The hint has been in the air, but I haven’t really known how to put it into words. We’ve been together so long and have been through so much together. It’s been the first thing I’ve reached for in the morning and has kept me company into the wee hours. We’ve been together through better and worse, and I was certain we’d be together on my deathbed. But I’m afraid that, while we will always be friends and my loyalty will stay true, Coke and I have grown apart.
It was a cool and breezy day back in April when I popped open a little bottle of Coke and was surprised that it wasn’t the pause that refreshed. I looked at the bottle to make sure it was the real thing. It was. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t satisfying. I didn’t think much about it until the next Coke and the one after both hit my thirst the same way. What was happening? Was Coke turning on me, or was I turning on Coke?
At about the same time, my teen watched Fed-Up, a documentary about the evils of sugar, and shared some of what he had learned—mostly that sugar was in just about everything we digested and that it wasn’t good for us. ‘Well, duh!’ was my internal knee-jerk response. Over the years, I have become a little defensive about my relationship with sugar. However, my teen’s enthusiasm for eating healthier after watching the documentary and my finding it difficult to refute him led me to agree to try a moderate-sugar diet (sugar free is just too radical). I would cook fewer processed foods (ok, we would eat out and order healthier foods) and buy more fruit to soothe our sugar cravings. I’d also stop stalking the cotton candy vendors on our way home from dropping off our campers.
Beverages were my biggest sugar-free challenge. I like to have a drink by my side at all times. My separation from Coke made it easier to let go of soft drinks. I am loyal only to Coke (and the occasional Dr. Pepper). I am an avid ice-tea drinker, but without sugar, it held no appeal for me. And unlike my teen, who traded water for soft drinks years ago (the betrayal still smarts, but at least he didn’t start drinking diet Pepsi!), I hate water. I started experimenting, adding mint and lemon to different types of bottled water, and took enthusiastic sips, reminding myself that some people walked miles uphill both ways for a teaspoon of water, but my inner sugar rebel was not sold. She revolted. I simply had a thirst that could not be quenched. And then I discovered sparkling water. Carbonation was my savior. I love the fizz, the pop, and the punch that carbonation gives water. My favorite is Selters, in a pretty blue (it looks like Vodka) bottle. If I must give a full disclosure—I have not given up my once-a-day Starbucks habit, but my primary beverage choice these days is carbonated water. A blog post in the near future will offer tips on how to find a bathroom under any circumstance.
I know. We are passing through Ohio* now. Stay with me.
My teen and I have been moderately sugar free for about four months. There are days I fail at the grocery checkout and fall face first into a Hershey candy bar with almonds, but most of the time, I can close my eyes and push on through. Cole had a late night pie attack the other night that sent us racing to Bakers Square for a French Silk Pie, which we feverishly devoured, but being sugar moderate means we can accept a fail or two. I do miss Coke. I even crave it, like, I might imagine, craving a limb that was missing. My hand twitches a bit. I still order it when I have Mexican food or am at the movies, but I end up looking forlornly at the bottle or cup and asking, ”What went wrong between us, Coke?” I guess we’ll just have to be friends in a different way. Maybe I’ll buy a Coke hoodie.
How do I feel? Well, I feel good! And while I once thought a life that didn’t include processed sugar at every meal and every snack wasn’t worth living, I haven’t found giving up sugar all that hard (mostly). Odd, isn’t it?
Odd Loves Company,
P.S. If your stock in the Coke Cola company suddenly dropped, please accept my regrets.
P.S.S. Please note I do still eat Peeps.
* If you frequent Odd, you know that whenever one of my blog posts goes on endlessly and leaves you wondering if I will ever get to the point or if there even is a point, I reference Ohio. Why? Because the people I know and love from Ohio (and I know many) tend to tell long stories that frequently digress. It’s an inside Odd joke, but if you know someone from Ohio, you’ll get it immediately.
9 thoughts on “Coke We Will Always Be Friends”
So congrats on the sugar cleanse. I know I have way too much myself and need to cut back. Soda has never been a huge issue for me but I love sugar in other forms. :-0 And I will leave this comment uncharacteristically brief for an Ohioan.
Thanks. You must be VERY busy :-D. I suggest baby steps and never telling yourself you CAN’T have something. The self will always find away.
Good for you Katybeth….I never cared much for soft drinks or alcohol but I do eat way too much sugar in the form of cookies, cake, etc..I must stop..I know that sugar is about the worst thing we can eat..Luckily I do love water..You are an inspiration, Katybeth..Thanks for sharing your story.
Thank you. I’m told water is the key to everything so you are a long way ahead of people who drink soft drinks! It seems the minute I tell myself I can’t have something I want it even more. Baby steps have been helpful. And frozen grapes. I eat them by the bag full. They have sugar but at least it is not processed. Oh, and not keeping anything in the house–however this leads me to be very creative and digging desperately in the pantry for that old powdered sugar to toss on blueberries. 😎
Congrats on your new routine, Katybeth! Giving up something we love isn’t easy. I gave up all caffeine and cola several years ago and, while there are still times I’d LOVE a Coke, I find the stuff doesn’t agree with me. I’ve switched to mostly lemonade (kind of like water, no??). Domer drinks mostly water — he’s a good kid — but I suspect there’s an occasional beer or soft drink thrown in! Now I need to work on my consumption of York Peppermint Patties!!
Funny, how the kids are taking on better eating habits. I have a feeling it has to do with being weight conscious as much as health. But the result are the same!
I think a few vices keep us interesting!
We all have our vices & it’s so hard to give them up for the sake of better health. Congratulations to you for getting over a major hurdle! Keep up the good attitude…….it’ll help in your fight!
Thanks. It has been much easier than I thought it would be. Although last night I was considering melting bakers chocolate with sugar and eating it by the spoonful. Baby steps. 😀
I am way behind. But we retirees are often like that. We have time, now, to peruse, pause, reflect, and maybe get around to commenting. We gave up soda (we call it pop) a few months ago too. It’s not been that hard for me, I like water, but my husband is still struggling. When we travel he will, on occasion, order pop w/ dinner. I tried that once, but couldn’t drink it all. So that works for me. I agree water is the key to everything. Hope it’s still working for you!
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