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

  • I’m in. BUT I’m going to have a REALLY hard time without my coffee creamer. Do you add cream and a little honey? Any suggestions to truly spruce it up?? I have tried lots of alternatives, but can’t seem to find anything with the right amount of creaminess. Right now that’s my one big weakness – my french vanilla, chemical filled, creamer. I love the stuff!! It’s a reason to drink coffee! As for the rest – it’s easy, I only drink water (I’ve had maybe 2 sips of soda in the past year). I do enjoy a beer or glass of wine and iced tea every now and then. But the coffee without creamer??? What’s a girl to do?!!

    • Shannon Baukhages

      Jill, have you tried the new flavored half and half from, Organic Valley? It’s just cream, sugar (not HFCS), and natural flavoring. It comes in two flavors, hazelnut and French vanilla. It’s good stuff. Although, I guess it doesn’t quite fit the rules of this week’s challenge since it has sugar in it, but at least it’s not made of partially hydrogenated soybean oil, or palm oil, like those flavored creamers.

    • Beth G.

      I’ve been using a little bit of whole milk or half and half with honey. I agree, it’s a hard switch to get used to, but maybe the whole milk would help the creaminess factor? You could also put in a tad of pure almond or vanilla extract. Although, I just looked at my “pure vanilla extract” and it has corn syrup in it! So, I guess you’ll have to watch for that.

      • 100 Days of Real Food

        Beth –

        FYI – I make my own vanilla extract and it is super easy. Just slice 2 vanilla beans long ways then stick them in a 375 ml bottle of vodka. Within a week the beans will start to change the color of the liquid as it “infuses” the vodka. I order my vanilla beans online from They are cheap and offer free shipping!


  • Shari

    1 adult and 2 kids in. We mostly do this already. I drink coffee and tea straight (no sweetners or cream), no sodas. The kids drink juice maybe once or twice a week but usually water or milk. When I do crave a slightly sweet drink I will mix a little juice with club soda. Is club soda allowed?

  • Lakesidemama

    I’m in! I’ve been an artificial sweetner user for over 30 years! I finally made the decision to give up aspartame sweetner almost two months ago and have found it really, really, really, (can I say really again?)difficult. I went through weeks of headaches after stopping. I guess it must have been a sort of withdrawl. In the past, I used to have four cups of tea per day with the artificial sweetner and the occasional diet pop. Now, I’m using honey…one teaspoon per cup of tea…which is okay, but, I can’t believe this…I still miss the overwhelming sweet taste of the artificial sweetner….does it get better?

  • Jenna

    Again, the challenge makes me think. I (which means the children and I) don’t drink any pop except as an extremely rare treat. I also don’t drink coffee, so that’s easy. I usually drink mostly water. What will be difficult is giving up rice milk since I can’t have dairy. I don’t drink it by the glass, but I use it in cereal and in baking. I know I could make my own, which I do with lots of things, but this isn’t the right time to take it on. I’ll remain conscious about my decision making, but I won’t be committing to this challenge.

  • sheri

    count us in…2 adults and 3 children! the only drinks we have in the house at any given time are water, raw milk, coffee, unsweetened decaffeinated tea…and wine =) i make our own chocolate syrup and we are currently out, so the kids will have to make due with plain milk all week! i’ve been using maple syrup in my coffee since your “mocha post” a couple of weeks ago. had never thought of that before, but now i’m hooked!

  • Courtney

    We’re in! 1 adult and 1 kid all week.

  • Sabrina

    1 adult, all week. I got this ;)

  • Lisa

    Count us in as well (2 adults). We do pretty good on this one already though. :)

  • Emily

    I adult, all in! I find this challenge actually easier than last week’s challenge. Going to keep trying!

  • Jennifer

    Our family is in for the week: 2 adults, 3 kids. The hardest part for me will be limiting juice for the kids.

  • Brooke Wright

    Just me for this one…. maybe my son

  • Wendi

    2 adults, bring it all week!

  • Angela

    1 adult – all week!

  • AJ

    2 adults and 3 children all week!!!!

  • Kirstin

    1 adult this week. My husband will not give up sugar in his coffee!

  • sara

    also-is all milk ok? Me and the kids cut out cow’s milk a couple months ago, but we do drink almond and coconut milk. This is also what I use for baking/cooking.

  • Alyssa

    Me, 2 kids, and my husband is half in. We only drink water and occasionally raw milk for my 3 yr old (still my milk for my 6 mo. old. . .). But my husband just made some tea and wants to finish that up.

  • Katherine

    Me, my husband and 10 year old will join for the week. the only exception is a farewell meal on Tuesday with colleagues which will involve more than the quota of wine!

  • 1 adult, for the whole week. Another excellent challenge!

  • Think it’s just me (1 adult) this week.
    I’m in! I do this most of the time anyway besides an occassional fruit juice and my friday mocha which i can easily cut out this week. Oh, and I usually drink a presweetened tea a few times during the week but I’ll definately do without this week. My daily coffee only gets milk and i don’t drink any soda, or i should say, maybe two or three sodas a year. My son is only 2 so it’s hard for me to completely cut out fruit juice for him. He drinks mostly milk and water right now but he does like some juice at times too.

  • Sara

    Hi Lisa, slightly OT for this post, but have you ever considered doing a vegetarian or vegan mini-pledge? I’ve been following your blog and enjoy it, but so many of the issues you are rightly concerned with–feeding a family in a wholesome, environmentally sustainable way on a budget–can be so easily addressed by cutting out animal products! Especially given that even the most humanely raised local meat often goes through the same processing facilities that Taco Bell-grade ground beef does. As a vegan and a mom of a healthy vegetarian toddler, I would be more than happy to answer any questions you might have or help you in any way I can, so please consider this my permanently-on-the-table offer if you do decide to do a veg pledge!

    • 100 Days of Real Food

      The next weekly pledge will be to reduce meat consumption to 2 – 3 servings for the week. And when it is eaten it can’t be the focus of the meal. That is the best we can do! And can you imagine if we got a lot of people to at least reduce their consumption (long term)? It could change a lot :)

  • Two adults, one kid. Same as last week. This one is an easy one for me- I don’t drink soda, or coffee. Most of the time my tea is unsweetened or a little honey is added- the exception is when I make Chai Tea and use Sucanat. I gave up drinking juice(except in the hottest summer months) long ago. 14 year old kid does likes juice, but he says he can do it.

  • Hannah

    Just me for the whole week!

  • Gwen

    My daughter and I will be doing the challenge, although it should be fairly easy for us.

  • stacy forrest

    1 adult and 2 kids…..a big thanks for cutting out soda (that’s from the dentist side of me)

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