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Updated: Oct 1, 2021

For all the football (ehmm.. soccer for the uninitiated) fans around the world, the UEFA Euro 2020 championship was postponed to the summer of 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. All the matches were full of adrenaline and excitement, especially during the finals where Italy beat England on penalty shootout following a 1-1 draw. A few of my colleagues who are die-hard English fans, took the day off from work to fully concentrate on the game, because if England had won, it would have been a historic victory on home soil.

While the world enjoyed these matches at the edges of their seats, there was another bold gesture on June 14, 2021 that had created waves on social media. I am referring to the controversial incident, where the then Juventus megastar (now with Manchester United, since September 2021) - Cristiano Ronaldo removed two Coca-Cola bottles that were strategically placed in front of him during Portugal's pre-match press conference. He went on to raise a bottle of water and then proudly exclaimed 'Agua' (the Spanish term for water). This action further inspired Italian sensation Manuel Locatelli to mimic a similar gesture.

Tim Crow, a sports marketing consultant for Coca-Cola on football sponsorships mentioned that:

Coke pays tens of millions to be a UEFA sponsor and as part of that there are contractual obligations for federations and teams, including taking part in press conferences with logos and products. But there are always risks.

Coca-Cola's market value apparently took a beating as a result of this incident and plummeted by about USD $4 Billion. Although a Forbes article claims that the timing of the incident occurred after the slide in market value, but regardless, Cristiano's bold gesture on live television underlines the strong message that people should be drinking just plain water instead of sugary carbonated drinks to maintain their long-term health. The Portugal captain, who is known to eschew carbonated drinks and alcohol, and with around 550 million social media followers, has clearly demonstrated that he walks his talk. He is a true champion!! I strongly urge other similar celebrities to step up from behind their wealthy veils of marketing sponsorships and being brand ambassadors of unhealthy foods, and instead boldly preach the true value of nutrient-rich whole foods.

Studies from Harvard Medical School, claim that you normally need about 4 - 6 cups (1 - 1.5 liters) of water each day, and considerably more if you have certain health conditions. Personally, I aim for 3 liters of water and one glass of warm lemon-infused water to begin my day, as this helps to flush out toxins from my body. I have also strictly eliminated all kinds of coffee and alcohol from my diet since August 2021 as I envisioned the journey to a healthy version of myself. My close friends have known my previous love for bottles of red wine and single-malt whiskeys (with 2 drops of water), since I hate adulterations to its true flavour. It was definitely hard at first, but once I created my mental mindset and clearly defined my long-term health goals, it was much easier to implement than I had imagined. You can do this too!!

To my readers, I implore you to remember that change starts with YOU. As a father or mother or even a child in the family, you can take the bold life-saving decision to say NO to carbonated sugary beverages. Take charge of your health today!! I know that this is not going to be an easy choice, and initially you might get mocked by others. But folks, our life on Planet Earth is a marathon and not a sprint. I want you to know your purpose and be healthy - for your kids, for your spouse and most importantly for YOURSELF.

P.S. If I had the ability to change one thing from Cristiano's press conference, then I would ask him to bring his own reusable water bottle so that we can ditch single use plastics forever, and keep our Planet clean.

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