The National Soft Drink Association gleefully reports that the average American consumes 1.6 cans of soft drinks every day. Soft drinks are the largest source of refined sugar in the American diet, and they’re a major factor in obesity, heart disease, kidney stones and osteoporosis. Obviously, we ought to drink less of them, but let’s replace quantity with quality. Start by making your own soft drinks with homemade syrups. Try this recipe for ginger syrup: boil two cups of sugar, four cups of water and some grated fresh ginger for five minutes (boil longer if you want it spicier). Let it cool and then strain the liquid into a container that has been rinsed with boiling water. Stick it in the fridge. When you get the urge for a Big Gulp, pour carbonated water into a glass and stir in ginger syrup to taste. Garnish with a fresh wedge of lime, and you will have a soft drink par excellence.