Sunday, June 17, 2012

No Sugar, No Diet Coke

These are fightin' words, right? Who, in their right mind, would willingly follow a "no sugar, no Diet Coke" regimen? Not me. I never really thought about the sugar piece of it, but the Diet Coke? I LOVED Diet Coke. I drank it all the time - as a pick-me-up in the middle of the afternoon, with a bowl of freshly popped popcorn, with pizza (let's face it: pizza isn't PIZZA without a big glass of soda to wash it down!), with a plate of grapes, sliced cheese, and a handful of potato chips. I drank it with everything. My favorite was the 20 oz bottle but, for economical reasons, I'd sometimes switch to the 2 liter bottles. I'd elevate it and bring some elegance to my experience by pouring the Diet Coke into a wine glass. Perhaps you're getting the gist of my love affair and dare I say - addiction - to Diet Coke?

Well, I'm here to say that it's been 3 months since I've tasted a Diet Coke. THREE MONTHS! Or, put another way: it's been 90 days - or - 2,160 hours... Okay, point made. The fact is that I survived, thrived, even.

Three months ago, my husband and I embarked on a wellness journey, one that was as radical as it was simple: eat healthy. That meant organic, whole foods. No chemicals. And, since Diet Coke is not a food, and is, in fact, nothing BUT a conglomeration of chemicals (albeit delicious tasting chemicals), I had to say goodbye.

We started with 21 days of gentle detoxing. It's amazing how much your palate changes when you eliminate toxins, sugar, starches and eat, instead, fruits, vegetables, protein. I began to really taste my food - the delicate flavors, the subtle spices. I realized how wonderfully sweet fruit is: a plump blueberry, or a perfectly ripe strawberry. It was an eye-opening process.

Three months later and I'm down 12 pounds. My husband lost 18 pounds. I feel great. Healthier, stronger. But the "no sugar" part is hard - not in terms of me wanting it, rather that sugar is added to EVERYTHING. Ketchup, salad dressing, peanut butter. The solution: we make our own (well, except for the peanut butter - I've found an organic peanut butter that contains nothing but ground up peanuts) and it's delicious. Really. The ketchup and mustard are better than anything you can buy. I know you're probably thinking hogwash, but it's true. In the interest of full disclosure, this new way of eating takes more time and effort than, say, tearing open a box of processed noodles or popping a frozen pizza into the oven. But the results are absolutely worth it. And delicious.

One other piece of this puzzle: acupuncture. We included this as part of our wellness journey and I'm astounded at the results. When we started, I was not sleeping. No exaggeration. I'd lie in bed every night, unable to fall asleep until 2 or 3 a.m. Come morning, it was all I could do to drag myself out of bed by 11 a.m. I now go to bed around 10 p.m. and am up around 7:30 a.m. Who knew that mornings were so wonderful! The caveat here: make sure your acupuncturist knows his/her stuff. It makes a huge difference.