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.