Tasting your Food & The Diet Coke Incident

In this month’s issue of National Geographic, there was a response comment to the Sugar article that I blogged about here. Somehow this article keeps provoking so much thought and introspection in my life. I read this comment and was so bothered by it. This response has been formulating in my head and I thought I would share it here.

The comment was “If we completely cut out all the “bad” foods, what joy is left in eating?”

I felt sad that someone would ignore all the evidence of the negative health effects the amount of sugar we as a nation consume is having on us, in favor of the feelings attached to those foods.

I completely understand the emotional side of eating and am an admitted emotional eater. However, why should we let that be an excuse to continually harm our bodies, and the planet?

Another interesting phenomenon I have personally experienced is the cleansing of my palette and a re-introduction to the amazing tastiness of real FOODS, once processed crap was eliminated from my diet.

Once I started cleaning up the way I ate, and did away with dairy, it was like I truly started tasting food for the first time. Strawberries, oranges, dates and berries all became like desserts to me. Nature offers us a cornucopia of flavors and we are fortunate to live in such a time where most of this is all readily accessible. Unfortunately, so are packaged foods that are laden with sugar and fat, and we usually choose that over healthier choices.

The “joy” from these foods I believe comes from emotional attachments and ties that we ourselves create with them. Some of these foods even release chemicals into our brain, (similar to the responses drug addicts feel when they introduce their drug of choice) and cause a physical dependence and desire for them.

This brings me to “The Diet Coke Incident.” If you follow me on Instagram, you will know I had a moment of weakness a few weeks ago.

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Hello darkness, my old friend…

I used to be such a Diet Coke fiend, I was up to 3-4 cans a day, at one point. I never thought I would give it up completely, but after eliminating soda in my first round of the Crazy Sexy Diet, in August 2012, I could not imagine re-introducing it.

I had not had a Diet Coke for 1 year & 3months, until a few weeks ago.

One of my co-workers mistakenly bought a Diet Coke from the vending machine a few months back, she put the diet coke in the office fridge for whoever may want it.

I had seen it every time I opened the fridge door. It would catch my attention on days I felt especially tired or stressed. Diet Coke used to be my afternoon “treat” or my small coping mechanism, when my day was difficult. On days I was feeling low, I would see the Diet Coke and it was like when Brennan sees Dale’s drum set in the movie “Step-Brothers.”

On the end of a particularly stressful week, I was dragggggging and my green tea was not enough to pick me up. I was sleep deprived, overloaded with work and did not have much relief in sight. I caved and grabbed that Diet Coke.

I eagerly anticipated the crisp sound of the opening of the can, one of my favorite sounds because it meant relief was near. I was so excited to once again feel the carbonation going down my throat and the surge of energy that would soon follow.

I opened the can and took a swig, and…..it tasted AWFUL.

I could not believe I used to love these so much! It tasted like dirty water pumped with chemicals.

Make no mistake, I quickly drank the whole can, but did not enjoy it nearly as much as I used to. I did get a surge of energy, but I also crashed a few hours later and was even more tired than before. I also had a headache that took loads of water to relieve myself of.

That Diet Coke was definitely a mistake, and I have not had one since, but it got me thinking about the power and emotional ties that we have with food.

I truly understand where that commenter was coming from, when they remarked on the “joy of eating.” However, when there is so much evidence to the negative effects of these “foods,” and there is little joy in medical issues that compromise your quality of life or even shorten it.

From the experience of an emotional eater, a former junk food addict and someone who has comforted themselves with food, please hear that there is still joy that can be found in healthy foods, once we have detoxed our bodies of all the crap we put in it.

Have you had any experiences similar to this?