Monthly Archives: September 2011

Off the [Diet Coke] Sauce

Two of the most popular search terms that direct people to my blog are “Diet Coke addiction” and “Diet Coke Stomachache.” Unlike some of the funnier search terms that lead readers my way, Diet Coke addiction (and stomachache) is something that I’ve actually written about and struggled with.

It’s been five months since I gave up Diet Coke. For full disclosure, I’ve probably had two during that time – one because I was really tired at a family function but wanted to stay awake and the second was in a mixed drink. But aside from those times, I have not had any soda at all, Diet Coke or otherwise.

I have a really sensitive stomach. Unfortunately, “My stomach hurts” is part of my day-to-day vocabulary. Artificial sweeteners and carbonation to do a number on me, in partiuclar. And what is Diet Coke? Carbonated artificial sweetener.

Despite my awful stomachaches, I continued to drink it. This is how I knew that I had a problem. It was really hurting my stomach, yet I couldn’t stop. One day, when the pain was especially bad, I said enough is enough and quit cold turkey. That was back in May and, aside from the two times that I mentioned, that was the end.

It’s been hard. I feel so silly saying that. This is soda, not hard drugs! But it’s true. Diet Coke was sort of my crutch. It was go-to when I wanted a pick me up or when I wanted a snack but I really wasn’t hungry. Sometimes I just craved it.

I have a few things that worked in my favor when it came to quitting though. One of which is the stomachaches, but the second is, like most soda drinkers, I prefer to drink it a certain way. I know a lot of people really like soda out of the fountain. My preference was always the 20 oz or 16.9 oz plastic bottles. It just tasted better to me out of a plastic bottle (but not the 2 liter bottle). I never really liked Diet Coke in the can. There is a soda machine in the break room of my office that sells cans, but that wasn’t quite as tempting as it would have been if there was a machine that sold bottles.

People told me that it would get easier. And in a way it has. I’m used to drinking water when I’m going out to lunch. I drink tea in the middle of the day now. I don’t think about getting a soda anymore. But there are still times when I want one. When I do, I just think about all those days when I was crouched over in the office bathroom feeling like my stomach was going to explode, all the Pepto-Bismol that I was popping and the craving subsides some.

Have my stomach problems gone away? Not entirely, but they are SO MUCH better. It’s been five months and soon it will be six, and then a year and then drinking soda will just be something that I used do a long time ago.

I’d love to say that I gave it up because it was bad for me, that I didn’t want to put chemicals in my body, but the reason I stopped drinking it was simply because it hurt my stomach. Whatever the reason was, I don’t drink soda anymore and consequently, I’m reaping the health benefits of not being a soda drinker, whatever they may be. While the jury is out to whether or not artificial sweeteners are harmful or not, there is no nutritional value in them whatsoever.

Stadium Pretzel

I’ve still been feeling burnt out from running. My legs are tired and I’m really looking forward to my race(s), mostly so I can stop running so damn much! Last night, I took a break and went to a baseball game with Jason and our friends Emily and Brian.

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We went directly after work and I didn’t get a chance to eat dinner beforehand. I knew that this would happen and I knew that I’d end up eating something crappy because I don’t think Turner Field really has anything besides crappy food.

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I really like soft pretzels, okay? The game was fun, even though the Braves did terribly. They didn’t even score a run until the last inning.

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Normally, I’d be upset at myself for eating a pretzel for dinner, but last night I wasn’t and I think that is important to note. I am good with moderation. Really good. I run a lot but sometimes I drink a lot too. I never eat fast food, but I do eat processed food. I go to the gym 5-6 days a week, but sometimes I half ass it. But while I’m actually good at moderation and feel like I’m a pretty well-rounded person, what I struggle with is being okay with it.

Even though my behavior isn’t always healthy, instead of enjoying the pretzel or the beer, I beat myself up for it. I strive for some unrealistic goal of being healthy all the time, whatever that means. I think maybe I’m afraid that if I let myself be okay with it (eating stadium food, drinking beer, whatever), then that means I’ll do it all the time and that really isn’t the case. I know what is good for me and what isn’t. I know how I feel when I have certain foods.

So if I’m going to engage in the behavior sometimes, I should just enjoy it, right? Cause what’s life without a soft pretzel and a cheap beer at a baseball game? Did I have another pretzel and beer tonight? No, I went to the gym and ran five miles and ate a healthy dinner.

Slowly Making the House a Home

Slowly but surely, we’re making progress on our home renovations and redecorations and making the house feel more like ours. We used to have a pass through between our kitchen and our living room.

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Now we don’t.

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The white balance wasn’t off in one of those pictures; the kitchen is now a different color too. It’s more of a greenish yellow now. While the pass through was something that Jason really hated, my main concern was the lack of cabinets. Honestly, this is what we were working with:

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Those black cabinets are the only upper cabinets that we have. The former owners redid the kitchen at some point with all Ikea stuff. I actually asked them why they didn’t put more cabinets in and they said that they didn’t want to make the kitchen too dark. Fair enough, but why do black cabinets in the first place if you’re worried about that?

On Saturday morning we took a trip to Ikea. While Ikea might not be my first choice for new cabinets, we figured it would be easier (and cheaper) to add to what we have rather than getting rid of everything and starting over. As luck would have it, they were having some sort of promotion where if you spent more than $100 dollars, you’d get a free lunch. I’d never eaten in the Ikea cafeteria before and I probably never will again. Meatballs and tilapia floating in butter sauce aren’t for me. I had a salad and a bowl of tomato basil soup.

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Doesn’t look like much, but look what it is:

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Obviously, they still need to be hung, but definite progress. I also went to World Market to make a return. Here’s an FYI: if you don’t know what a jute rug is or what it feels like, don’t order one online; you’ll be surprised and not in a good way. I was too lazy to return the rug for a few weeks but I’m glad I finally did because I got the coolest jars there to store my grains. They have little chalkboard ovals so you can label them. No more, “Is this barley or millet?”

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Only not as cute as I thought because some of the lids don’t stay on very well.

The cabinet side of the kitchen was out of commission tonight, but the stove side wasn’t so I made a nice dinner – dairy-free spinach stuffed shells.

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For some reason, I had a ton of shells leftover. I don’t know if I bought a big box or I was overstuffing what I had or too much of the stuffing was making it’s way into my mouth instead of the shells, but I had big bowl full of leftover shells. Pasta salad, maybe?

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This was delicious and tasted exactly like ricotta cheese stuffed shells. I didn’t tell Jason that they were vegan until after he’d finished and he was shocked.

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