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We love our neighbors here on San Mateo. Not only because they greet us with a smile each morning, but also because they bring us bags of cayenne from their family’s chile farm, can help us with car mechanics, and also provide us with a very real perspective on the typical American diet.  One day last week, we struck up a conversation about their diet habits and they seemed open to some suggestions.  So, we challenged them to do better for one week with Verde Juice.

Let me introduce you to the guys at Diamond Vogel Paint. Store manager Matt Stout and his employees Andrew Valdez and James Martinez all grew up here.  When they are not working at the store, you might find them doing body work on cars, coaching kids’ sports teams, or helping to organize the Rodeo de Santa Fe.

Matt, who has been in the paint industry for 16 years, has two young girls and wants to try green juice as a way to get healthy, change his lifestyle. “I want to be around for my daughters to see me when I’m old.”  Andrew also has children and finds that they want whatever they see dad having, so drinking Verde Juice is about modeling better food habits.

The habit they all agreed to change this week is soda.  Matt admits to drinking an average of five 32-oz Diet Dr Pepper mega-sodas every day.  When I delivered juice to them this morningat 8:30, James was already finishing off his first can of “Energy” soda.  I think he’ll actually get a better, more sustained buzz from the organic kale and wheat grass juice in our Verde Almond Chai today.

It turns out that the average soda drinker consumes 20 oz daily, which makes a Big Gulp from 7-Eleven seem not such a big deal.  But here’s a surprising fact – it may fit into your car’s cupholder, but a 32-oz mega-soda won’t fit into your stomach. Or it at least it shouldn’t.  (The average stomach can hold just 30 ounces of fluid.)  And drinking just one Big Gulp every day will pack on an extra 40 pounds of fat a year.  This, of course, is due to the fact that there is no nutritional value in the soda.  Your body receives that empty, processed sugar and stores it as fat because it’s simply extra calories your body can’t use all at once.

So why not switch to diet soda to ditch the calories?  Artificial sweeteners in diet soda have been shown to have the same effect on the body as traditional processed sugar.  It still triggers insulin, sending the body into fat-storage mode.  In fact, researchers from the University of Texas found that over the course of a decade, diet soda drinkers had a 70% greater increase in waist circumference.  And get this: participants who slurped down two or more sodas a day experienced a 500% greater increase.

Check back in with us in a week to see what the fellas report about their experience.  Matt will be monitoring his blood sugar and I’m excited to learn if the extra fruit and veggies they get in their diets this week inspire them to tackle a new healthy habit next week.  Like perhaps some Verde Lavender Sprouted Almonds?  Stay tuned for news on that front, too.

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