product testing the soda stream

One of the fun new kitchen toys I got myself at the end of last year had been on my back burner for a long time. Playing with my new SodaStream for 10 straight days turned out to be a great lesson in the power of trying new things — even if you find the old things worked better.

drink more water

If you have ever met me in person, or if you ever do, he will know or see that most of what I drink is water. If I’m feeling extravagant, I might switch that up for tea if it’s cold out, or fizzy water if it’s hot out.

I do this, partly for simplicity, partly for frugality and partly for health.

It hasn’t always been this way. In high school I loved loved loved Coca-Cola. #NeverTeamPepsi. At the end of my senior year, breakfast was a can of Coke and a chocolate croissant.

At some point in the early days of college, I decided to see if I could ditch the caffeine — and I never really went back. Once you get used to less hyper-sweetened pleasures, commercial confections are just cloying.

beating the heat

Frozen berries in sparkling water make a cool treat for hot daysThe only time I ever even remotely miss it is during the hottest days of summer. That’s when I stash a small cache of fizzy water in the fridge.

I’ll either drink it straight or use it as a base for homemade bitters or shrubs (aka drinking vinegars), keeping it cool with frozen cherries or puréed Meyer lemons. For my patients trying to ditch the soda, I recommend adding a dash of fruit juice to fizzy water.

But buying fizzy water bothers me for a couple of reasons.

First, it just feels like a wasteful expense even though it’s a lifeline in the heat.

Second, there’s only got so much room in the refrigerator, right? What if I run out, and have to get more from the store in the horrendous heat when all I want to do is hunker down and pray for rain?

Which brings me around to my new kitchen gadget.

the soda stream experiment

frozen lemon cubes in water help beat the heatI’ve been thinking for a while about buying a countertop carbonation device. I have even less room on my counter than in my fridge, but somehow it seems like a better use of my money than buying endless bottles, even if they are recyclable.

So during the sales in around Thanksgiving, I bought myself a SodaStream. The cool weather meant I took a while to actually start using it. But right around the new year I decided to fiddle with it.

And then I got really excited. It tasted so good! I could add some of those herbal projects that I’ve made that would otherwise that otherwise languish for lack of bubbles. I started using the grapefruit bitters I made last spring, the berry-mint shrub I made over the summer.

For about 10 days I rarely drink still water.

And then I started noticing some things. I noticed I was hungrier before bed, even if I didn’t add bitters to my fizzy water. I also started noticing that more foods seemed to feel funny in my tummy — and I usually have bomb-proof digestion.

So I took a couple of days off, just to see. And then I decided to treat myself with some fizzy water plus bitters — and the G.I. symptoms came back. To be clear, these are not full-on symptoms,. It’s just an unusual discomfort, enough that I noticed.

the take-home message

The reason I’m telling you this is not that I think fizzy water is evil – I absolutely don’t. And I am super excited to have this around for the occasional treat and as summer self-defense.

But I think it’s important to share, because we do so many small things on the daily that can add up to discomfort or symptoms. It’s only when we change things up — adding something new, removing something old – that we begin to be able to assess cumulative effects and tease out the culprits.

Turns out, drinking plain (filtered) water is still what’s best for me. So I’m going to mostly stick with that and assume the SodaStream won’t be too sad.

And maybe I can now free up some counter space by hiding the unit in the cabinet with my air popper, to be taken out for a treat rather than an everyday staple.




Header photo by Sam Cernik on Unsplash