Monday, December 29, 2008

Something for Nothing? (Resolution Time)

When I was in Costa Rica during the summer of 2004 I discovered that its versions of Coke and Diet Coke were equally watery tasting, so in order to get my daily caffeine fix I made the switch to Diet Coke. When I returned to Georgia I continued drinking Diet Coke (spiked with grenadine at first), figuring it was as good a time as any to eliminate the empty calories I consumed from Coca-Cola and not contemplating what the cost might be--or even if there was one. Since then I've moved on to Diet Coke with Lime, Cherry Coca Cola Zero, Diet Dr. Pepper, and so on, and it's seemed like a win-win proposition. I still get my soda but consume no calories.

My sister received a book named Skinny Bitch for Christmas this year, and I ended up skimming it last week. While the book resorts to gratuitous and offensive profanity, it definitely gave me a lot to think about, including my consumption of aspartame, Splenda, and other artificial sweeteners. So I've been digging around some on the internet, and I've been pretty disturbed by what I've found--particularly about aspartame.

Granted it doesn't take a genius to realize that ingesting sodas and other items containing these sweeteners (which is in a LOT of foods/gum/etc.) isn't the ideal and most healthy choice, but I had no idea how many adverse reactions and health problems are associated with the consumption of these sweeteners. Several of the side effects are things I "suffer" from, and I can't help but wonder if they'd go away if I ceased consuming it. And while I've previously read enough to know that the Food and Drug Administration is often corrupt as a result of the strong influence of lobbyists and legislators who are influenced by donors/lobbyists/and others and thus doesn't always (or perhaps ever) have our best interests at heart, I guess I hadn't given much thought to how the FDA's lack of ethical regulation might be affecting me. I hate that we can't trust that something approved by the FDA is safe--whatever that means.

So as I prepare to make some resolutions for the new year, I think ditching soda for at least a month or two may top the list; it'll be a pain, particularly since I enjoy fountain soda (with lots of lemons) so much, but I figure a month will give me a chance to see if I feel better without it. And before you tell me it's stupid to make New Years' resolutions, note that I make resolutions mid-year, monthly, and any time I want. I like resolving and setting goals and try to live at least a semi-self-examined sort of life. And with regard to my diet, I'm disappointed with how thoroughly I've accepted the way our culture eats. I've just been too lazy and complacent to do very much about it. Maybe this will be a step in the right direction because for me it's all about baby steps.

p.s. I'm grateful for fun, low-key NYE plans. We're having a progressive sort of evening with appetizers at a nearby house, dessert in the loft down the hall from me, and drinks (and hopefully fireworks which we can see from my place) at my place. No dressing up, crowds, tickets to an event with cheap liquor, lines at a bar, and hopefully no drama.

19 comments:

Aaron said...

In high school and college I exhibited a myriad of diabetic symptoms. Afraid that I would soon be diabetic, I visited the doctor and had my blood sugar checked frequently, etc. These problems continued until about 4-5 years ago when I completely changed my diet to cut out aspartame, sucralose, partially hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup and even bleached/enriched bread products.

It took some time, but my body adjusted and I lost the excessive sweating, clammy skin, tremors, frequent urges to urinate, etc. Of course, it all could have been symptoms from amphetamine usage in college too. ;)

anne said...

I once read that you can use soda to clear a clogged drain and whether that is true or not it got me to stop drinking it. I will say I have some from time to time, but as for my everyday consumption (which was likely as high as yours) I quit entirely and it wasn't that bad. I drink more ice-tea.

Ally said...

Anne: I'm glad to know it wasn't too bad. I drink unsweet tea sometimes, but of course I sweeten it with Splenda or Sweet-n-Low. Maybe I could get use to it unsweetened entirely.

Aaron: Wow. That's really incredible. Did your doctor suggest those dietary changes? I somehow doubt it....a lot of what I have read has been where individuals took it upon themselves to avoid taking medicine/figure out what was wrong with them and put two and two together (whereas their physicians just kept trying to treat the symptoms).

Lib said...

Ally--

I think that diet sodas are from Satan himself and I outlawed them from my diet years ago. I also think it's interesting that the time when I drank that crap the most was also when I weighed the most I ever have.

I am still obessed with regular Coke (after all, I grew up in Atlanta)--but I don't drink a ton of it. I figure sugar is far better than any artificial crap so I always opt for the regular sodas over the diet ones. And you know what Paris Hilton says (not that she's a credible source for much of anything): "Diet Coke is for fat girls." I know, I know, it's not a nice thing to say...but I do think that diet drinks cause more weight gain than loss.

All things in moderation! Even REAL sugar.

YAY FOR SUGAR!

Flat Coke and Flies said...

I refuse to drink diet ANYTHING and I only put real sugar in my coffee. I reward myself typically once a week with a REAL mellow yellow or sprite. Other than that, it good ole H20 for me. I read about aspertame awhile back and it scared the crap out of me.

Ally said...

FC&F: You're smart. Water is definitely the way to go.

Lib: The reports I've read say artificial sweeteners are linked to weight gain--and some reports say that they make it more difficult for our bodies to know when we're really full, etc. so that is consistent with your experience. I think you're spot on with the entirety of your comment (as usual:)

Rachel said...

I switched to Diet Dr. Pepper for a few months, and after those months were over, I drank some of the regular stuff and it was gross. Like syrup. I would do well to drop soda completely.

I read Skinny Bitch and while the information was good, I thought the language was a bit overdone and annoying after a few pages.

Ally said...

Rachel: I quit drinking soda for a few months when I ran cross country, and when I had my first coke afterwards it burned. That should have been my sign:) And yeah, I couldn't believe some of the stuff they wrote in that book.

TC said...

I know people who complain about others who drink regular pop. I always figure that the extra calories - if you're limiting to one can and watching what else you eat - are better than killing your brain. I think it's a choice. When I "HAVE" to have pop, that's what I go for.

Try water with LOTS of lemon. I'm a fan.

Ys said...

Sounds like your new years plans were a lot like mine :) good on you for making new years resolutions, i can never think of any at the time!

happy new year :)

Pam said...

I was addicted to Diet Coke and Diet Dr. Pepper. I stopped drinking them a couple months ago and switched to water and plain tea. I'll have a regular Sprite every now and then but I think my last one was nearly a month ago.

OK Chick said...

Good luck on ditching sodas. I did this when I was in High School, and I still (10+ years later) do not drink sodas. I found that I didn't miss them, and it was cheaper to drink water. You might find you do not miss them either.

Your NYE plans sound nice. I hope you had a great time.

Ally said...

OK Chick: It is a lot cheaper, especially now that some restaurants charge almost $3 for a soda. I hope I don't miss them too much.

Pam: Good for you!

Ys: That's the good thing about resolutions--you can make them any time, but it's sort of fun to do some at the start of a new year.

TC: I'll try it. I had a friend who would add sugar too and make lemonade.

Brandy said...

I'm not really a soda drinker, this isn't because I want to be more 'healthy' but mostly because I have a strong addiction to Crystal light and (thankfully) water. I have a friend who is also giving up the drink this year, after he calculated how much he was spending per month on the habit so good luck to both of you!

Re: Becca said...

Hi! Thanks for stopping by my blog! Strangely enough, I made a deal with myself to cut waaaaaaay back on my Coke consumption this year. I am not a Diet Coke drinker, but the Classic is just awful too, lol! Still, I LOVE love LOVE it.

Kyla Bea said...

Good job on giving up the sodas! I've cut way back on my consumption and it's made a huge difference in my skin actually - I just don't break out the same way anymore.

When I do have sodas I have the full sugar version, just because it's a treat - but I don't drink them on a daily basis anymore.

Good luck!

Amy said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog! It's so funny the timing of your post! I have had very in depth conversations with people lately about soda/diet soda and the aspartame in it. Just yesterday I was chatting with a friend about how she's going to stop drinking diet soda and hopefully lose weight. I've heard so many bad things about aspartame and I know I need to stop drinking diet soda as well. I love it though! I stopped drinking it the summer of 2007 and I was the skinniest I have been in a long time. I think I will stop drinking it for awhile and see what happens also! Thanks for the inspiration!

Amy said...

and uh, while i'm at it...you're tagged too! sorry :P

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