One Year Ago Today…

It’s amazing how time flies!

A year ago today I made a life-altering decision. Well, I had made the decision prior to May 29, 2007 – but this date a year ago was THE day that I took the big plunge.

I decided to eliminate high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) from my diet.

Might not seem like such a monumental decision – except that I have always readily admitted to the fact that I’ve been a lifelong Coke (as in the soft drink!) addict. Seriously – Coke is the great Southern cure for colic – and I must have been a colicky baby, cause that’s when I started getting Coke – in a baby bottle.

One friend quipped to me at one juncture in my adult life that she wouldn’t be at all surprised to find that if I went to have labs drawn they’d get Coke – not blood!

And yeah, you guessed it – high up there on the list of ingredients on the label of Coke is HFCS.

Stink.

So, why all of the fuss about HFCS? There are lots of reasons why – it actually may be harder to prove a case FOR consuming it! However, in my own personal case, here are my motivators:

  • Before my DS I was diagnosed with osteoporosis.
  • Since my DS I’ve improved to have my diagnosis changed to osteopenia. (Yay!)
  • I take a boatload of calcium, Vitamin D, and magnesium to keep things going in the right direction.
  • HFCS *and* carbonation are both known to block calcium absorption.

Double stink.

Last August 23rd, at the ripe old age of 43, I had to have my right hip replaced. Years of having an extra couple of hundred pounds on my frame, my family’s health history (my Dad had degenerative joint disease – so do I; my Mom had osteopenia; my Grandmother had osteoporosis), the fact that I was in a wheelchair for a couple of years, the fact that I didn’t consume many dairy products growing up since I’m lactose intolerant and allergic to some other components of diary products, and that I didn’t ever supplement calcium until AFTER my DS – *ALL* big factors that led me to make the decision.

All it really took was some serious reading – a willingness to get a little technical and wade through some fairly boring papers on the subject for the horror of it all to hit home and decide that I had to decide which was more important: my addiction to Coke, or my skeleton?

Yep – the skeleton won out!

So, on May 29, 2007 – without any fanfare at all, other than a quick notation on my calendar – I had my last Coke.

Simultaneously, I decided to aggressively avoid HFCS in any/all forms, as well as carbonation. I figured, heck, if I’m gonna take it seriously, I may as well do it well.

I have some lifelong friends who are still in shock that I made it past the first week. Well, I was, too, for a while. You know, after the initial breaking the first so iced cold it actually hurt going down Coke of the morning (my mouth is watering at the memory of it – even still!) habit, it was easier than I thought it would be. I went through a brief panic around the first of the year when I mentioned that I was celebrating 6 months of being Coke-free to my daughter – who laughingly asked, “So you gonna have a celebratory Coke?!” She was joking – I was seriously trying to decide if I was gonna or not! But after some wise counsel and lots of consideration, I decided to make a goal of being able to say, “I’ve gone a whole year without Coke!” as my New Years’ Resolution.

I gotta be honest. Two days ago when I was on the flight from Madrid to Atlanta on the trip home from Spain every time that beverage cart stopped in close proximity and started pouring drinks – it seemed that every one of the folks seated nearby was asking for an iced cold Coke! Aaagggghhhh! It still smells good! The memory of the taste of it can make my mouth water! Yes, I still want one! But I’ve decided – tentatively at least – that I’m better off without it.

So I mark a milestone today. There were days when it seemed impossible. Today, it just makes me smile that I could do it.

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