I was 17. There was a old, yellow, 70’s looking fridge in our garage; it had a 2 liter of coca-cola sitting right inside the door… That bottle was just sitting there, waiting for me to return home from class. It was on my mind while I listened to the professor speak. I was in my first year of college.
As I drove home in my 1990 gray Jeep Cherokee, I would eat an entire container of orange Tic Tacs that I picked up from Costco in bulk earlier that week and think about drinking in a tall glass of my Coke when I got home. It was my special treat. This all felt very normalized and yet somewhat secretive… maybe even sacred.
During this time, I had yeast infections (just being honest), stomach issues and daily allergies that involved me taking regular antibiotics and allergy meds. I popped allergy meds almost every day like they were another container of Tic Tacs. I was constantly sick with a cold. I was in a codependent relationship with a boy, he was charming, wonderful and an addict, at the time. It all felt unhealthy and yet somehow safe. I was a committed Marlboro Lights cigarette smoker and also addicted. My addictions were different than his. I liked cigarettes, refined sugar and high fructose corn syrup.
I had no idea the harm I was inflicting on my body at this time. I remember one day, when I came home, The Coca Cola was gone. My father had taken it I guess, it just wasn’t in the fridge, like normal. I remember this day vividly. When I asked, he shared that I had been drinking too much and I needed to stop. I was so livid with him! I knew he was right though. My grandmother came over later that week and shared with me that Coca Cola would “take the rust off the cars”. She barked at me, “imagine what it’s doing to your insides and you drink so much! You need to stop it!” I heard her, but I didn’t want to believe her. I closed my mind to the ideas she shared.
If you are someone who drinks too much Diet Soda or regular “pop” or soda. You need to stop it too. And yet, you already know this, I don’t need to tell you that drinking soda accounts for 184,000 deaths each year (source: Science Daily). Or that artificial sweeteners alter your gut microbiome making your very susceptible to disease. On some level you know this to be true, right?