I’ve been hard at work over the last year and a half kicking bad eating habits out of my life. I’m proud of how far I’ve come – aside from cutting out a lot of junk and nutrition-less foods, I’ve even managed to curb my sweet tooth and now only have a couple small pieces of chocolate a day (as opposed to bingeing on sweets because I felt like it). But, one bad habit has been hanging around that I haven’t been able to completely kick: diet soda.
I’ve gone through phases with soda where I won’t drink much of it, and think I’m close to quitting, but then get pulled back in because diet soda just “goes” so well with a particular meal. It also “goes” against all the other healthy habits I strive for in my life: to eat natural, whole foods that have nutritional benefits and not to eat “just because.” I’m at the point where even the dog is eating a wholesome diet complete with natural dog food and raw veggies!
So, I did something today that I have been avoiding at all costs: I looked up and really gave some thought to the ingredients in diet soda. After reading for about 20 seconds, I got up, dumped the diet soda I was drinking down the drain, and vowed to quit cold turkey. I didn’t learn anything new, per se, but I did approach the information I was reading from a new perspective of wanting to kick this habit. As silly as it sounds, I thought to myself, “I would never in a million years let the dog drink diet soda, so why am I allowing myself to?” (I say this with some hesitation, because Cooper also eats a lot of things that I never would like sticks, bones, and the green fuzzy stuff on tennis balls… but you know what I mean.)
Now that I’m ready to admit that I’ve been in denial about how worthless diet soda is, I thought I would share some of the things that truly did scare me straight. This is only the tip of the iceberg, there is a lot of information out there (and much of it is sensational, to be honest, so read with a keen eye to the source!) but I thought these tid-bits were helpful:
- “Caramel coloring” is tricky marketing wordplay
- Aspartame is so far from acceptable in a clean diet
- Potassium benzoate is used in FIREWORKS
- The acidic nature of soda can ruin your teeth
I tried to pinpoint when exactly I became “hooked,” because soda wasn’t something I grew up drinking. It was an occasional treat. It wasn’t until college that I began to drink diet soda regularly – aside from an endless supply available on campus (and at all-you-can-eat dining halls where there were also piles of unhealthy food choices), I thought I would be doing myself a favor in saving some calories in the mixed drink department when we went to parties if I used diet instead of regular. Soon it crept into my every day life, and I began thinking that while some people drank coffee for a caffeine jolt, I preferred diet soda. It was my version of “coffee.”
Well, coffee substitute no longer – I’m making a conscious decision to cut it out of my diet once and for all. Wish me luck!