Coke is evil {part 2}

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Just kidding in that title:) Thank you for all of the thought provoking comments. I loved hearing all the points of view. They really made me think. It seems that some think I am a Coke prude and some do not. I think it might have been an even split but I did not count. I did want to follow up on a few things.

First, I did not mean to accuse anyone specifically of being a bad parent. I make a TON of parenting mistakes (probably daily). I am nowhere near perfect and I know that. In fact, I think I share a lot of my parenting blunders right here on the blog. I know we are all doing the best we can. I do still think though that is is not a good parenting decision to offer kids COKE (and I mean COKE/Pepsi or caffeinated beverages specifically here). The reason is that caffeine is a DRUG! It is addictive. Many of the commenters said "I am a diet Coke addict." Why would we give our kids an addictive drug? Would you give them coffee? So, while I don't approve of that decision, I will not judge anyone. Really, no one needs that. And some of my best friends give their kids Coke and I still love them!

I know that caffeine is very addictive because I am having to wean my self slowly off of the one cup of coffee I have daily. Otherwise, I will get withdrawal headaches. Why start our children down that path? Sure, they may go there on their own someday but I would like to stave that off if I can. So, I am not sure I made that clear last night but that is one of my big problems with's addictive caffeinated nature.

Secondly, a few people e-mailed or commented about how being overly restrictive with food choices (or anything really) can backfire too. GREAT point. I am extraordinarily cognizant of this and think about it a lot. My kids eat healthy because we MUST do so. We don't have a choice which is probably a good thing because I don't have a ton of will power. I would probably make less healthy choices if it did not affect us so much. But we are allergic to junk food. Our family has a combination of the following food allergies (wheat, gluten, soy, dairy, nuts and pineapple). For us, that excludes ice cream, cakes, cookies, crackers, doughnuts, pizza, and almost all fast food. So, I do worry that my children will sneak foods eventually that will make them sick. I do worry that they will feel deprived. I do worry that they will rebel and for Harry the consequences could be life threatening.

We try to balance that by letting them have a gluten free doughnut for breakfast once a week. Coconut milk ice cream is a favorite for dessert sometimes (coconut bliss brand is our favorite dairy, soy and gluten free ice cream). Last night (before I wrote that post) I took one of my children to Baskin Robbins for ice cream while the other two were out with Dave (one who is not allergic to it). We do have potato chips and Fritos (they are corn, salt and oil) sometimes and while those are not healthy snacks...they make my kids feel "normal." I have even managed to find gluten free graham crackers and chocolate so Harry can have s'mores. I say all that to tell you that I am not a food Nazi. I do allow my children some choice and some yummy options. Yes, for the most part we eat healthy. We started that way because we had to but now we see all of the benefits.

Additionally, Dave packs the kids lunches everyday (with their help). But once a week we let Will make his own choices and buy his lunch at school. He has the freedom to choose what he buys and he could be buying slurpees for all I know. I do think it is important to let him spread his wings a bit. That is something I am REALLY working on as I readjust my parenting for the teenage years (more on that soon).

I ate poorly as a child. My parents did not know better and I do not blame them at all. In college, I ate a philly cheeesteak, french fries and a soft pretzel with processed melted cheese every single day. It is a miracle I was not overweight. I did not know better. But when we know better we do better. And now I know better.

I know that my kids are going to make poor choices sometimes and they will learn from them (I hope). We all do. I did. I experimented with breaking rules and unhealthy choices. I just feel passionately that we should have the healthiest foods available for our kids and we should

"train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it."

Proverbs 22:5-7

I know it does not always hold true but shouldn't we at least try?

Oh and one more is not lost on me that even though we eat pretty healthy, we get lots of colds and viruses. That bothers me a lot. I feel so frustrated by that fact sometimes. Our doctors have told me that just becuase someone gets a lot of colds and viruses does not mean they are unhealthy. And the oppostie is true as well. Just because someone does not get lots of colds and flus does not mean they are healthy either. Overall health includes things like blood pressure and cholesterol and heart rate, aerobic capacity and body fat.

Blogger is not letting me post, comment or moderate ...I keep getting a "bad request message" I am also not able to spell check so I apologize for any typos.


  1. I agree with you on this whole issue although I treat myself to one soda every other week...Kate has never tried it and hopefully we can prevent her from giving in and sticking with "good" beverages. I am currently battling a nasty cold that started after a student sneezed on my FACE last week...I don't get it either...I eat well, exercise, vitamins, etc, but still get one virus after another-not fair!!

  2. We didn't have soda growing up except on special occasions and I think because of that I am not a soda fan (neither is my bro or sis)! I was the only girl in my sorority house that would drink milk with every single meal (pizza, Chinese)...haha

  3. I love reading your blog, you have a beautiful family and you obviously strive to live like HE would have you live. I am wondering though, when you had to give a bunch of food up, you were very sad about giving up wine. I could say that everything you say about coke is also true of alcohol, so how do you see the difference? Neither has anything good for you and they are both addictive, yet your kids watch you drink. I would also like to say, that I don't think there is anything wrong with a glass of wine OR coke. I really am just curious on how you see them as different and I am not intending this to be a judgmental comment, because it isn't. I will have a glass of wine every now and then and if I didn't HATE carbonation, I would probably drink coke. It is really refreshing to see a health-conscious parent in a fast-food generation.

  4. I with you! I am going to try to keep my kids off sugar for as long as possible but esp. caffeine! It is SO addictive! I drink about a 1/2 a cup of coffee to wake up and am soooo dependent on it it's sad. I also have the occasional diet coke and I really need to get off of that! I was lucky, growing up we ate healthy basically because that was available. We had small packages of chips in our lunches but they were SO much smaller than the kid-size chips now. My mom had parents who grew up on farms so that might have had something to do with it but we lived vegetables and fruits as children and I still do. I am thankful my parents who were able to teach good eating habits.

  5. Elizabeth,

    I love your comment. Thank you for the kind words. You make a good point about the alcohol. I have no issue with grown adults drinking caffeine, soda or an occasional glass of wine. I think there are some things that grown ups can handle (like the addiction to caffeine and the hyperactivity it can cause) that kids cannot. Plus an adult knows what they are choosing. A kid does not really get what a dependence on caffeine (or alcohol) is.

    I was/am a very rare drinker. My kids do not often see me with a glass of wine at all. They have seen me drink but not very often. But again, there is a reason it is legal for adults and not for children. We hopefully have better judgement and control. And as a counselor I can say with certainty that the occasional alcohol is not addicitve for everyone. Some have a genetic predisposition for it to be addictive but many do not. However, we all become dependent on regular caffiene. So, I guess that is how I see them differently too. I was never saying adults should not enjoy these beverages...I just don't think that kids should have caffeine or alcohol.

  6. I thought of you as I was having my first Philly Cheese Steak on Sunday. I just had to do it! And another thing, I can't think of a better role model for this Mom than you when it comes to training my kids. And, I love how you know you have to adjust for Will.. I am glad you are going before me!!!!

    I am just catching up on you. The farm looked so great! And, I laugh every time I think of you at Cotillian with that big bow on your head!!!


    PS: How the "My Private Jet!"

  7. Kim,
    I agree with you. We do not allow our children to have soda at all. We try to teach them to eat healthy so that when we are not around, they can try to make the correct choices. I have friends who have given their 2 and 3 year olds soda!!! An entire can at that. I am not perfect. We do have "junk" from time to time.

    My parents are from the South. Growing up, my mom fried almost every meat we consumed. She made a fresh cake or pie every Saturday night for Sunday. I always told myself that my family would not eat that way. So now, my parents try to eat more like we do.

    My little secret about junk food, that I tell myself is "if it comes from whole foods, it's not junk" :) But it really is.

    Have a blessed day.

  8. You raise YOUR kids the way you want. You don't have to answer to anyone. There are many foods/drinks that I try not to have LiLi try because now I know better. I want her to learn from my mistakes.

    I try to eat healthy with LiLi but I know there are times I makes LOTS of mistakes. I think the biggest reasons for me are

    1) Time. I am a single mother that works full time. There are times I am too tired to cook.

    2) Money. It is expensive to eat healthy all the time. It is soooo much cheaper to eat a $1.00 cheeseburger. I am a teacher and I don't make that much $$. It is so hard to make all the right choices on a very little budget.

    3)Finally, knowledge. I am still learning and changing my eating habits. What I ate in high school is totally different from what I eat today.

    I love to read blogs like yours and learn all kinds of new ideas. I also love how you inspire me to do better with my food/drink choices.

    Keep feeding your kids what you want. Keep posting about it. I'll read it! ;0)

  9. Kim, do slurpies count?? :) have you ever had a slurpie??? Tell me you have...

  10. I think you are an AMAZING mom. I wish that my mother had been stricter with me. I've busted my butt to lose weight and be healthy. Now that I have a much healthier lifestyle you're habits have encouraged me even more! I've been trying to cut out soda and coffee and limit myself to one tea a day. I now drink water like it is going out of style. I think that what you eat and make for your family works for you and no one should critize/belittle your habits. I frankly find them inspiring and think you're going to have very healthy kids for a VERY long time!

  11. I loved both of these posts because most people don't share real things like that so they won't be judge.

    I'm studying to become a nurse and still there are MANY things I don't know. I'm sure I'd be one happy nurse if everyone would be like you haha!

    On the other hand, yes, Coke is REALLY bad. Kids shouldn't drink any kind of soda with a regular basis. But I guess it's good give them treats every now and them so they won't feel the need to experiment themselves (like the Sprite in your case).

    I'm a bit confused here. As far as I know fructose isn't that bad. HOMEMADE juices (like orange juice) are usually recommended for kids here, but NOT with their mealtimes or otherwise they won't eat that much. Those juices you buy at the supermarket aren't that good though.

    By the way I don't know if it's the different cultures but I see in many American blogs that people don't use to give their kids juice. Here in Spain (where I live) it's highly recommended to give your kids homemade juice.

    Anyhow, I like that you stick with what you think and at the same time let them choose every now and then =)

  12. Great posts. My oldest is of at college and I am so impressed by the most of the choices he makes in his cafeteria. My family used to get more frequent bouts of colds which sometimes seemed to go on forever. I had our cleaning service use only sponges and rags which I provided and it has really helped.

  13. Great posts. My oldest is of at college and I am so impressed by the most of the choices he makes in his cafeteria. My family used to get more frequent bouts of colds which sometimes seemed to go on forever. I had our cleaning service use only sponges and rags which I provided and it has really helped.

  14. I love you...Coke prude and all!!


  15. I definitely think that drinking coke once in awhile isn't the worst thing, when its put into perspective. But I honestly think that it will be too sweet for them to even enjoy it if they did! I will drink Cherry Coke when I have a headache, but other than that I LOVE ginger ale. I've been making the syrup homemade this summer and mixing it with pellegrino and a little lime wedge, amazing.

    I know one day when they are older, Will, Harry & Kate will really appreciate how healthy they ate. I remember being so upset when I was younger that I didn't get hoho's, sugared cereal, capri sun's, etc. and I look back now and just think how lucky I was that I didn't.. gross! Plus now I appreciate a wider variety of foods and am not a picky eater (unlike some of my friends who grew up on frozen pizza).

    Especially with food trends right now, I know they will look back and be incredibly grateful for how wholesome they ate.

  16. I'm a little late to the discussion. I'm on your side in terms of not giving a child soda on a regular basis, but I have no problem when Brennan gets older with him having soda as an occasional treat, so long as it's not an every day thing.

    I think a commenter in the prior post mentioned this, but fruit juice is no better, and often worse than coke in terms of sugar content. Check out for a comparison of the sugar content of fruit juice vs. soda. Even no sugar-added apple juice and grape juice have the same if not much more sugar than coke. That's not a reason to go out and drink coke every day, but it is a reason that we treat fruit juice the same way -- a nice occasional treat but definitely not part of our son's daily routine. And when we do give it to him, we substantially water it down -- maybe 80/20 water/fruit juice.

  17. To Patrick:
    WOW, I guess we learn new things every day!
    I was confused reading all these "juice is as bad" comments before. You see, where I live many people drink juice and I have often seen doctors recommend juices so kids consume fruit everyday! Maybe I didn't get the point to why they recommend it but I thought juice wasn't bad at all!

  18. Well said Kim, I really appreciate your heart and wisdom.

  19. What an interesting discussion! Its always eye opening to read about different opinions and parenting styles.

    In my case, my son is a water drinker, he rarely drinks juice and does not like soda (his choice). That said, I am a a soda drinker (in my book, there's no better combination than pizza and a regular coke!)and I do allow fast foods/junk food on occasion (McD's has saved my sanity several times over the years!). I will also admit that I have offered soda to my 5 year old, to which he has replied "no thanks, I don't like it".
    We are somewhat healthy eaters in our family, but we do enjoy junk food/carbonated drinks/caffeine and wine.
    Oh, and I recently discovered P.errier Pink Grapefruit - they were sampling it in SoHo while we were there on vacation... I don't like P.errier, but this was YUMMY. Now, don't ask the amount of sodium it contains :-)

  20. If being a coke prude is wrong than I don't want to be right! Happy weekend:)

  21. I think it is great how healthy your family eats! I don't let my kids have Coke... but I personally drink cola everyday and it is not good for me!!! I crave it and am struggling to let it go.
    I am a sugar girl.... I get it from my mom and I could eat sweets all day long. It takes a lot of discipline, planning and work to eat healthy.
    I say, "Good for you!"

  22. Oh boy... I am the WORST Coke Zero addict out there. Seriously! I recently lost 20 pounds and have worked hard at it. I have cut out all junk and bad things from my diet and feel so much better. (Of course I will treat myself to something from time to time.) But Coke Zero is my downfall. I allow myself one every day. Usually in the late afternoon. How I cherish it! My husband drinks way too much of the stuff... I wish he wouldn't. I have been known to hide some for myself... where? In the veggie drawer... beneath the carrots! I kid you not!

    My kids have had Coke/Pepsi... I don't feed it to them here. They are allowed soda/pop from time to time and I prefer they stick with gingerale or sprite... They drink lots of seltzer, plain and flavored. I have no problem with that!

    I also love my glass of wine at the end of the day... what must you think of me? No, I do not hide that anywhere ;)

  23. I agree with you that a soda is not the best beverage choice for children.

    However, in looking at the total picture of what our children are exposed to at this time in the world (violence, sexual themes, hormone additives, processed food, breakdown of the family - divorce, etc.) a soda every now and then can't be too bad.

    I know you want what is best for your kids and it shows. Sometimes perspective, as the title of your post states, is all we need. I enjoy your blog and thanks for sharing.

    Just a comment - which I am sure you already know - stress is one of the biggest factors that compromise our immune system!

  24. I've never liked pop and have probably had less than 1/2 liter bottle in my lifetime and that was only at birthday parties as a kid when I was too shy to ask for water. I'm not a parent yet, but when I am I plan to have pop be a special treat and not something I keep in my home. I guess what I feel I won't have too much control over is what my kids consume when they aren't in my care (i.e. birthday parties, school holiday parties, extracurricular activities, etc.) I would much prefer them to be served a healthier drink, but it seems that is often not the reality. As long as they're getting a healthy diet at home, I don't think I will be too concerned about the occasional pop.

    I think we should also consider ourselves fortunate to have the education about healthy eating and for many, the financial means to be able to buy healthier foods and drinks. I've worked with low-income kids who, at 8 years old, come home from school to an empty house and are expected to cook their own dinner. I would bet that the kitchen isn't stocked with healthy options either. For so many families, it's a struggle to just put food on the table and their kids drinking or not drinking pop is low on their list of worries.

  25. Kim -

    When I was sailing, we used to keep a can of coke set aside specifically for cleaning the corrosion off battery cable & other electronic connections. I always figured if coke could eat away corrosion it wasn't something I wanted in me (or my kids!) And - for those who are wondering - Pepsi did not work nearly as well!

    I've had my pediatrician tell me one glass of unfiltered apple juice in the morning is great - it's a serving of fruit and helps "keeps things moving" - my dentist tell me diet root beer is better than juice because it has no sugar, my chiropractor tell me cows milk is the worst thing I can give my kids, Katie is gluten free on the advice of our speech therapist but our IA doctor doesn't think it makes a difference!
    Some things are clear - soda, candy, over processed foods,fast foods and "junk food" are not on my shopping lists! But I think sometimes an allowance for a special occasion does keep the forbidden foods from being SO forbidden that then they are just too tempting when they are offered.

    Sounds like you've achieved the right balance as Will made the best choice available!

  26. My boys don't drink sodas and the like much at all. And when they do, the younger one wants Sprite and the older one Diet Dr. Pepper. I allow them for special treats, but we never have it in the house.

    We are big fans of Crystal Lite, which people will probably tell me is just as bad...

  27. I really enjoy your blog. I don't have kids myself yet (getting married in April and probably won't have any kids for 4 years at least) but I really respect the way you parent your kids (or what I see of it). I think your blog is great for me to read because I think I am observing some good techniques relating to parenting. I am interested to see your upcoming posts about parenting teens because I think that is so tough.


Thank you for your kindness.