January 1, 2010
It’s a new year, which means it’s time to make a new resolution. Some people don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions. They think if there’s something in your life that needs to be changed, you shouldn’t wait until January 1st to work on it. While I totally agree with that, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with using the start of a new year as an opportunity for improvement.
Last year’s resolution was to be more punctual. Trust me, I get how sad it is that I had to make that a resolution. But for some reason, it actually worked. Perhaps because it brought it to the forefront of my mind? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not on time, all the time now. But I am much better. I’m not always 10-15 minutes late anymore. I’m no longer the person that people are always waiting on… at least not always.
This year for my resolution I’ve decided to give up both soda and coffee. I understand that caffeine is not necessarily a bad thing. Trust me, sometimes I need it to get through the day. Soda doesn’t have just caffeine in it though. It is chock-full of empty calories, and has zero nutritional value. Pepsi used to be my drug (err, soda) of choice, and Mountain Dew was my big gun I would pull out in emergencies. I hardly drink much of either of them anymore, but haven’t cut them out all the way either. The other day I actually had a Mtn. Dew (I had a long car ride ahead of me), and just for fun thought I’d read the ingredients. Oink! I was fully expecting the caffeine, high fructose corn syrup, citric acid, artificial coloring and all the other junk, but what I was not expecting was vegetable oil. VEGETABLE OIL. IN MY SODA. Whaaa??? I don’t even cook with vegetable oil! EVOO baby! Now it’s one thing to, I don’t know, bake with it. But I don’t want to drink it.
When I got home I immediately Googled it. Now to be accurate, it’s not just vegetable oil, but more specifically brominated vegetable oil – as if that makes it any better. According to Wikipedia, the purpose of this ingredient is “to help fat-soluble citrus flavors stay suspended in the drink and to produce a cloudy appearance.” To produce a cloudy appearance? You mean, vegetable oil is what gives Mountain Dew that cloudy look? It is not that serious! You don’t need to add brominated vegetable oil to my drink! I could do without the cloudy appearance, thanks. Don’t do me any favors. And as if that weren’t bad enough, the FDA has declared BVO an interim food additive, yet it’s been used in the soft drink industry since 1931. Hmmm… errr… uhhh… not sure how interim that is. Not to mention India has prohibited its use in their soft drinks, and I’m always weary of ingredients that other countries have banned.
OK fine, soda is out. But what’s wrong with coffee, you ask? Nothing. Nothing at all. I know that doctors say you can have between 1-2 cups of coffee every day, and experience no ill side effects. However, I think they’re talking about straight-up coffee. As in, black coffee. Part of my problem is I don’t really like coffee. At least not without several packets of sugar, and a long pour of milk or half & half or creamer, and by that point it’s a whole other beast. We’re no longer talking about coffee, but rather a coffeespikemybloodsugarandconverttofatlater beverage. I’m pretty sure that’s not what doctors have in mind. So coffee is out for me too.
Besides, if I need a caffeine boost I can always have white or green tea. Black tea can be the big gun I whip out in emergencies. Not quite the same, I know. But until I can learn to drink my coffee black, then tea it is. Resolutions aren’t supposed to be easy anyway, I guess.
Oooh, which reminds me, I gotta run. I’m late to meet a friend for coffee… err, I mean, tea.
References:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brominated_vegetable_oil
Image Source: Blass, Allison. “Calvin and Hobbes.” Cartoon. LemonadeLife.com 29 Dec. 2009. 10 Jan. 2011. <http://lemonlemonade.wordpress.com/2009/12/29/how-to-make-diabetes-new-years-resolutions/>. (Original image illustrated by Bill Watterson).