Coke has always been my fuel. At breakfast, I have drunk milk my entire life. But the rest of the day, I fueled my body with coke. All day, every day. It was diet coke, because I didn’t care for the regular kind and that has always been my excuse. ‘I’m not drinking anything unhealthy, it doesn’t contain any sugar. Look, it has less than 1 calorie in it!’ Every sane person will know I was wrong. Even I knew I was. Come on, how can it not be unhealthy? It’s artificial! Some researchers state that diet coke even helps you getting fatter, despite of the lack of calories. It’s a misleading, nasty drink if you come to think of it. So that’s why I wanted to try two weeks without it. Of course, I didn’t want to replace it with some other soda, that would be just silly. So that’s why my goal nr. 44 is: Don’t drink soda for two weeks in a row.
I honestly thought this would be the hardest thing on my list. The reason I wanted it to last for ‘just’ two weeks, was that I knew I’d fail for sure if it would be any longer. Or die. That was also a possibility. On January 1, I decided to tackle this thing. I might as well get it over with, right? I combined this mission with goal nr. 45: Drink a jug of water every day for a month. Because you know, you gotta drink something. I figured being all occupied in drinking water all day would make my deprivation of coke a bit easier.
And I was right. It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. Sure, I had my weak moments. Like, when we had some French fries or pizza. (Fa(s)t food just has ‘coke’ written all over it). Or that time I was just craving for coke out of the blue. (I took some water and I appeared to be thirsty. I just had a craving for any fluid whatsoever, apparently). Or the day the grocery guy put some free Coca Cola Life between my groceries, because they wanted to promote it. (It was so perfectly cooled, it really wanted to be opened immediately. I’m proud to say however, it’s still sealed.) But overall, I didn’t miss my caffeine buddy all that much.
What I got very curious about, was what it would taste once I was allowed to drink it again. And today that day has arrived. I managed to live two entire weeks without any coke! Yay! So today, I poured a small glass for a coke tasting. When I laid my eyes on it, I couldn’t believe this was the drink I have been so addicted to for so many years. It has this weird dark-brown color, not even a pretty brown like chocolate milk. Nothing about it looks fresh. It resembles nothing edible. A few years ago, I washed some pretty dirty windows. The coke in my glass actually resembled the dirty fluid in my bucket at the end of the cleaning. Yuck. Then I took a sip.
Do you know these gummy cola bottles? They were my favorite candy when I was a kid. Sometimes I still eat them when I feel nostalgic. Well, my first sip of my coke today tastes exactly like this. I was drinking liquid gummy cola bottles. Now, I said I liked them, but of course I meant I like to eat them. Drinking gummy cola bottles just feels… Weird. And then I started realizing that this was what I have been drinking all day long, every day, for years! Gummy cola bottles. It shocked me. I mean, gummy cola bottles are candy. I have been binge drinking candy!
I wanted to finish the whole glass, however. I wanted to experience whether the taste of it would change. It did. After a few sips of liquid candy, the sweetness started to fade a bit. I could taste a bitterness as well now. I didn’t care for it too much. I wondered if the coke companies put this bitterness in it on purpose, so people won’t realize they are actually drinking candy.
I stopped drinking for a while and that’s when I felt it. The reason why coke is such a powerful, appealing drink. I hadn’t taken a sip for a few minutes now, but inside my mouth, I could taste a delicious, subtle sweetness. Both my palate and my lips tasted very nice. Nothing like the garlic breath I wrote about yesterday. If you would describe the perfect tender kiss, you would probably describe it like the sweetness I just tasted. So if this taste disappears, it’s hard not to want a new glass of coke, I believe. I mean, if you had to choose between the taste of a perfect kiss or that of a gigantic garlic burp, what would you do?
Then a totally strange thing happened. About 15 minutes after I finished my glass of coke, I felt… Thirsty. I got thirsty just minutes after drinking something! That is so utterly wrong.
I perfectly understand now why I always had this craving for coke. I see why so many people (including me) are addicted to this drink. It’s like it puts a magical spell on you every time you drink it. But I don’t want that anymore. I want to drink something when my own body tells me I’m thirsty, not when some drink tells me I am. I won’t ban coke out of my life forever. I literally can’t, because one of my goals is to cook with coke. But I will also keep drinking it from time to time. When I really, really feel like it. You know, just like I do with a nice glass of wine. I just don’t want to return to the addict I was. I don’t want it to be my fuel any longer.