After years of fighting cravings, having six on days that were most stressful and using it to avoid hitting the afternoon biscuit tin, I’ve finally given it up. I’ve read so much about how bad it is to put into your body, that it’s awful for your teeth and metabolism not to mention the way it makes you feel or the amounts of caffeine it contains. Diet Coke- see ya. I went cold turkey on its multibillion-dollar label three months ago and I’m still going strong.
It wasn’t as easy as it sounds. Last year when my boyfriend gave it up I was truly in awe. Diet Coke was my nicotine, my pick-me-up, my sweet tooth satisfier. Sadly, there’s no such thing as a Diet Coke patch yet- I was going to have to do this on my own. My decision to give it up came out of reading far too much bad health press on it, the realisation of how much money I was spending each day on it and it was a challenge- and I always welcome a challenge.
Giving it up has been like a messy break-up. You know that the relationship is bad for you and finally one day you look at yourself in the mirror and think ‘I’m better than this’ and end it. For the first few days you mope around, you keep seeing them in the street; you struggle not having them in your life. Maybe you eat a little more chocolate and ice cream than usual. In week two of the break-up you discover a new confidence in yourself- you’re ready to go out on the rebound and try other men or in this case drinks. You get the inappropriate ones out of your system (the wines and cocktails) that will make the ex jealous. Then in week three you fight with your best friend who invited them to your BBQ. Week four brings on another break down and after one to many, you call on your ex in a desperate state, wanting them back in your life. You feel momentarily satisfied by their attention and familiarity- promises to change and to be better for you are made. But after a week of relationship relapsing you know why you ended it in the first place and you kick them out of you life for good. You stop being jealous when you see them in the hands of another and you stop fretting that you might run into them in the grocery store, you stop craving them, you stop needing them- you’re pleased they’re out of your life.
I wanted the poison out of my body but how was I going to cope without my afternoon sugar hit? I was concerned that in desperation I might start robbing children outside work for their sweets. As it turned out, it was Diet Coke that was the catalyst causing my sweet tooth to spiral out of control into an endless whirlwind of sweet desire. I’m beginning to see why America is blamed for its world contribution to pudge. I’m drinking more water, so my skin is clearer from the lack of sugar and my stomach is flatter from the lack of excess carbonation.
Some readers are probably thinking- what’s wrong with calorie-free-90% -water-Diet Coke? The answer is, I’m not sure that there really is any absolute evidence but it’s linked with cancer, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, high cholesterol and tooth rot, excess wind (from both directions)- and I sit way too comfortably on the fence to want to take risks like that anymore. And, don’t be fooled by the new Diet Coke Plus- it’s full of water soluble vitamins, which means you’ll just flush them away down the toilet.
Like any break-up, getting over it takes time, and they always stay at the back of your mind. But I have a new beverage in my life now, it’s pure and clear and makes my skin glow. So long Diet Coke- sparkling water, anyone?
Feta cheese, cucumber and tomato herb salad
This salad is perfect for summer. It’s cool and refreshing, crunchy and soft and full of flavour. I cooked it at a party a couple of weekends and was asked for the recipe- so here it is. If you don’t have the exact herbs just use extra of the other two.
Serves 4 as a side dish
2 tomatoes (average size), seeded and diced
200g/7 oz feta cheese, crumbled
½ small red onion, diced (or 2 diced spring onions/scallions)
2 tbsp finely chopped dill
2 tbsp finely chopped flat leaf parsley
2 tbsp finely chopped mint
1 cucumber, seeded and cut into marble sized cubes
1 tbsp olive oil (or to taste)
1/ Have all of your ingredients chopped and mix together everything but the cucumber and oil. Up to an hour before serving, add the cucumber and oil and season to taste. If you mix together too early, the cucumber will release too much liquid.