Okay so wait. Let me explain. Until this summer I was guzzling Diet Coke like they planned to discontinue the stuff at any moment. Could not get enough. Diet Coke for breakfast (seriously, I had a Diet Coke instead of coffee) a Diet Coke with lunch, Diet Coke for a snack and a Diet Coke with dinner. That's what? At least four Diet Cokes a day?
It was a crutch, for sure. I'd drink it when I was thirsty and, when hungry, I'd treat it like a snack to avoid pilfering the cabinets for crap. And then, when I stopped eating meat I decided to phase out the Diet Coke as well, probably because I'm better than you but mostly because a long time ago, when I worked in a newsroom, a reporter told me that they (whoever "they" is) always pour Diet Coke on roads to clean off the blood spattered on the road after car accidents (Dr. Google says this is true!) The image never left me. Mud brown Diet Coke fizzing away bloody concrete. I imagined the same stuff going to work on my innards. It was time to quit.
I pretty much stopped right away because I had discovered flavored seltzer water. Polar Seltzer Water, to be exact. It felt poetic. You know, because Coke has been whoring soda glugging (and probably diabetic) Polar Bears for decades. I was taking the polar bear back, goddammit! So Polar Seltzer Water. The stuff rocks my world. I tried every flavor, and there are many, and finally committed myself to Ruby Red Grapefruit and Raspberry-Lime. I prefer just a hint of flavor, nothing too sweet for me. But Polar has it down, flavor-wise. They roll out special holiday-related flavors. Think Candy Cane, Eggnog, Mint Chocolate - they even have summer flavors like Mint Mojito, Granny Smith Apple, Ginger. Basically, you think of a flavor combo and they've got it.
I've been mainlining Polar Seltzer for the last six months, feeling all smug about myself what with kicking my Diet Coke addiction AND drinking a shit ton of water. Plus, I cut back significantly on beer consumption because, as it turns out, I just like to enjoy a refreshing carbonated beverage in the evening, a carbonation celebration, if you will, and downing a liter of Seltzer Water significantly curbs the reach-for-a-beer impulse.
So, seltzer on my nightstand, I plunked down on my bed here and was all set to write a really smug post gloating about my successes. And then, while perusing the Polar website to share some flavors with you I stumbled across their FAQ and decided to check it out seeing as how I'm such a Polar Seltzer devotee and all.
There it is. Fourth question down. Polar Springs uses aspartame to sweeten their drinks. I immediately took to Facebook to share my devastation, as one does whether it's a bad zit, a shot of your average dinner, a fart, divorce or an aspartame discovery, and lo and behold there is apparently a little thing called Soda Stream that has flown under my radar. Probably because my radar was all janky as a result of all the aspartame I've been consuming under the guise of health and hydration, I figured.
And thus my friends commenced with what amounts to a Facebook commercial for Soda Stream. Have you heard of this? Apparently folks are brewing up their own carbonated beverages and then flavoring them and everything? It seemed vaguely familiar. Like I might have jolted awake to a blaring TV at three o'clock in the morning and maybe witnessed some unbelievably happy bastard in a bad Bill Cosby sweater gloriously demonstrating how he makes his soda at home, but I can't be sure.
So in the midst of my Polar/aspartame devastation I got all hot and bothered about the Soda Stream. Look! Flavors! During my "research" my Facebook friends continued singing the praises of the Soda Stream and I was all, By God, Soda Stream it is!
And then! One of my Facebook friends, the very astute Jodie, suggested that I should reread the Polar FAQ, that she thinks just the Diet drinks are flavored with aspartame and not the seltzer waters, which are naturally flavored. Sure enough, as is my fashion with most things in life, I just blustered through the FAQ, saw aspartame and ran to Facebook when, if I had just taken the time to read it, clearly states that these fine purveyors of flavored seltzer water only use aspartame in their Diet Soda drinks.
Good news, to be sure, but now I really was in a quandary. Here I was, brilliantly conquering yet another hurdle in my beverage world. Not only did I quit the Diet Coke, but now I had triumphant visions of quitting the aspartame riddled seltzer water and happily make my own beverages pretty much like they did in the olden days. You know, when the pioneers made soda water and stuff? Like that. Just think of how condescending I could be around Serge, who still drinks Diet Coke.
Quite a beverage-tastic journey today! In summary, the good news is that I can still be smug as shit about kicking my Diet Coke addiction,especially around Serge. The not so bad news is that if I want to save the planet in addition to saving my innards I probably want to look into this fancy, new-fangled Soda Stream contraption as it would cut down on all the plastic and aluminum I go through in a week.
By the way, if like me, you had heard rumblings (probably from people just jealous of those of us who have quit the soda) that carbonated water is still bad for you because it can leech calcium from your bones and pretty much leave you looking like the Hunchback of Notre Dame, I took the liberty of
Nutrition Diva says "although soda and other carbonated beverages have been associated with negative effects, carbonation is not harmful in and of itself. Drinking carbonated water offers the same benefits as drinking plain water."
Livestrong.com calls the fear of carbonated water causing osteoporosis or kidney problems "unfounded."
In fact, most sites I visited say the same thing: carbonated water is just as good as still water. Unless you believe "Martir19" over on Ask.com who says with much assurance, "Carbonated Water will cause you to have anal itchiness. Never drink Carbonated water and go to bed right after... because you will wake up with smelly fingers."
Despite the very real possibility of anal itchiness, I'm sticking with my Grapefruit and Raspberry-Lime Polar Seltzers. I'm definitely eyeballing that Soda Stream, though, which would obviously reduce my beverage costs in the long run. Oh yeah, and reduce my ecological footprint (I am SO much better than you!)
What about you? What is your beverage of choice? Got an addiction you're trying to kick? Got a Soda Stream you're crazy about?
BEHOLD. My nightstand. Totally looks staged, right? Like, if you're going to take a shot of your nightstand of course you set Anna Karenina and The Unbearable Lightness of Being there. But I'm reading Anna Karenina, swear to god! And Serge bought me The Unbearable Lightness of Being based on all your stellar suggestions. That's my next read. Anyway, I just wanted to point out the damn cans, that's all.