Friday, April 8, 2011

On My Mind...NOT Diet Soda

Last year at Easter I decided to remove aspartame from my diet as part of my continual evolution towards a more natural, whole-foods, organic diet.  Probably 99% of my aspartame came in the form of diet soda.  I was a soda addict....plain and simple.  There is no other way to say it.  It had me strongly wrapped up in its fake sugary grip.  It had me good.

This is the library coke machine that used to be daily temptation for me.  I am so glad it no longer sucks money out of my pockets.
When soda was around I would pass on all other beverages, including water, until the soda was gone.  (For a while I tried to work a deal with myself where I had to have a tall glass of water in between every soda.  I would slam the water in order to be able to have another soda.  It is so silly in hindsight.) 

Brand didn't really matter--I had my preferences--but I would drink basically any soda.  I would get soda cravings so strong they would give me a tremendous pressure in my head if I didn't have one.  The pressure would be almost instantly relieved by a sip of that fizzy "delight."  (It wasn't the caffeine either because I switched to caffeine-free and even that still stopped the withdrawal symptoms.) 

A close up of part of a self-portrait I made in 2006 in which I have given myself an IV drip of Diet Mountain Dew.  THAT'S how crazy it was.   (I was studying Eastern religions at the time in college, hence the multiple arms)

I would (somewhat) jokingly refer to Diet Mountain Dew and Diet Pepsi as the "nectar of the gods."  I was hardly joking.

I would buy it by the 2 liter (to save on packaging and price), but that mostly resulted in my drinking even more of it since it wasn't portioned out.  Soon that big ol' bottle was empty.  My recycle bin was overflowing with those lousy plastic bottles.

I think that quitting aspartame/diet soda is the second hardest vice I've conquered.  It is second only to quitting cigarettes. 

So, I was thinking: "Oh, Easter is coming up soon.  That means it's coming up on a year since I had aspartame." Then I looked at the 2010 calendar and realized its actually already been a year since Easter was so early last year and so late this year.  Wow...time flies. 

Just like when I quit cigarettes I can not imagine it any other way now.  To think of my dependence/addiction to diet soda now is almost laughable.  I almost never think of soda anymore.  The only time I really do is on camping outs and road trips.  So, I have one.  Only now it is organic sparkling juice or an organic soda in which I can recognize all the ingredients (including the horrifying amount of sugar, which frequently makes me reconsider).  But, it is a treat, as I feel it should be, not an every day thing like it was. 

I drink much, much more water now, as well as tea.   One neat observation:  I stopped feeling the need to put sweetener in my tea after I kicked aspartame.  I am not sure why, perhaps the sweetness receptor inside me has been that much realigned.

I am kicking my vices one at a time on my quest towards good is a slow going, but rewarding process.  I suppose that is a good thing to keep in mind.

The On My Mind concept come from  Rhonda on her Down to Earth blog.  Won't you join in on the fun?!


  1. love the Stand by Me song, Beth...will see if I can find the documentary on Netflix, thx!

    Some friends and I gave up cokes for a while in high school, and I pretty much lost my taste for them, except when I'm sick. (Water tastes flat then.) Gave up cigs 29 years ago and still want to smoke occasionally! argh, wish I'd never started that flippin' addiction!

  2. It's great that you gave up the sodas as it's horrible for your bones. I avoid it myself and keep thinking about giving up the coffee I OVER consume each day... all that caffeine isn't good for me either.

  3. One time when I was on a diet kick to try and lose a few pounds I started eating Weight Watchers packaged cookies and yogurt. The thing I noticed was my craving for sweets went through the roof. I finally figured out it was the artificial sweetener that was causing it. So I too kicked aspartame, starting eating real foods and exercising more. That did the trick! I hope the best for you as you continue to kick those vices!
    I have quilting on my mind today.

  4. Well done. Any addiction can be hard to kick the habit. I had an addiction to soft drinks as a teen, especially the popular caffeinated one. Was quite hard to kick the habit, and it has come back a few times over the years. You are best to stay right off that aspartame, I've heard it's quite dangerous to your health.

  5. You are an inspiration to me. xoxox

  6. Thanks everyone for your kind words and support!

    I've heard/read about soda's negative effects on bones. I have arthritis so this was certainly a consideration in my quitting, though not the largest one.

    I totally feel aspartame drives stronger sweet tooth cravings, at least in people predisposed to a sweet myself. I watched a documentary called (I believe) Sweet Misery. It was all about aspartame and FDA trials and whatnot. It was pretty...unsettling.

    Thanks again. Have a wonderful day!


Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts and ideas. I value the advice and friendship that you share with me!