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.