The problem is that diet soda is seriously delicious. I don't know how carbonated water, caramel color, aspartame, phosphoric acid, artificial and natural flavors, sodium benzoate, and caffeine can add up to something so tasty, but it does. Maybe there's a secret ingredient: Evil. Pure, carbonated evil. Throw some fake sugar in there and the result is nirvana.
I do love caffeine. Fortunately, ingesting caffeine does not interfere with my ability to fall asleep at night. At bedtime, I lie down with the kids until they fall asleep and then I get back up again, except for the part about getting back up again. Really what happens is that I fall fast, fast asleep the nanosecond we turn off the light. In fact, sometimes I think I fall asleep while I am still reading them books. My mouth is making sounds, but my brain has turned itself off.
Anyway, since I love caffeine, but want to avoid the negative health effects of diet soda, I had the brilliant idea of switching to coffee. Some might liken this move to heroin addict switching to methadone rather than kicking the habit altogether, but I say...actually, I would say that comparison is right on target. My goal is harm reduction. I am the Netherlands of the public health world.
However, switching over to coffee is not going so well. I'm going to let you in on a secret: Coffee is gross, unless you add a boatload of sugar. And cream. And artificial and natural flavors. And maybe a little high-quality, locally-sourced, free-range sodium benzoate. Once you add all those, it's delicious.
|Even just seeing|
a picture of it
makes my hands
Maybe I should just embrace my diet soda addiction in the same way some smokers embrace their socially unacceptable habit. I could take "drink breaks" from work every hour or so, and go out on the sidewalk in front of my office to take a few quick swigs. When I check into a hotel, I could ask for a soda-drinking room. To fully follow this model, I would have to smell awful as a result of indulging in my bad habit, as cigarette smokers do. Given the amount of sodium benzoate I've consumed, I probably already smell a bit funky.
I have made some moderate progress in my drive to cut out diet soda. For example, mark today on the calendar, because I did not have a drop of Diet Dr. Pepper! Seriously, mark it. This might be the only day that ever happens.
It won't be easy, but if I truly care about my health, then I need to stop drinking diet soda. Instead, I'll help keep my body healthy by drinking water and milk. And every so often, sneak out on the side for a few quick swigs of sodium benzoate.