Every family has its food quirks. For us, it was a household ban on all types of soda. Growing up, our fridge was never stocked with massive bottles of Sprite. At my birthday parties, my mom always put out an array of low-sugar juice boxes and never a single can of Pepsi. I didn't even have my first sip of Coke until my freshman year of college, and I have still yet to sample Dr. Pepper, Fanta, and many other staple soft drinks. Shocking, right? Here's what it was like to grow up without soda. 

Well, That Was Easy

Sammy Mintzer

Contrary to what many may believe, being restricted to juice, tea, water and milk was by no means a hardship. After all, you can't crave something that you'd never tasted.

On one momentous day when I finally got my hands on Harwich Elementary School's hottest beverage (Sprite), I was incredibly underwhelmed. Yes, it was fizzy. Yes, it was sugary. But did it make me look back in horror at the past 10 years of my life, wondering how I could have ever survived without soda? Not so much. All those years of not having Coca-Cola readily available had taught my taste buds that soft drinks weren't something that my body needed and no amount of carbonated sugar was going to change that. 

No Soda, No Problem

Also surprising to most readers is the fact that I never resented my parents for invoking the Great Soda Embargo of 1998. Some kids weren't allowed to have video games, some weren't allowed to have pets, I wasn't allowed to have soda and that's just how it was.

Seeing my peers proudly open up their lunch boxes to reveal a can of Sprite didn't even spark the tiniest bit of anger or jealously. While I was in elementary school, nobody cared that I wasn't drinking the same thing as everyone else, so I didn't either. If there ever was a "my parents are trying to ruin my life" moment in middle school, it certainly wasn't about what was or was not in my glass during dinner.  

Now that I'm an "adult," here's the thing: I don't hate soda, but I certainly don't love it. Occasionally, I would beg a cup of soda off my friends' parents as a kid. However, the novelty of having an "illicit drink" soon wore off and all that was left was a sweetness so intense, it bordered on repulsive. 

Particularly, once I reached middle school, soda had been absent from my life for so long that it just had no appeal to me. While I did (and admittedly still do) enjoy the rare Shirley Temple, I'd rather swap it for a glass of unsweetened iced tea, instead. The only time that I use the soda fountain today in the dining hall is to get water. Even now that I'm living thousands of miles away from home, I still order iced water when I go out to eat. Soda never became part of my diet then, and it likely never will.