Day 227: Artificially Sweetened Brown Stuff

  I am the oldest and wisest of the siblings in my family.  My sister Jenn was the only competition, but it was still a close race.  I came in last in the following categories: looks, financial responsibility, general odor, and long flowing hair.  However, I am still the oldest and since wisdom is a product of mistakes, I win that category too.

I have a Twitter account, @Atkins2Vegan,  that’s dedicated to veganism, plant based dieting, health, and environmental content.  While I skim relevant articles during the day, I’m hoping to find some content that seems appropriate so I can send it out to everyone.  It is a daily job, but I perform the task because I believe I am doing my part to spread the good word and effect positive change.

About two months ago I was retweeting some of my Tweeps’ link-tweets in the Tweet-o-sphere.  If you thought that sounded like bird song, I will translate for you.  About two months ago I was sharing some vegan and health related articles with some friends I’ve never met and my sister.  I wasn’t paying a lot of attention to the content and sent out an article I only half read about the dangers of diet soda.

Two weeks later I received an email from my sister.  She handles all of the heavy lifting that is associated with the Twitter account while I get to do all of the fun stuff.  In her email she said that the diet soda article was a real wake-up call for her.  She spent a few paragraphs talking about the dangers and negative effects and how I had inspired her to stop drinking diet drinks.

As I read through her email for the second time, I drained my tall glass of diet Pepsi and reflected on her comments.  Then I refilled the glass and made some connections.  Jenn read my blog post from 220 days ago when I talked about giving up diet soda and didn’t realize that I’d started back up a month later.  Then she read the tweet and thought I was still going strong and living the clean life I’d claimed to be living.  I drained and refilled the glass while continuing to think about diet Pepsi and why I was still drinking it.

I grew up on Coca-Cola.  I wore the shirts, hung the posters, watched Max Headroom (a spokes-being for Coke), and even aspired to one day drive a VW Bug that was painted like a Coke can.  I loved the brown syrup.  It wasn’t something that was in my house growing up, but anytime we stopped at a convenience store I was able to get my fix.  As a child I drank a lot of the super saturated sugar solution.  I continued to drink Coke until I started my Atkins dieting phase eight years ago.  At first I gave up cola completely but I eventually found that diet Pepsi was an acceptable substitute since it didn’t contain any carbs.

If you asked me to drink diet anything before that point I would have either laughed at you or flipped you off… possibly both.  I considered diet drinks to be horrible nasty things that tasted like chemicals and had a bitter aftertaste.  However, with just a little practice they became my artificial sweetener infused life-blood.  Now, sipping actual Coca-cola tastes like an abomination and diet Pepsi tastes like the nectar of the gods.

After thinking about my sister’s email for a few months, I think I am ready to live up to the picture I painted of myself.  The plastics are killing the planet, the artificial sweetener is slowly killing me, and since the cost continues to rise, I have finally reached a tipping point.  In honor of my sister and in honor of myself, I am done with diet and regular soda.  I’ve lived without it for periods of time before, but I am renewing my commitment to living without it- PERIOD.

If you had stock in PepsiCo, sell now.  You have been warned.


About jasongillett

I'm Jason Gillett, 2 year VEGAN, and a 41 year old family man. My wife & I teach in a FL school. I am using a blog to chronicle our family's new life. View all posts by jasongillett

22 responses to “Day 227: Artificially Sweetened Brown Stuff

  • Kasey

    I know how hard a thing that is to do (I’m a reformed diet Coke addict), but it’s totally for the best. I’m really happy for you, and will be sending you good vibes to get through the transition!

    • jasongillett

      Thank you for the good vibes~ they are coming through loud and clear! I am amazed by the amount of water I am drinking now. Gallons, it seems. I know the soda addiction is mental but it sure feels like its physical at 10pm when I try to convince myself to drive to a convenience store. I shall overcome! With your good vibes!

  • Deborah

    I gave up the brown drink on March 2nd of this year. It was REALLY hard at first. But now I don’t miss it anymore. I went vegan at the same time, so I don’t know how much of the way I feel to attribute to which vices that I gave up. But I drink only water, and a lot of it, and I am really happy. Good luck, I know it is not easy. Especially when everyone else around is still happy sipping their brown fizzy drinks, and eyeballing you cause obviously you have gone off the deep end!

  • Laurene

    Good for you!

  • Brother-From-Another-Mother

    Brother, as someone who regualrly ran emergency late nite liter runs with you, I know how big this change is. Hell it might even be bigger then the whole Vegan thing (which as your BBQ co-author I know was HUGE). Good luck my friend and know that I’m also trying to give up the Soda as well. My well is not dry as of yet, but I my mindset and lifestyle is starting to push that brown fuzzy crack out.

    • jasongillett

      I remember the Soda Run well. I believe we ran that in less than 12 parsecs once. You can kick it broseph. Find a nice earthy tea and replace the love of one for the other. I feel like I’m adding years back into my timeline and I like the thought of you doing the same. Much love~

  • Jenn

    I think I hate you just a little bit, but I am still thrilled to be Coke Zero and artificial sweetener free (and I am thrilled that you are by far the oldest sib in the family).

  • annesturetucker

    Fantastic!!! You are an inspiration!!! –
    After I started eating mostly plant-based I have naturally stopped craving things like coke – I just don’t like it anymore!

  • Annmarie Brennan

    Good for you! I, too, had to give up diet cola, because I could not control myself around the stuff – it became all I drank – and I realized, as you have, that there is absolutely no redeeming value, and lots of negatives, so I went cold turkey…sort of…
    I substituted carbonated flavored (but no sweeteners) water in the can (La Croix) for a while, but slowly quit that too. Like all addictions, I don’t miss it now, and am healthier and happier to be without another bad habit. Keep up the good work!!!

    • jasongillett

      YES! Ditto YOU! I can’t control myself or find any real way to pace myself. I was all or nothing, so nothing turned out to be the way I needed to go. I will try the La Croix for a while… thanks for the tip : )

  • thisismyeverest

    I treat myself with the occasional diet coke so I know exactly what you mean. I hate myself for giving in to the temptation. The biggest draw for me is that it fills me up and staves off my appetite, making it the ideal diet drink. I think it’s the carbonation, because water is not nearly as filling. Good luck with giving it up! You’re an inspiration!

    • jasongillett

      Treat is the way it is supposed to be, so great job with that- REALLY! I am thinking Christmas and birthdays are reason enough for a can or two. I just can’t make it for every federal holiday, or before long I’ll have a reason to drink it on Magician Appreciation Week too. 4 cans a year vs. the 100’s of 2-liters a year is a huge improvement for me! Plant Power!! : )

  • Somer

    I went cold turkey in January, you can totally do it! Woot Woot!

  • thecrueltyfreereview

    Wow. You have incredible will power. I thought I made a life-changing decision when I went from regular Pepsi(never been a Coke fan) to diet, but I found that I drink more diet than regular. And though “everything in moderation” is a staple verse of dieting, it’s not necessarily a healther option. I’m rooting for you even as I down my second Diet Pepsi of the day.

  • jasongillett

    I’ve sure never had much luck implementing this moderation thing you are talking about : ) I seem to need more extremes to be able to maintain my control. I toast you with my black coffee and still feel the pangs of longing for what you are having. : )

  • “D’oh!” | Jason and the Veganauts

    […] It isn’t like I was unaware of how horrible artificial sweeteners are. Heck, I’ve even given up drinking diet Pepsi a few times. However, I respond well to sarcasm, hyperbole, and […]

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