Beverage canI’ve been hooked on “the juice” since I was a young boy. It’s what all the cool kids were doing, so it just seemed natural to follow suit. It started as an occasional thing, but by the end of high school, I was drinking regularly and within the first few years of college, it was starting to catch up to me. No longer was I able to slug back a six pack without seeing it’s effects on my system. College life had me hitting the books and spending untold hours in the practice room (I majored in Trumpet Performance), so I wasn’t as active as I once was and all that drinking starting packing on weight. That’s when I made the switch to Diet Coke. Yes, I’ve been talking about Diet Coke! What did you think I was talking about? 😉

I gave up Diet Coke a week ago Thursday and I went cold turkey. Why the sudden change? Well, Patty, a co-worker of Holly’s, said that aspartame can mess with your brain chemistry. When mixed with MSG, which is found in more food than you’d imagine, can really do some freaky stuff to your head. I knew that Diet Coke wasn’t a health drink, due to the aspartame sweeter, but hearing that it could monkey with my brain chemistry was the final push I needed to give it up.

This wasn’t the first time though, several times since college, I’ve been successful in quitting the brown bubbly demon. For six months I was cycling in Europe and only had Diet Coke on rare occasion. Then there were the diets that I took on from time-to-time where I would steer clear of it as well. Inevitably though, I would find myself in need of an energy kick, or a time of stress and Diet Coke was always there waiting for me.

It wouldn’t take long to get back into the habit either. It’d start with one or two cans and the next thing I knew, I had the monkey on my back again. So do I think this time will be successful? I don’t know. History has shown that I have a weakness for it, but it’s been a little more than a week and I’m doing pretty good. I’m hoping that this time it will stick.

One of the interesting things during this process has been learning what else there is to drink. I’ve been on a bit of a beverage safari as I try different drinks. Tab Energy was pretty good, but at $2 a can, it’s a little expensive. In fact, last time I was buying groceries, I noticed that it was more expensive than many imported beers! I opted for a six-pack of Grolsch instead that day. I’ve also begun brewing Luzianne Tea for iced tea and that’s become a good staple, along with good old water.

Because one of the things that has become clear is that regardless of my choice of liquid libation, I tend to drink a lot of it. Coke, tea, water, it doesn’t matter — I’ll drink a couple of liters of it every day. So finding an affordable alternative has been almost as important as finding a heathy alternative to Diet Coke.

As of this writing, it’s been a little more than a week since I’ve been off the syrupy sauce. Unfortunately, I don’t notice a huge difference in my mental aptitude, or dexterity. I was dragging ass for the first few days, but that’s over with and things feel like normal. Will cutting “the juice” out of my diet make a huge difference in my life? Well, I haven’t seen the evidence of that just yet, but only time will tell. It certainly can’t hurt.