Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Tonic detox

If you don’t know me personally, here is an embarrassing fact about me you probably also don’t know: despite all the time I spend baking my own bread, making desserts from scratch, and buying one-ingredient food items, I can count on two hands the number of days I have gone in the past quarter-century plus without consuming tonic (aka soda, pop, fizzy drink—using “tonic” to describe a carbonated beverage is the linguistic stamp of an old-school Bostonian of a certain age, FYI). Specifically, Pepsi.

Growing up, I was not allowed to drink tonic except on special occasions, and even then my intake was limited. In an early, suitably brainless act of adolescent rebellion, one of the first money-wasting habits I formed after getting a paper route was buying a 16-oz bottle of Pepsi on the way home from school every day. And then consuming the entire thing on the half-mile walk, apparently, since I couldn’t have walked into the house carrying one. A habit was formed, and I’ve been carrying the monkey on my back ever since. I have sought Pepsi in some far-flung places (China? Finland? The British Virgin Islands? Aberdeen? Coke is a lot more universally available, and has had to stand in on many occasions) and smuggled it into any number of meetings. It’s like being a junkie, only less dangerous and life-threatening, plus it gives you an excuse to check out foreign supermarkets. (Every cloud has a silver lining.)

I shudder to think how much money I’ve given to Pepsico over the years. And I wonder what’s going to happen to their stock price as a result of the decision I made this morning in the shower?

Because today, my friends, is the day I’m giving up Pepsi. I’ve cut my consumption way back over the past three or four years, down from a high of three or more cans a day to less than one can’s worth most days. I’ve done it consciously, little by little, but I’ve come to the conclusion that, if I want to kick the daily habit, the only option left is cold turkey.

I’m not doing it for high-minded or noble reasons, because I want to cleanse my body of high-fructose corn syrup or go totally organic or anything like that. No, if I’m going to be completely honest, I’m doing it because I don’t even really like it anymore (American Pepsi tastes so much sweeter than what I’ve gotten used to drinking, as I realized when I sampled Throwback Pepsi, made with actual sugar, a couple of months ago), and because I’m looking to tweak my daily caloric intake and this is the obvious choice to knock off 100 calories or more every single day. If it comes down to this or having dessert—particularly homemade dessert—it’s a no-brainer.

I’m staving off caffeine withdrawal with homemade cold-brewed iced tea, and I’m telling you because I need  help to stick to my decision. I didn’t buy any Pepsi at the supermarket this morning; what’s left in that bottle in the picture is all I have in the house.

Tell me I’m doing the right thing to kick this ridiculous habit. Tell me about a habit you’ve kicked and motivate me. Tell me that being a tonic-drinker is not a critical part of my identity. Tell me how I’m sticking it to the food industry. Tell me something I should buy with the money I’m going to save.


Aimee @ Simple Bites said... Best Blogger Tips

Good for you! BE encouraged!
My tips? Stay out of those supermarkets. Shop at farmers markets, where you won't be tempted to buy some. When you do have to shop at the supermarkets, have groceries delivered, of have someone (hubby?) get them for you.

For summer parties where Pepsi is served, bring your own delicious iced tea. (oh and thanks for the link!)

Adrienne said... Best Blogger Tips

You can do it! I kicked my mid-afternoon diet coke habit and I honestly feel better for it. I sleep better at night if I limit caffeine to before noon.

I say dump the bottle you have in the house, it's only going to tempt you from the fridge. If you miss the fizz, try selzer water or club soda, with lemon or iced tea or both. I also like celery bitters and club soda. Maybe you could put a dollar in a jar every day that you don't drink it.. or however much you used to spend on Pepsi each day. Save the money up for something fun and non caloric, like a pair of shoes or tickets to a show or something.

Good luck!

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

Way to go! You can totally do this.

I kicked a Coke habit about a year ago, but it slowly wormed its way back into my diet, and I'm quitting again.

My strategies are pretty simple. I've brought beverages I want to drink to work (teabags for hot tea, lime to make the water I should drink more palatable). I've made soda absolutely off-limits to myself during the one short time period that it is most attractive to me (lunchtime at work). I've also told people close to me what I'm doing to help myself stay motivated.

I know that last time I did this, and upped my water intake at the same time, I felt SO MUCH BETTER. Plus, I pretty effortlessly lost a few pounds. Slowly, not a dramatic loss, but loss I didn't have to sweat for? That's bonus points.

Congratulations on the decision, and good luck!

dana said... Best Blogger Tips

way to go, nancy! i went through this after moving here. coke in europe tastes different, and i was drinking it and a gallon of coffee, and i decided coffee was enough. i also had to quit smoking when we started planning for a baby, which is possibly the hardest thing i've had to do... and cold turkey is the only way. the patch and the gum are useless in my opinion. same with pepsi - don't just replace it with something else. drink water. in time the habit will dissapear and you won't even miss it. you'll feel great about this decision if you stick to it long enough.

Cheryl Arkison said... Best Blogger Tips

Wow, this is commitment. Kudos.

Why don't you put the money away that you would normally spend on tonic to save for something special. Like an ice cream maker or truffle oil or real balsamic vinegar?

Funny 4 year old story. We were driving behind a Coke delivery truck the other day and my Monster asked me what was in the truck. When I told her it was soda pop her response was, "Gross! For adults and for kids."

For the record, we've never told her it was gross, but she isn't allowed pop. She's tried it, doesn't like the fizz.

Kimberly said... Best Blogger Tips

I feel your pain. My Pepsi addiction is strong. I won't allow it in the house, and if I treat myself at a party or on the holidays, I send people home with whatever I have left in the house. I saw the "old-school" variety in the supermarket a few months ago and walked by it Three Times before I finally said "no way. no more" and walked away. Good luck!

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

There comes a time when we all have to give something up - I've never managed the cigarettes, but have the wine. A wise person once pointed out that you can blame your parents for most thing until we are 40, after that, it's your fault. Maybe as we head in the direction of 40, we start taking responsibility for ourselves, just that little bit more. Maybe becoming the house owning, domestic crisis manager, dealer with plumbers etc., something changes from the girl on the paper round, to you today.

Roving Lemon said... Best Blogger Tips

Aimee - thanks for the tips! I was very proud of myself for getting through Target this morning without succumbing. And full props to your iced tea, which is making all this possible!

Adrienne - great tips from a fellow quitter! I especially like the idea of putting aside a sum for every day I abstain.

Anon #1 - yes, isn't it amazing how you associate it with certain times/places? Good luck and congrats to you too!

dana - way to go to you for kicking Coke AND cigarettes! I have thought more than once that I'm grateful I'm not trying to give up smoking.

Cheryl - love it! My 5yo doesn't drink it either: another motivation to quit, before she starts asking why she can't have it and I can. And love the idea of splurging on some real balsamic!

Kimberley - thanks for offering encouragement from a fellow-sufferer. Maybe we need to form our own 12 Step group?

Anon #2 - thanks for the thought-provoking comment. Maybe becoming a homeowner at last has helped propel this giant step away from my adolescent self.

Update: Day 2 nearly over. Made it through a trip to Target AND a dinner out.

Celia said... Best Blogger Tips

Good for you, Nancy! I gave up caffeine a few years ago and have never looked back. And interestingly, once you give up cola, it becomes really hard to drink...

Roving Lemon said... Best Blogger Tips

Thanks Celia! I hope you're right about it being hard to drink once you quit--I don't want to get sucked back in once I get out!

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