Sunday, January 20, 2013

"diet" shit and pacing yourself

Let's have a little chat about food with "diet" labels.

I know.  You're saving calories and fat, right? In a day where you've already eaten a bunch and you want something sweet, a can of Diet Pepsi looks like a goddamn miracle.  I've been there. I used to buy cases of it and stock it in the basement for when I wanted "dessert."

Last year for New Year's I decided I didn't want to drink diet pop as much anymore.  I didn't say "I'm not going to drink diet pop anymore." I said "Let's try it out and see what happens." There has been a giant debate over aspartame and artificial sweeteners - "What are they doing to us?!" and "They could cause cancer! We can't know yet!", blah blah blah.  I've also heard that artificial sweeteners cause you to retain weight in your midsection (aka a "Diet Gut"?) but I don't really remember where I heard it and if it was a credible source.  At any rate, I didn't have much to lose. I'm kind of one of those "Try anything once" kind of people.

I started small - I just stopped buying cases of it to keep in the house.  If we went out to dinner or a movie, I still got a diet pop. My husband inherited a habit from his parents of drinking 100% juice cut with sparkling water, and I started drinking that to get my "fizzy" fill (not that I really needed it, but it's a little more interesting than watered down juice or regular juice, for that matter).

I'm not sure when it happened, but I started to taste something in my occasional Diet Pepsi.  Don't say "Bullshit!", you're keeping an open mind here.  I know some people who say "You can't taste aspartame, it's all in your head." No, friend, it's not.  Aspartame and artificial sweeteners do have a bitter, chalky, nasty aftertaste.  Also, they are sickeningly sweet.  I made a fatal and depressing error and purchased "reduced sugar" coffee creamer last week.  Ruined a large coffee and my morning. 

I think if you drink things with artificial sweeteners often enough, you don't taste "the taste." But I dare you to go off anything with aspartame, Spenda, sucralose, or any other artificial sweetener for a month, and then try it again.  "Why the hell would I do that?" you ask?

A helpful Venn diagram for you.
If you're going to have something, like...a chocolate bar.  Do you want the waxy, off-brand shit from the dollar store or do you want a really nice piece of heaven with real cocoa and a little hint of sweetness?  Most people want the real deal.  There's a lot of shit floating around in our food and drink these days, and we are facing a really depressing situation in society right now where it seems like everything is fake and hyped up and made to suck you in and buy, and everyone is getting fat because of it. I was one of them, so I can say it.  

If you stopped eating artificial things, I think you might find you feel a lot better.  Don't cut everything at once - you will resent food and me and start sending me threats that I don't really have time for because I get enough of it from my students.  Pick one thing, like diet pop, or french fries, or something, and start cutting back.  Make a little game for yourself - how long can I go without?  You might surprise yourself.

P.S. I'm still working on cutting out things.  I "give" myself salad dressing, coffee creamer and movie popcorn (it's sprinkled with crack, I'm sure of it). Cut yourself some slack and start small.  

What do think you could try to live with less of?


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