maple syrup, raw sugar, brown sugar, etc.) are high in calories and low in nutrients. The artificial sweeteners that have no calories are just chemically created imitations invented in a lab somewhere…how’s that for appetizing? So no matter what kind of sweetener one uses we hope that it is, first of all, not an imitation and second of all, used in moderation. For this pledge we ask that you stick to honey and/or 100% pure maple syrup for your beverages for two reasons…

    1. They are both (mostly) made in nature and slightly higher in nutrients than other sweeteners like refined white sugar.
    2. It is hard to find highly processed foods or beverages that have been sweetened with honey or maple syrup, and if you sweeten items yourself chances are you will put in a lot less than the factory. In our opinion sugar is way overdone in our society so while you can still have sugar in your food during this pledge we hope you can commit to at least keeping it out of your beverages (baby steps!).

Please note: Honey and pure maple syrup are more concentrated sweeteners than white sugar so you can use a little less.

Juice Restriction: Just like the sweeteners mentioned above natural fruit juice contains a concentrated amount of (natural) sugars, which again should be used in moderation. And while 100% natural fruit juice offers a great deal of nutrients and is highly recommended over a soda, it is not nearly as nutritious as eating the natural, raw, whole fruit itself. There is certainly nothing “wrong” with drinking fruit juice (as long as it is 100% real fruit juice and preferably organic), but we believe it is best used in moderation. Try displacing some cups of juice with something else like water, which most of us can never seem to get enough of.

Moderate Wine Consumption: In his book Michael Pollan suggests, “Have a glass of wine with dinner,” and I like to take him up on that advice! Some nights I admit that one glass can turn into two (or more…oops!), so per my doctor’s advice I try to make sure my consumption averages out to one glass a day. But Pollan does go on to say, “Drinking a little every day is better than drinking a lot on the weekends,” what can I say…I do my best with this advice. He also says “alcohol of any kind appears to reduce the risk of heart disease, but the polyphenols in red wine appear to have unique protective qualities.” So let’s take to heart Pollan’s research showing “abundant scientific evidence for the health benefits of alcohol” and not be afraid to enjoy a glass of red wine (in moderation!) with dinner this week.

Here are some beverage alternatives to consider during this pledge since most people like to cure one addiction with another…

  • Try a naturally sweetened mocha or coffee
  • Squeeze a little lemon in your water
  • Eat a few juicy grapes or oranges to help quench your thirst with something naturally sweet
  • Try offering your kids some naturally sweetened cold or hot chocolate milk
  • Mix a half a cup of juice with some water to help stretch your juice consumption throughout the week
  • Or just put a splash of juice in your water to add some flavor and make it last the whole week (grapefruit juice is great for this!)

If you are addicted to soda just think how much money you will save if you give it up since water (a far superior alternative) is free! My husband used to habitually drink Coke Zeros in the car when he was on business trips (his company was paying for his travel expenses after all!), but he of course had to give them up cold turkey when we started our 100-day pledge. And even though our pledge is over he still has not had a single soda….after going so long without one he is “cured!” And I don’t think I can remind everyone enough that this pledge is only for one week.

To take the pledge: Please leave a comment below with the number of adults and kids in your household that will take this on, and also share if you will do it for one day or for the entire week. As always…there is just something about putting it in writing that makes it official!

Good luck!

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222 comments to Mini-Pledge Week 2: Beverages

  • Sarah

    I have finished week 1 without many problems. Continuing that one and have started week 2. And altough i dont drink a lot of soda and juice this one is tougher. I have three party’s this week and will need to decline most of the drinks.

  • Kristi

    My kids love strawberry milk and chocolate milk. Do you have any recipes/ideas how to make those without the sugary syrups? I prefer the syrup over powder because it mixes better, but I know there are lots of unneeded sugar and additives in them. Any suggestions?

  • Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

    Hi Kristi. I found two recipes for chocolate syrup that would be 100 Days approved: http://deliciouslyorganic.net/chocolate-sauce-syrup-hersheys-recipe/and http://lifemadewhole.com/2012/03/24/homemade-chocolate-syrup-without-refined-sugar/. Coming up short on strawberry, though. ~Amy

  • Alicia

    Hi just have started the mini pledges. We made it through the 1st week pretty easily. We added fresh fruit/veggie smoothies to breakfast and dinner. This week has been a tough one though. I am a tea and sweet n low addict. I had a 32oz cup for breakfast lunch and dinner. this is day 2 for me and i’m having headaches from not drinking it. I think most people would feel like giving in at this point but what motivates me is to think about what all those chemicals must be doing to my body to have such an affect from not having them. I joked that i’m like a crackhead without any crack but in reality i can see the similarities. Thank you for your website. My family just found you but we’re sticking with you. I do have a question. my daughter is 3 and loves her sugar free kool-aid. Any suggestions on drinks for kids that fit into this week’s challenge. she’s not to fond of my cucumber lime water. :)
    Family of 4 on week 2 of the mini challenges.

    • Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi there. You can splash a little fruit juice in water. Or, my kids love sparkling water with a little cranberry, pineapple, grape or orange juice. They call it homemade soda pop. It worked like a charm for us! ~Amy

  • Cindy

    3 adults, 1 extremely fussy teenager and 3 kids will be attempting to completely get over their addictions to sugar filled drinks lol. I do have an issue with the hubby, he works ridiculously long hours and heavily relies on energy drinks, anyone know any good alternatives?

    • Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi there. Energy drinks like Gatorade or like Red Bull?? :) Regardless, I have found that adding just a splash of 100% fruit juice to sparkling water to be a really good refresher. Drinks like Gatorade overload the body with sugar and eventually make blood sugar (and energy) dip. The same is true with drinks like Red Bull except they use sugar and caffeine…a double dip for an energy crash! Good old water is the best alternative. Fancy it up if necessary. :) ~Amy

  • Erin

    Hi,
    I’m just starting week 2 of the mini pledges. (loved week #1!!) Do you consider Coconut water to be juice? Thank you! Erin

  • Kay

    Does anyone have an alternative beverage to ginger ale for an upset stomach? We always stock Canada Dry in case of a tummy emergency but don’t drink it regularly. We do not drink tea, so that’s out as a replacement. I’d love any ideas for something more natural than ginger soda that could be either whipped up on a moment’s notice or able to be made and stored long-term. This is my only barrier to this challenge!

  • Laura

    Week 1 was pretty easy for me although I ate a lot more fruits than vegetables. I need to stock up on easy to store and prepare vegetables to keep around the house. I bought some limes for week 2 to squeeze into my water since I don’t really like plain water.

  • Heather

    We took the week 1 pledge without difficulty. However, this one is going to be harder for us. We usually drink juice at breakfast every morning. I can go without juice for a week, but I’m not sure my kids can without complaints. I may be making lots of smoothies again this week!

  • [...] foods at home. Instead: Buy plain and flavor/sweeten it yourself (naturally). When it comes to drinks squirt some lemon (or other citrus) in your water or sparkling water to kick things up a notch. [...]

  • Kristen

    Completed Week 1, on to Week 2! This will be easy for me since I really only drink tea or water anyway. I’m continuing the focus in two fruits or veggies per meal this week too. One adult on this one.

  • Kristy

    I am actually on week 1 for my family, but am always thinking ahead. We have already eliminated store-bought juice from our diet but the kids like juiced oranges and apples and I do a fruit/vegetable juice + flaxseed and yogurt for breakfast. Does that count as “juice” or as 2 servings of fruit/vegetables?

    • Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Kristy. If you are blending/pulverizing the whole fruit and vegetable, then they are fruit and veggie servings. ~Amy

  • Week 1 was great, see my thoughts here.

    I’m signing up for Week 2 and this will be a hard one. I’m a Diet Coke Pepsi addict (embarrassing, but true) and I’m ready to stop. :)

  • Lisa

    Hello, what about using pure stevia extract as a sweetener? Not the powdered stuff like truvia, just pure stevia? Thank you.

    • Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi there. During the pledge, the only sweeteners approved are honey, maple syrup, and a little 100% fruit juice concentrate. Outside of the pledge, pure stevia might be a good choice for you. ~Amy

  • Tonya Holcomb

    Hello from Concord, NC! I am considering doing the pledges starting in Jan. I am hoping it will help me with weight loss. I am addicted to Dr. Pepper. I do not keep it in the house. If I want it, I have to go get it. I buy just a can or a medium drink from Chick-Fil-A. I have tried tea with honey. So far, nothing has worked. Any suggestions?

    • Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Tonya. This may not be what you want to hear but cold turkey is the best way to break the soda habit, though weaning may be necessary if you have caffeine headaches. :) My family gave soda up by combining just a bit of fruit juice with sparkling water. It worked like a charm and we’ve never looked back. I’m not suggesting you will immediately love it, but it does have the fizz and just enough sweetness to make it satisfying…and your taste buds will adjust. Give it two weeks. You’ll be changed. ;) ~Amy

  • [...] Week 2: “Real” beverages – Beverages will be limited to coffee, tea, water, and milk (only naturally sweetened with a little honey or 100% pure maple syrup). One cup of juice will be allowed throughout the week, and wine (preferably red) will be allowed in moderation (an average of one drink per day). [...]

  • Tara

    I am pledging myself, my husband and my 8 year old. I also have a 1 and 3 year old but they still drink a lot of milk so I will encourage everything else as age appropriate. We will be doing this one week at a time and using each week to build on. Thank you for taking the time to write this up. I look forward to it.

  • Totally in for this one! Only have to give up coffee creamer in my decaf, so I just won’t have coffee. I’ll have tea & honey. We don’t buy sodas & drink unsweet tea. Bc this one is easy for us, we’re continuing 2 fruits/veggies w/each meal.

  • Amy S

    For the most part week 2 should be easy but I still have questions.

    I run normally with a Nuun tablet disolved in water on a long run. If I substitute 100% coconut water I am assuming this would be considered real beverage, correct?

    Also, are unsweetened almond or coconut milk part of this?

    Thanks!!

  • […] Week 2 was relatively easy for me in our 14 weeks of mini real food pledges. In Week 2 of “real beverages”, I could only drink water, tea, coffee, milk and one cup of juice. Well for me it was relatively easy because I really only drink water and tea anyway. So easy but I need to drink more water so this week I was able to do that sometimes. […]

  • Molly

    I am wondering if you allow almond milk (unsweetened) in week 2. Dairy milk doesn’t agree with me but almond milk is usually a good alternative. Or if you have any pledge-approved suggestions I’d love to hear them.

    • Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Molly. I think you would find a lot of almond milk drinkers among the readers. :) We understand that dairy does not agree with everyone and adjustments might need to be made. The only issue with almond milk for the pledge is that it can be very difficult to find a store bought version that ascribes to the rules, as most have a pretty long ingredient list. You can find a simple homemade version here: http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2012/08/31/food-allergies-dairy/. ~Amy

  • Laura

    What about soy milk? I am assuming it would be under the same restrictions as almond milk?

    • Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hello Laura. We know some people can’t or choose not to drink cow’s milk and that adaptations have to be made. It is actually pretty easy to find an organic soy milk without added ingredients. That is not as true with store-bought almond milks. ~Amy

  • […] Mini-Pledge Week 2: Real Beverages – Beverages will be limited to coffee, tea, water, and milk (only naturally sweetened with a little honey or 100% pure maple syrup). One cup of juice will be allowed throughout the week, and wine (preferably red) will be allowed in moderation (an average of one drink per day). […]

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