Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Drink, Drank, Drunk

I've given up on drinking alcohol, but that wasn't so tough since I never cared all that much about it. I did it mostly because it made me waste time chatting up silly people at conferences or parties and then made me feel crappy the next day and would throw off my working out time.

My ex and I used to joke about how if someone came over and gave us a 6-pack of beer, it was a little annoying, because it would sit in the fridge taking up space for months on end.

Excessive drinking surely is unhealthy, and if you're doing it, I'd encourage you to try to stop, but that wasn't my reason for quitting. Drinking was just a big waste of my time.

So, not only did I completely stop drinking this year, but I stopped drinking SODA. And I have written about this before, but it continues to baffle me -- simply that giving up SODA has proven way more difficult in ways than giving up alcohol.

Also, I've realized the caffeine in soda is terribly addictive and terrible for you. And in diet sodas, truly frightening stuff, the phony sugar is probably cutting little holes in your brain, turning it into swiss cheese.

As for walking away from soda, wish it were that easy. No news to you parents, the damned stuff is EVERYWHERE you go -- EVERYWHERE you take your kids and it's just vile shit -- not at all good for you adults -- but truly disgusting for kids.

My dad used to really go on and on about how bad it was and he was right. He used to show us how the teeth we lost as kids could be put in a glass of soda overnight and be GONE BY MORNING.

But what is strange as summer begins is how hard it is to replace the habit of ordering a soda with ordering SOMETHING HEALTHIER. The barrage of marketing and the agressive elbowing in of soda marketers to dominate the shelf of available things to drink is glaring when you stop drinking soda. Walk through a supermarket aisle sometime and notice in "BEVERAGES" how much of it is soda.

Often at kids' birthday parties, all they serve is soda. At fast food joints, you have to search to find anything decent to drink other than soda. Even when they do have iced tea -- it's the super sugary kind I hate. At the beach, at a ball game, at a barbeque, it's everywhere. It feels like an invasion sometimes.

Here's a list of things I drink: iced tea, iced coffee (decaf), milk, water, club soda, Gatorade. I wish they served Gatorade in bars. With the bright blues and lavendars and reds, Gatorade cocktails would be awesome for non-drinkers. Oh, yeah, I drink unBeer too.

If quitting soda's been tough, it's had a big upside for my health, but someone else's too -- my kid's health. When I used to drink it and tell him he couldn't, he was too wise to that hypocrisy to listen to me. I really didn't have a leg to stand on. But now, since I don't buy it and it's not around, he's stopped drinking it as much. He always goes for my homemade REAL iced tea -- the kind that tastes like TEA not sugar-water.

So, I throw down the challenge -- try going a week without soda and see how it feels. You might be surprised. You might not be able to do it. Good luck, it's tough.