On October 29th, I started what would become a pretty brutal week. It would become brutal because I was consciously deciding to stop being a Cokehead.
I have been drinking pop since I was young. In fact, I don’t ever recall a time in my life where I didn’t drink pop. Coke has been my drink of choice for many years. Since I don’t drink alcohol, nor have I ever, I’ve always relied on drinking Coke as my mainstay beverage. At some point during my youth I tried drinking Pepsi for awhile but that didn’t last too long.
Everyone has always known me to be a Coke drinker. For the longest time, I found myself saying that if drinking Coke was my only vice, I was fine. No alcohol, drinking, drug abuse, or excessive sexual promiscuity, my only crutch was that I found myself drinking the stuff every day. For a long time, it was a couple of 500ml bottles a day. Plus something with my lunch and supper sometimes. Then when I came to work at Whitehill and we ended up with free pop, it became at least 3-6 cans of the stuff a day. If you think about it, I’ve been drinking this stuff for so long, that it’s very likely I have been averaging between 1-2 litres of Coke/pop every day for at LEAST the last 25 years. That comes out to about 9,125 litres of pop I have drank since I was a teenager. That’s more than 20,000 pounds of pop or about two full grown elephants.
In the last year I had started thinking a bit more about my eating and drinking habits. I always justified my Coke habit by saying that I could be doing a lot worse to my body. Whether it be things like weed, LSD, cocaine, or even excessive alcohol, Coke was a mild crutch compared to many of the alternatives.
Then about six months or so, I found myself coming into work, going to the fridge, getting a can of Coke, sitting at my desk and before 30 minutes were up, the can was gone and I hadn’t even realized I had drank it. A few more weeks passed by and I started to notice that the actual taste of Coke was no longer all that appealing to me. So, I tried drinking Pepsi at work for awhile. The taste was different but yet somehow something just didn’t feel right. Then something strange happened over the course of the next few days.
I found myself going in to work and purely out of habit snagging that morning Coke but when drinking it, the flavour was not there and I was doing it more to avoid the possibility of getting a caffeine headache. Finally after a weekend away from the office, I came back in and consciously decided that this was it.
I came in that Monday morning and went to the kitchen and got a glass of water. I drank a LOT of water that day and by the time I got home, it wasn’t too bad. I did the same for the next few days and that’s when it got really bad. I have no idea what it is like to go through withdrawal as an alcoholic or as a former drug addict. But I can tell you what it’s like to go through withdrawal from caffeine. The headaches are brutal. I popped more Aleve that week than I ever have in my entire life. I continued to drink water, and the odd Ginger Ale, but no Coke or Pepsi, or anything in it with caffeine. After about a week or so, the headaches tapered off and I have absolutely no urge to drink any more Coke.
I have still been drinking water, but have also been drinking orange and apple juice. I have had Ginger Ale a lot in the last week but I have refrained completely from Coke. My only exposure to caffeine in the last few weeks has been about 3 cans of Barq’s root beer. Beyond that I have been caffeine free.
It is my intention to not only stay off Coke, but to now completely ween myself off any pop products at all, save for the odd one once in awhile.
The reality is, it’s extremely difficult to choose a more healthy lifestyle when so much crap is around you. Pop is everywhere so trying to stay away from it is hard not only because of it’s easy availability, but because I have been drinking it for so long it is SUCH a habit. I will say though I have not been tempted to drink any Coke any time I have gone by the fridge in the kitchen at work. With an unlimited supply of Coke and pop there, it could be very tempting.
So for now, I am Coke free. I’m not going to say that I’ll remain that way because life does change and who knows what will happen. But right now, I’m opting to try life without it and see how I do. So far, the only thing I lack is a bit of a pick me up early in the morning. Beyond that, I feel like I’m doing better. I also got my blood tests back from a long-overdue Thyroid test and my doctor told me that all of the other tests came back fine. Blood sugar, cholesterol, blood pressure, and all things heatlhwise, came out just fine. Knowing that, I think it makes a lot more sense to be more conscious of my health, and try to live a bit better.
Now I just need to knock of a few pounds. Anyone got a saw?