Why I’d give up my right hand for a cold Diet Coke
Day six of my 2020 no processed sugar experiment and I’m craving the fizzy brown stuff over everything else
I’m right handed so I do a lot of incredibly important things with my right hand. Writing, using a knife, putting on mascara without poking myself in the eye to name but a few. My right hand is an incredibly important part of doing incredibly important things. And a lot of not so incredibly important things. I tap my nose with the index finger of my right hand when I’m thinking. Coincidentally the nail on that finger is very good to chew on when I’m stressed. Zips, buttons, poppers, all my right hand’s responsibility. I wasn’t kidding - all the things happen with my right hand. But it’s day six of my no processed sugar or booze for a year challenge and I’d quite happily lop the thing clean off just for a sip of the good stuff.
I remember from a previous challenge of quitting sugar for a month that this was one of the most surprising cravings. I have such a sweet tooth and have always considered myself a chocoholic so I assumed that my worst cravings would be for a big ol’ slab of Dairy Milk. But weirdly I have real chocolate in the house, I know exactly where it is, but I haven’t touched it. It’s not that I haven’t wanted to, but there are loads of alternatives to be able to curb a sweet treat craving without eating refined sugar. Living in London is actually really helpful when it comes to a challenge like this as there are so many vegan and ‘free from’ options widely available. And when you look at the ingredients, a number of them replace refined sugar with coconut sugar, honey or maple syrup. As I’m allowing myself natural sugars these are all great options for me and mean I really haven’t felt without so far. I went to the cinema with a friend the other day, and before I met her I popped to the supermarket and picked up Naked bars (cold pressed fruit and nuts, that it) and some Livia’s raw cookie dough nugglets. They’re made with coconut sugar and fruit and are super tasty, so I got to enjoy the show without panicking and stealing someone’s bag of Minstrels.
But there are currently very few decent alternatives for a Diet Coke if you’re trying to be sugar free. Don’t worry, I can hear you all screaming at your phones - “But Diet Coke doesn’t contain sugar, you can already drink it you idiot!” I completely understand where you’re coming from. But when they remove the sugar they merely replace it with a sweetener called aspartame which has not only been linked to numerous illnesses over the years, but completely defeats the object of my experiment. I’m trying to cup out processed sugar, and aspartame being a chemical sweetener is as bad for me as if I was going to have a full fat coke and its 9 teaspoons of sugar. So even though Diet Coke technically doesn’t contain sugar there’s no wonder why I’m craving it so badly.
I’ve actually found today the hardest so far. I was fine at work, but with it being Monday I was up early and into the office and I’ve been cold and tired all day. All that’s done is made me want to reach for the snacks and the convenience food. I actually ended up going to a fancy supermarket on my lunch break and finding a hideously overpriced can of fizzy water flavoured with natural raspberry and apple that I was so excited about, but that was ultimately disappointing. So today has been a struggle, I’ve eaten mainly beige food, and I caved and had four squares of a chocolate alternative after my dinner to cheer myself up that is made with coconut sugar and cacao and other virtuous ingredients that don’t break my self inflicted rules. And so as day six comes to a close, I'm going to try and improve my mood with an early night and hope that I don’t dream of diving head first into giant pools full of Diet Coke.