new eatings

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(N.B. To view the footnotes, you have to be reading the entry in its entirety.)

I used to drink a lot of Coke. I chugged at least two cans of the stuff daily, if not (way) more, back when I was in those late elementary school years. And that was just the cans (which always seemed to be how Coke deserved to be drunk, in its own signature and stylized vessel; no doubt I would have loved the glass bottle); throw in the 2L-bottles1 and the slurpees,2 and I figure my intake was approaching a good litre3 / day, which means it was in all likelihood my primary means of hydration.

I can’t seem to find reliable data on average American consumption of soft drinks;4 but that doesn’t really matter – I was drinking a lot of soda for one human being, even for an admittedly husky and frighteningly (physically) mature adolescent. (Relativity be damned: the concept of ‘relatively unhealthy’ is ludicrous. If great swaths of Americans are eating fried lard with mayonnaise and extra cheese, it doesn’t make your french fries any healthier.)

And then, for reasons I don’t precisely remember – probably some very adolescent mixture of health- and self- and image-consciousness, plus identity-differentiation – I stopped drinking soda. Cold turkey. Maybe characteristically, I responded to my near-constant soda-binge with another extreme: no carbonated beverages of any sort.5 No Coke. No Sprite. No non-100% natural juices. No Diet-Anythings. This wasn’t a calorie thing; this was a life alteration.

That was about eleven years ago, and I haven’t had so much of as a sip of the verboten liquids, not even as a mixer, or a chaser, or as mere hydration. No exceptions.6 It’s become a cherished quirk of mine; the original reasons mostly forgotten and wholly inapplicable, but yet I continue my self-imposed soda exile. And since I want everyone to know my quirks, and thereby recognize me as a lovably-quirky-but-not-alarmingly-so guy, I’ll often mention it in passing. (Never obnoxiously or self-righteously, of course; I’ll throw it out there, and then verbally shrug it off as just a quirk.) Which brings me to the lead-in to my main point: No one’s ever had a strong reaction to my refusal to drink sugared carbonated beverages. (Usually it’s mild surprise or feigned interest – I can’t really tell which – like I’ve told them about an exotic allergy (which I guess it is, in a sense).)

Which brings me to my main point: People positively freak out when I tell them I’ve decided to become a vegetarian.

(to be continued…)

1 I was going to write an unapologetic footnote declaiming the merits of Canada/the metric system vs. the stubborn stupidity of what seems to be called the ‘customary unit system,’ but I realized/discovered that America, too, refers to those ubiquitous polyethylene terephthalate containers as ‘two liter bottles’ (and yes – [sic]). This defuses my rhetoric indignation, perhaps, but not my greater, underlying point.

2 My alcohol consumption back then was not nearly advanced enough to include soda in any form. We were much too excited about the idea of drinking (especially at bar mitzvahs) to bother with finer points, like taste or moderation.

3 I’m spelling it properly, btw, no matter what your spellchecker thinks.

4 But by all accounts it’s staggering – one 2005 study claims that soda/sweet drinks account for the greatest caloric source in the American diet.

5 Aside from seltzer, that is, which got a free pass because (a) it’s sugar-less and ostensibly just a wilder version of water; and (b) in my home it actually substituted for water. How to reproduce my father’s spritzers might be the most valuable thing I’ve taken from my upbringing. (Seltzer first, then roughly 15% juice. There’s a bit of habituation necessary (it’s probably way more subtle than you’re used to) but I promise it’s worth the effort. Plus, you’ll save a bundle on juices.)

6 Okay, I’ve had a single-digit amount of slurpees.

Written by menachemkaiser

3 January at 18:45

Posted in rants

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