This is just one single blog entry, but it's a packed one.
I wanted to call this a triple threat, but it's quite the opposite of a threat, actually.
Only I can't remember what that's called, so the word anti-threat officially exists as of right now.
It will give you, like it did me, the opportunity to save three things in one fell swoop:
This sounds very dramatic, because I wanted it to sound very dramatic, but it really does allow you to change your drinking habits in order to be healthier, to slow the progress of discoloration of your teeth, and to greatly reduce your reliance on single-use plastics and, in turn, their terrible impact on the environment, especially our oceans. All of this is out of my Not Resolutions post.
Three intertwined issues rolled into a ball of let's make the world a better place and give you a reason to smile the biggest of smiles, without feeling bad about your teeth!
Q: How can I keep my teeth from staining every time I have coffee, tea, or a sugary/colored beverage?
A: Drink those beverages with a straw.
Q: Didn't we say we would reduce single-use plastics?
Using straws all the time seems somewhat counter-intuitive.
A: Get metal and/or glass straws to use instead of plastic ones.
Q: And what about my health?
How do these straws help me consume less stuff like lemonade or iced tea?
A: You will have to wash the straw every time you use it.
Every. Single. Time.
Some of my metal and glass straws, with their cleaning brushes.
Drinking beverages like coffee and tea can stain your teeth and make it hard to keep them nice and white and healthy, unless you brush your teeth immediately every time you have any of that. The same is the case with colored drinks, like sodas. You might say that there's gum that helps with discoloration, especially for heavy coffee/tea drinkers and even smokers. But have you tried getting chewing gum over your front teeth? Exactly, you can't really. I call a scam... Using a straw, however, allows you to manipulate the fluid in your mouth to not even touch your front teeth but go straight behind them and down the tongue. Yes, of course brushing your teeth after every drink is even better, but, I mean, honestly... ain't nobody go time fo' dat!
Some people I have told about this immediately countered this idea saying that drinking coffee with a straw changes the taste of it and makes it weird and not enjoyable. This hasn't been my experience. Maybe that happens with plastic straws, but I've been using glass straws and have not noticed any weird taste changes with my favorite hot pick-me-up. Also, most glass straws are shorter than the metal ones you can get, so there's no issue of anything cooling down on the way from the cup to your mouth. For me, the only outcome has been the very positive one of my teeth not staining as much.
And it looks cool and allows you to take artsy pictures like this whenever the "latte art" isn't on point!
Using metal and glass straws means that you won't be using single-use plastic straws anymore. At least at home. I also have one of each of my straws in the office so I can also be more mindful of the environment, my teeth, and my nutrition at work. Because of crafts projects, I still have a lot of plastic straws at home, but I have plans for upcycling all of them (another point on my non-resolution list!), to continue as I have been doing for years.
Now to the health part.
Fizzy drinks and sodas are not good for us, obviously. We (almost) all know that, but we (almost) all still drink them anyway. My personal vice is and has been for a while Coca Cola Zero/Coca Cola Light. Not only is this a terrible choice of drink, it's also full of artificial cr*p that is bad for our organs and messes with our metabolism and food-related hormones. Especially if somebody is trying to lose weight, contrary to what you might think consuming artificially sweetened drinks instead of those chock full of actual sugar doesn't help at all. Quite the opposite is often the case!
What I learned from #NoomArticles is that "our brains have trouble registering the difference between real sugar and artificial sweeteners" which means that "when we eat [or drink] something sweet, our brain expects calories to come along with it. When no calories come, our brain feels cheated, and we end up with cravings for more sweets to satisfy ourselves." Often that will lead to people actually ending up gaining weight when they replace sugary drinks for artificially sweetened ones... not good.(the quotes are from the Noom app article Dissecting our drinks)
If you know that the stuff is bad for your teeth then embracing the idea of using a straw when you drink it is easy-peasy. But that doesn't reduce the amount of cans or bottles we drink each week, because the elephant is still stronger than the rider (#NoomNerds know what I'm talking about). Using non-plastic straws, however, does. Because that elephant is not in the mood for housework.
Think about this: if you have water, you can just rinse the straw when you've finished your glass or bottle; at the end of the day, you wash it properly. If it's not water you're drinking, then just like it stains your teeth it will also get your straw all sticky, so you can't simply rinse it when your cup is empty. You have to clean it well. I don't know about you, but for me, that's been very helpful - I'm too lazy to basically do dishes every time I'm a bit thirsty! Automatically, then, my lazy butt switches to water and keeps the artificial drinks to a minimum. Laziness FTW!
Of course, I'm not saying to skip brushing your teeth. Not altogether and not even during the day. I still do that, at home as well as at work. Just not as many times.
No filter, no edit.
This, now, is a smile that says "I feel good about what my teeth look like even though I will never stop drinking aaall of the coffee." It says "I'm mindful of what I put into my body and I'm able to take better care of it." And it says "I'm less of a burden on our environment and my ecological and carbon footprints are dropping sizes just like I am."
Sounds good, right?
Add-on: elephant and rider.
For the non-Noomers out there, here is who the elephant and the rider are: they make up the brain. You used to think it was grey matter and all kinds of cells and whatnot, but the truth is inside your skull live an elephant and his rider (all quotes here are taken from the Noom app article Tame your inner elephant).
"The rider is our rational, analytical side. It's our self-control.
The elephant is our impulsive, irrational, emotional side."
The elephant rages for the sweet, fizzy beverage, while the rider tries to calmly explain that water or at least tea would be so much better for their human host. Sometimes one wins, sometimes the other. There are all kinds of different strategies Noom equips app users with to help the rider control the elephant while also keeping the elephant happy (from controlling one's environment and planning ahead for meals and snacks, to making sure all goals set are realistic and being nice to the elephant, meaning regular treats!).
I quite like this analogy, or rather, this new science that completely wipes out previous theories of brain hemispheres made up of neurons and dentrites and axons and water and fat.