Friday, February 13, 2015

Chemically-induced symptoms and miracles from Heaven

I’m 100% positive that you don’t want to hear about my sinus issues and the mass quantities of goo currently being held prisoner inside my head.  (File that under Things that make you go EEEW!)

I’m definitely not going to share with you anything about…  Well, actually, I’m not even going to mention that.  (Feel free to let your imagination run wild.  I might be messing with you…but you’ll never know!)

I’m pretty sure you don’t want to hear about my current struggles with calorie counting and the evil cravings that plague me when I awake after midnight and decide a snack sounds like a fabulous idea.  My will-power and I are in a constant state of war right now.  Or, that my decision to not eat after 7 p.m. is almost like my decision to give up soda altogether; annoyingly difficult but ultimately not impossible.

Actually, maybe you do want to hear about the whole giving-up-soda-altogether thing.  More to the point, I’ve decided that’s what I want to talk about.  So, since this is my blog, I think I shall continue.

Coca-Cola vs. Diet Coke
In the not so distant past, I was totally addicted to Coca-Cola; the full-strength, full-sugar, full-calorie version.  I drank that stuff like it was going out of style.  Then, though the details surrounding my decision to change escape me, I decided that switching to Diet Coke was a good idea.  At first it was gross; bitter and not as sweet as regular Coke and I remember thinking I might gag if I had to drink it regularly.  However, I figured I was making an excellent decision regarding my health so I pushed through my initial disgust of the diet stuff and eventually realized that it was the most wonderful beverage ever to be put on this great round ball on which we live.  (AHEM! Can we say brainwashed...?)  Coffee was the only thing, in my most humble of opinions, which could ever top a good, ice-cold, Diet Coke…but I digress.  (Wait, digression is practically required here.  That is why my blog is aptly named …Off on a Tangent.)  But after a while, I realized that my weight started creeping up, and up, and up.  Also, I felt awful; always tired, a lot of aches and pains I’d never had before, grouchy more often than I cared to admit.  I never attributed these symptoms to my Diet Coke intake.

Then Lent came around
One year I decided I would give up caffeine for Lent.  So, there went my Diet Coke intake for at least forty days.  I switched to things like Sprite and ginger ale…and my coffee went bye-bye, too.  (At least in the caffeinated way, but really, what’s the point of decaffeinated coffee?)  In hindsight, this probably wasn’t the most awesome idea I’d ever had because almost as soon as my caffeine intake dwindled, I acquired a daily headache and felt even more miserable than I already did.  Sometimes those headaches were full-blown migraines which, due to my allergy to ibuprofen and NSAIDs in general, were usually only manageable through Tylenol, dark rooms, and sleep.  But again, I digress.  Suffice-it-to-say, those 40 days were probably the most miserable 40 days of my life – and not just my life, but the lives of Hubby and kiddos, too.  I’m positive they were as miserable as I was, but only because they were subjected to living with the monster that I’d become.

I’m probably misremembering some of these details, but you get the picture.

The next year when Lent rolled around again I decided that giving up the caffeine all together was a very bad idea for Jen (that’s me), so I modified my intent to simply give up sodas.  I need to say here that part of the reason I like sodas to begin with is the bubbles.  So, even though giving up sodas wasn’t that awful, I missed the fizz.  My headaches went away (mostly) and I don’t recall being as achy or tired.  Even this didn’t clue me in.

And then, a miracle happened
One day about five or six months ago, while spending the afternoon with friends, I was offered an ice cold Perrier and *BAM* my life changed.  My world expanded, light from the very heavens focused on the clear liquid I was holding in my hand and a choir of angels sang, “HALLELUJAH!”  ♫♪♪♫

It really wasn’t the Perrier, per se.  It was my sudden realization that I could still have an ice-cold fizzy beverage without all the other stuff.  No more calories.  No more fake sugar.  No more chemicals that were doing who-knew-what to my body.  No more sodium for goodness sake!  That simple glass of Perrier changed my decisions like nothing else ever had before.

Now, I know that not all fizzy water is sodium-free.  I really do realize this.  But for the most part, if I stick to Perrier the mineral content is low enough to make the sodium content so negligible as to not even rate on the Nutritional Facts label.  

One thing I understood somewhat quickly was that it is difficult to order "soda water" at restaurants.  Wait staff tend to look at me like I'm from the moon.  I usually have to explain that it's the little button near the Sprite that says, "SODA."

But…what does it all mean?
Simply this – I no longer drink soda.  Period.  Ok, I’ll cop to an occasional ginger ale if my tummy feels off, but for the most part soda and I have parted ways.

Also, it means that all those nasty chemicals I was putting into my body multiple times a day are being flushed out.  I am only noticing now, five or six months later, that I really do feel better.  I still get headaches, but usually because I was lax in my search for a hot, caffeinated beverage (I mean coffee, people…coffee!) and yes, I know that the lack of caffeine is the catalyst for my headaches but at this point, they’re so much more rare than they were that I’ll deal with it.  I’m nicer (mostly) and less achy (though I’m getting old, so stuff just hurts that never hurt before) and feel all around like a human my age probably should.

Now, if they could just come up with something that would make my asthma go away entirely, that would be awesome, too.  But I’ll take what I can get.


No comments: