Giving Up Diet Coke

My love for cheese knows no bounds. A glass of Sancerre can make me weak in the knees. An icy-cold beer, a smoky single-malt, chocolate… These are a few of my favorite things, but none–none!–of these has had quite the hold on me as Diet Coke. Diet Coke has been my constant companion for decades, from college, through my 20s and 30s until now, give or take a few periods of abstention–pregnancy, extended trips abroad, brief episodes of restraint… Though most of the time I stuck to one to two Diet Cokes a day, on sleep-deprived days (aka early parenthood), the number would inch up to three. On those days I felt both soothed by the cold, sugary fizzy hit of the soda and simultaneously disgusted by the overload of chemical flavor. When news reports surfaced over the years about the negative side effects of aspartame and diet sodas, I paid attention, but I remained unmoved and–I’ll say it–addicted (!). But something has finally clicked for me–I feel more and more repulsed by the artificial taste, I’m pretty sure some of my teeth are turning blueish, and I can no longer ignore the mounting studies convincing me that Diet Coke is just not worth the risks. But the biggest factor in all of this is my 3-year-old daughter: She’s paying attention to what I’m drinking, and I can’t tolerate the idea of her copycatting Mommy’s soda habit. I’m on Day 5 without Diet Coke. Thank goodness there’s cold-brew iced coffee to ease the pain, and I’ve been enjoying iced tea/lemonade combos, seltzers, and the occasional Italian lemon sodas. But I’d love to hear from those of you who have given up Diet Coke. What drink/drink concoctions helped you through it? (Photo: Courtesy of PDPhoto.org)

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