Once Upon a Time, Little Nika was 60% Diet Coke

Diet Coke

Cartoon image stolen from Natalie Dee

Do you ever have those moments when you think about the past- decisions you made, things you did, things you ate- and just cringe? I certainly do. I would say my diet is exceptionally “clean” and healthy now, and has been for several years, but oh do I remember the days when I drank nothing but Diet Coke and feasted on French cheese (D’affinois, anyone? Carolyn?) and prosciutto. I try to redeem myself by justifying that at least my choice of cheese and meats were classy (thanks to my parents owning a bakery), but the Diet Coke… As someone who drinks water religiously and considers Powerade Zero to be an “indulgent post-workout treat,” thinking back to the little girl guzzling that syrupy tar as my lifeblood makes me shudder. I remember going to the doctor and being told that I was dehydrated… Little Nika was like “psh whatevs, I drink all the time.” YEAH, ALL YOU DRINK IS DIET COKE, STUPID.

Seriously, confession time: I used to be one of those people that haaaated water. I mean, I get it, why drink this tepid, clear substance when can have “Wow! Pop! Fizz! Sparkling carbonation! SUGARRR. Color! Funn. Flavorz! Cool can!”
Doge Coke

Except that water is the bomb.com and humans are, by weight, 60% water (Unless you’re like Little Nika and  you’re 60% Diet Coke. Yeaaah my cellular metabolism loved that). I don’t need to give the speech about how great water is (healthy skin, healthy organs, not to mention it’s FREE) because you already know that you should be drinking more of it, even if you’re not. Flavorful and carbonated soda is an addiction hands down, so tempting your taste buds with water may fall flat (har har) at first, but I promise that you will learn to tolerate and even love and crave the taste of water. You can put the training wheels on and try something like Mio, or similar concentrated flavor drops, but while these make water more “fun,” they are also packed with artificial flavors and sweeteners… so we’re really not making much of an improvement. Healthier, more natural options for adding some excitement to your water include adding some fruit slices (lemon, lime, orange), squeezing some fresh citrus fruit for a dash of flavor (lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruit), or you can add small pieces of whole fruit and shake up (literally) your water to create a fruity infusion. A nice example of this is taking fresh blackberries, adding them to some ice water, and shaking the bejeezus out of it. You’ll get some nice flavor and a nice splash of color as well. Pro tip: this is what Starbucks does for their Very Berry Hibiscus Refresher- which is delicious, but essentially syrup water with shaken blackberries.

However, I would suggest switching to water “cold turkey.” Whenever I have made big dietary decisions, I have always had a cut and dry decision on the matter. When I was a freshman in high school, I decided to stop drinking soda and stop eating meat. I didn’t ease my way into it,  I didn’t “treat” myself to these items on occasion, and I didn’t tempt myself or test my willpower by keeping these items in my dietary vocabulary. Instead, I recognized the damage I was doing to my body, realized the change I needed to make, and made it happen. To this day, nine years later, I haven’t sipped a Diet Coke or had a piece of prosciutto. Similarly, when I was diagnosed with my food allergies, I cut everything out immediately (after the sobbing, devastation, and pleas for “what am I going to eat?!?!? I can’t eat anything!!”). Oh, that was an interesting week. I can’t tell you what a blast it was to go through the fridge and all my cabinets  reading the ingredients on everything. You know you’ve stooped to low levels when you start yelling at inanimate objects, “OHHH noo, well I COULD eat you, except you have SOY SAUCE, which has WHEAT in it for some stupid reason!! Milk?! Why the hell do you have milk in you?!? You’re a cereal! And eggs… eggs and soy EVERYWHERE.” Basically, I threw everything out in a hungry, murderous rage and then went to the grocery store, where things did not improve… Learning to shop with food allergies or dietary restrictions can be agonizing at first until you learn the landscape, start to recognize ingredients, and remember trustworthy brands (which is one of the reasons why I’m writing this blog and why I’m so interested in nutrition,  I want to help ameliorate this painful process for others). Going to the grocery store consisted of “Nope. Nope. Nope. Dairy. More dairy. Gluten. Nope. Oh, okay here we go.. no dairy… gluten free! Oh wait, eggs. Dammit. Nope again.”

Trust me, I’ve been there, and I understand the frustration and difficulty of dramatically changing your health habits. However, the important thing to focus on is not what you’re losing, but what you’re gaining: healthy skin, more energy, slimmer physique, hydrated cells, healthy digestion, greater satiation… Over the years people have commented on my great willpower, but a large portion of this strength to refuse unhealthy things and actively seek out healthy replacements comes from my ability to remove emotional attachment to food and instead use logic and reason (I can’t help it sometimes, I’m a scientist). 

So please, put down the can of soda. Step away from the artificial flavors. And pour yourself a cold, tall glass of the real lifeblood (seriously, we’re talking blood plasma here, people).



9 thoughts on “Once Upon a Time, Little Nika was 60% Diet Coke

  1. I hear ya! I used to go through 12-packs of Diet Coke like nothing. Once I read, “Natural Cures They Don’t Want You to Know About,” my mindset shifted. We all have those, “What was I thinking!!!” moments. Thanks for the post.

  2. Thank you for the post! You’ve inspired me to change my diet once and for all. I used to be a health freak and was basically a pesquitarian(?) lol I stopped drinking soda one summer because I wanted to change my body. I started working out daily and always turned down unhealthy food. After that summer I had lost 40 lbs and my intellect level shot out the. I didn’t drink another soda for four years. Recently I’ve been drinking diet and you’ve just inspired me to be healthy again. 🙂 thank you
    Your humor helped

    • So glad to hear that! Good for you for getting back on track and taking the initiative to reinstate your healthy lifestyle- sometimes getting back on the “horse” after falling off is harder than learning to ride in the first place! Hopefully I can continue to be a source of inspiration (and humor!) for you 🙂

  3. I mainly drink water and tea (I’d say I am 80% tea haha) and really notice a difference when I drink soda here and there! It makes me sick at my stomach and doesn’t taste that great when not drank regularly – which should be a big red flag in itself!! Love your blog! Have you thought about writing a post on emotional eating? Or how to avoid stress eating? 🙂

    • Sometimes we don’t notice how much our body resists some of the food we eat until we take some distance from it and detox our system. Then we try it again, and our bodies are like “whoa, whoa. Hey now.” Absolutely, I’ll get to crafting some posts! Definitely dealt with that in the past, hopefully I’ll be able to offer some insight! Thanks for reading 🙂

  4. Pingback: Thin Waistlines on a Thin Budget: Tips for Healthy Eating on a Budget | Eat. Tone. Love.

  5. Pingback: Drink More Water | Eat. Tone. Love.

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