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Diet Coca-Cola

28 days without the refreshing taste...?

Once in a generation a people must undertake such great trials and tribulations that their shared stories become echoed through eternity.

This isn’t one of those stories.

Facing me, in this month of February 2010, is not the logistical and endurance feat of crossing the Alps (with Elephants) which faced Hannibal. Nor do I have to brave the harshest of environments in an international race to the south pole like Shackleton and Amundsen. I also do not find myself having to score from a free kick in the last seconds of a match against Greece to send my country to the soccer World Cup like one David Robert Joseph Beckham. My trial, my great suffering, is to undertake a period of no less than 28 days – a lunar cycle – without partaking in the thirst quenching bubbly nectar of Diet Coca-Cola. I know, I know. I am brave, some may say foolhardy, to attempt such a feat. However I am sure you will be with me on this when I explain some of the background to this impossible challenge.

I have never been a fan of agua mineral. From the moment I was no longer able to rely on fluid from my mothers placenta for sustenance I have sought my own personal liquid refreshment path. No breast milk for me, I chose the bottled powdered substitute. From there it was on to cordial juice as a toddler, mixing blackcurrant or oranges with water. They said the right mixture was 1 part juice, 10 parts water, well reckless as I am I endeavoured with 3 parts juice and 2 parts water! Nothing could stop my single-mindedness. But for a time when my older cousin Katy took to tipping my four-year old head back and pouring alcohol down my throat, this juice drinking ‘rainbow period’ lasted through my preschool years. Then it happened. My father, not averse to an alcoholic drink or three, stood mixing his vodka and Jack Daniels with coke. A bubbly, dark enchanting liquid that seemed to tease me with every escape of carbon dioxide at its surface. I drank my first Diet Coca-Cola that day, and never looked back.

In recent years I driven, grudgingly, to the need to consume bottles of water – I spent two summers working on a flea market as security in ninety plus degree heat – from 6am. If you don’t drink water and work in the open air in Cape Cod then your going to find life very uncomfortable. Yet the general pattern of my drinking habits hasn’t changed, and thanks to special Tesco deals since christmas I have gone through unholy amounts of Diet Coca-Cola. I am aware of all the arguments against fizzy drinks, but so a smoker is aware of the huge cancer warning on the packet of cigarettes. I like it, its available, it’s the easy option when I wanted a drink.

Tomorrow, on Monday 1st February 2010. For 28 days. The easy option is no option! I shall drop the fizzy bottle cold turkey and embrace the alternatives of… ahem… agua mineral, fruit juice and even coffee. I have never been a drinker of alcohol so I don’t have that to turn to, which is probably a plus. This shall be an experiment not purely for vanity. Certainly not to prove those who said I couldn’t give up Coca-Cola wrong… though I can, are you reading this Pete? This shall be conducted in the best of scientific intentions. I have drunk Cola most of my life. What, if any, of the physical complaints I have are down to carbonated drinks? Will I lose weight? Will my teeth make any improvement in their appearance (I am English…) by the end of the 28 days? Will I be filled with untapped reservoirs of energy, released by the absence of bloating, poisonous carbon dioxide? Or will I be reduced to a quivering wreck, rocking back and forth in the corner of my study etching into the wooden floors the Coca-Cola swish logo over and over again?

We shall see. I will post updates every few days, at least once a week as the days unfold to update you on how I’m feeling. Whether any of the withdrawal symptoms are particularly uncomfortable etc. I will also highlight the arguments against carbonated drinks and those for. Stick with us, and share the journey.

Have you given up fizzy drinks before? Chocolate white mice? Bon Bons? Liquorice Allsorts? Whatever you’ve given up, however successful you were – share your thoughts in the comment box below!

Now, if you will excuse me, like all great addicts planning to ‘give it up’… I’m going on one last Diet Cola bender. I’m such a wild child at heart.


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