Featured List

John's "Just DON'T Dew It" Update

Friday, March 8, 2013

Last June I wrote about John's massive, decade-long Diet Mountain Dew addiction and his increasingly worrisome memory lapses. After reading that one of the ingredients in Mountain Dew, brominated vegetable oil, has been shown to cause memory problems, John quit the 'Dew cold-turkey.



Since then several of you have asked for updates on John, wondering if he's managed to stay on the wagon all this time, and if so, whether his symptoms have improved.

I'm happy to report that John HAS stayed on the wagon, though it's never been easy for him. He tells me he still craves the stuff to this day, and that now he has a much better understanding of just how powerful addiction can be.

John didn't just quit Diet Mountain Dew, by the way; he quit ALL soda. The caffeine withdrawal was pretty hellish for the first few weeks, but after that he claimed he felt more awake and clear-headed. He still complained of having to search for the right word all the time, but someone who claimed to know these things told us it can take up to six months to purge the BVO from your system, so I encouraged John to be patient.

John is not much a water drinker, and never has been, so he immediately started researching alternative sugar-free drink options. He did a lot of reading on the various artificial sweeteners (there are claims that Aspartame also causes memory issues) and eventually decided he was comfortable with anything that uses Splenda or Stevia.

His drink of choice now (which uses sucralose, aka Splenda) is Mio, a liquid additive for water. It's kind of like Crystal Light, but since it's already liquid it's a breeze to mix up by the glass. (You just fill the glass partway with water, add 2 squirts of flavoring, and then fill the glass the rest of the way. No spoon needed!)

Naturally, John only uses the Lemonade and Orange-Tangerine flavors - he's a citrus guy, for sure -  but here's a fun little secret: if you use one squirt of Lemonade and one squirt of Orange-Tangerine in an 8 oz glass of water, you'll get something that tastes EXACTLY like the Orange drink they serve at McDonald's. Seriously, I tried it, and it's uncanny.

As for me, I still drink 98% water, but when I'm craving something different I use the Mio Peach Tea. If you like sweet teas, you'll probably like it.

I should mention I'm not being paid to sound like a Mio commercial, btw; we just really like the stuff.

(Oh, and lots of you recommended the Sodastream, an at-home soda-maker, but John tried a few of the diet flavors at a friend's and wasn't wild about them.)

Sometime before Christmas John started re-introducing caffeine to his system with the occasional Diet Coke. He only has it at restaurants, so that helps him keep the quantity under control. And even though he tells me he craves it every day, he's never once had another Diet Mountain Dew.

Now, on to his symptoms:

About two months after John quit we went to dinner with a couple of you readers out at Disney, and I remember being struck by how comfortable John seemed that night, finding his words with ease and never once stumbling over a phrase or anecdote. I'd become so used to his often halting speech pattern that it was a real joy to see him laughing and talking eagerly without hesitations. I think the memory thing had been messing with his confidence, maybe.

In the months since John has still occasionally groaned in frustration and claimed he can't remember anything, but I've definitely seen improvements. These days we never have those little moments of strife and frustration over forgotten words, and in fact John's teased ME a few times over my not remembering a word before he does.

So, was quitting Mountain Dew a silver bullet "cure" for John's memory? Maybe, maybe not. It's hard to measure, although as as outside observer I do think John is much better off now than he was. Not to mention anytime you cut down on that many chemicals entering your body, it's got to be a good thing.

Some of you may recall that in January Pepsi Co. announced that they would remove BVO from Gatorade - partially due to a petition started by a 16-year-old girl - but they've still refused to remove the flame retardant (yes, it's a flame retardant) from Mountain Dew. (Other drinks that include BVO are Fanta Orange, Fresca, and Powerade.) I was also interested to learn that BVO is actually banned in over 100 countries. Yikes! Food for thought for those of you who may still be struggling with a similar soda addiction.

As before, please feel free to share your own experiences with soda, and any links you might have to relevant research or articles. We're always up to learn more!

Posted by Jen at 3:30 PM Labels:

120 comments:

  1. I quit my Diet Coke addiction after reading about the impact artificial sweeteners have on blood sugar. I've struggled with my weight for years, and since going cold turkey, I've lost 8 pounds in three weeks without any change to my diet. Quitting the caffeine was the hardest part, but once my system adjusted, I feel more alert during the day, and sleep better at night. My dentist is happy too, even diet sodas are terrible for your teeth. All that acid!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Just a warning on those Mio things- most of them don't expire for YEARS, I'm talking 25-50 years from their creation date. My husband and I got some as samples and the expiration date on them said 2115. I'm not kidding. We then checked some out at our local grocery store and most of them last a whole hellva lot longer than anything should last. Just keep that in mind if you continue to drink them!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Isn't modern preservation amazing? I'm guessing Mio pulls off the long shelf-life by virtue of not being terribly appealing to bacteria or fungus. There just isn't anything in Mio to survive on. It might as well be distilled water, which will also store indefinitely provided you don't break the seal. Of course, one must give props to classic preservation methods; properly canned foods can easily have a multi-decade lifespan.

      Delete
    2. Are you sure that wasn't meant to be Feb 1, 2015? Most companies won't bother with expirations if they are longer than a couple or few years, and 2115 is 100+ years out...

      Delete
    3. The feds usually require a maximum of two years on an expiration label. Even bottled water "expires" in two years. I'm sure that it said 2015.

      Delete
  3. I cut out soda years ago when I working a second shift job and realized I was starting to live off of energy drinks. I occasionally have a sprite or some other caffeine free soda these days. Or if I have a migraine, I might drink a dr. pepper or coke zero. My husband went cold turkey last year after having a dew addiction. The caffeine withdraw was worse than when he quit smoking. No lie.

    ReplyDelete
  4. The Sodastream diet flavors are, indeed, awful. I add a few squirts of (usually) Mio to the Sodastream water and love it!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Odd thing. There was a Snope's article a bit further down about BVO. I think I'm going with your observations. Fortunately no one in our house drinks Mt Dew but I'll have to look and see what else is being drunk.

    thanks,

    ReplyDelete
  6. BVO may or many not be bad for human consumption. But that it's also a flame retardant it utterly irrelevant. If your house is on fire, the fire fighters are going to be liberally applying a highly effective flame retardant to your house, but despite their use of it, I still feel safe drinking water.

    Similarly, be wary of arguments that other countries have banned/mandated something, and thus it must be bad/good. That's an appeal to popularity with all of the attendant dangers. Countries make decisions for all sorts of reasons that have nothing to do with good science.

    I'm glad to hear that John is improving. Maybe it's the BVOs. Maybe it's the caffeine. Maybe it's something else in soda. Humans are complicated and highly individual, so trying things like this and carefully observing the results can be quite effective!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I was just thinking about John & the Dew this morning . . . Thanks for the update.

    I have only drank Gatorade once and the wired unending buzz I got from it was horrible. (I was very dehydrated and my Dr. recommended it.) She also said to go to the WHO website and get the recipe for rehydration fluid and that is what I make now when I need it. (My only change is to make it with chilled herbal tea instead of plain water.)

    Good for John for keeping this up, it has to have been difficult and more power to you!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I'm glad someone mentioned the snopes article. I recommend everyone read it before they start yelling "BVO will kill you." Yes, as a whole we ingest too many chemicals, but please put a little faith into our governmental food safety programs. For every item banned in Europe and allowed here, there is an item allowed in Europe that we haven't approved yet. Yes, BVO or aspartame (or insert any chemical here) may give you a bad reaction, but there are millions of people who have no problem with it at all. I quite often hear people say that X is bad because it's artificial and Y is good because it's natural. Remember, mushrooms are natural and many can kill you.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I just saw an add for the new Crystal Light that is in liquid form, just like Mio. So now we have more choices in the market to flavor our water. :)

    At work, a coworker set up a Torani syrup bar, so I flavor my water sometimes with sugar-free Red Raspberry flavor (sugar-free Toranis are sweetened with Splenda.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I quit all pop last fall. I still drink tea (black & chai) but no carbonated drinks. I feel much better. Glad John is doing well off Mt. Dew. :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. We just got a SodaStream and just flavor the fizzy water with lemon and lime juice and it has worked well for us. I quit diet pop years ago because I thought it caused my frequent and persistent migraines. I also suffered from major heart palpitations (I am a high anxiety kind of girl). A couple of years after quitting, I had a random diet Pepsi thinking it wouldn't hurt. I never got a migraine but I literally thought I was having a heart attack because it made my heart palpate SO fast. My husband is allergic to all types of artificial sweetener, so between the two of us, we have kicked the pop habit for good. I still do love me a regular Cherry Coke or Dr. Pepper once in awhile, though. Yum. Good for John! I am happy he is getting better!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I am such a Dew addict. :( I really, really wish I could stop...it's all I drink! I just cannot deal with the headaches, etc. I'm a sad, sad lady.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I stopped drinking soda back in the 90's when they stopped using real sugar. Any artificial sweetener, including Splenda and stevia leave a horrible aftertaste in my mouth. But I love the carbonation, so I drink seltzer. It has no sugar, no calories, no weird ingredients at all, and comes in a ton of flavors. My current favorites are vanilla pear and boston cream pie by Polar.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I once had a big Diet Coke habit - several cans a day - and I started noticing that by the end of the day I was slurring my speech and having a hard time thinking of what I wanted to say. I quit drinking soda altogether (except for a couple of Jarritos pineapple sodas every year) and the problem stopped immediately.

    My husband is diabetic and drinks the Crystal Light powder mixed with water. I wish he'd give up flavored diet drinks altogether, but I figure this is better than nothing.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I quit diet sodas years ago due to chronic headaches and trouble with my eyesight. Several years ago, my husband, who as in the army at the time and trying to watch his weight, was drinking Coke Zero by the case. He started having severe headaches and eventually they just would not go away, period. My son, who was only 11 at the time, seemed to be addicted to diet sodas, even though he didn't need to drink diet anything. I cut them both off cold turkey. My son had little problem with it. My husband went through horrid withdrawal for a few weeks, but then his headaches went away and have not been bac since. I think it took him the better part of two years to stop craving the stuff. I just recently learned about BVO, and have cut off anything in my house that contains it.

    ReplyDelete
  16. My boyfriend drinks Mio like its going out of style, but its the only way I can get him to drink water.

    Sad in Canada I can't find the fun flavours for him. I'm sure he'd LOVE the peach iced tea.

    Good for John for sticking to it.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I'm not sold on sucralose. I don't think it's necessary a safe alternative to sugar. But the jury's still out. I'd recommend reading this article on it, though: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2000/12/3/sucralose-dangers.aspx

    ReplyDelete
  18. Good fats such as coconut oil and MCT oil are proving to help people with memory loss. They're using it successfully to treat Alzheimer patients. Might want to look into it and see if it helps to boost things along.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I used to drink a lot of diet Dr Pepper, but I cut it out completely. Now I drink water all day and only two cups of coffee or less in the morning. My hubby is a Diet Dew fan and I have been trying to get him to stop drinking it. I can't stand the taste myself.
    Thanks for sharing John's story with us!

    ReplyDelete
  20. After reading your article, I quit Diet Mt. Dew (my drink of choice for YEARS) cold turkey. I relied on Chrystal Light to get me through. I tried Mio, but it was just way too strong (even with one drop) for me- I tried the Lemonade flavor. I craved Diet Mt. Dew everyday. I didn't lose a pound. Chrystal Light didn't do it for me- it was a pain to continually mix (lots of bottled water, constant cleaning because that powder never fully dissolves, and it ended up costing me more than the soda). I've since relapsed into Diet Dew, but I am drinking caffeine-free. I was soda free for a good six months, but I just couldn't do it.

    I never noticed most of the problems John did, although I think I am losing some of my intelligence. I blame it on no longer being in school. I wish John continued success in staying soda free!

    ReplyDelete
  21. My husband I both have cut waaaaayyyy down on the soda consumption. What use to be an everyday thing is now a maybe once a month thing. And no more diet. Full sugar if I have one. We drink a TON of iced tea. We can go through a pitcher in a day! Gives you the caffeine jolt without all the chemicals. We use Truvia to sweeten. I certainly feel a lot better without the soda!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Everything that enters your body is a "chemical". Just because something is synthetic or hard to pronounce doesn't mean it's bad for you (case in point: all natural arsenic! or better yet look up the scientific name for vitamin D). Sorry, it's a pet peeve of mine ><

    As for BVO it's fine unless you drink outrageous amounts (which is actually true for a lot of things). This should be a lesson in trying to diversify your beverage intake. Anything can be toxic if the amounts are large enough. Since I stopped drinking pop and sugary juices I drink either water or unsweetened tea and I switch out the type of tea I use (black, green, oolong, rooibos, herbal, ect) because I know that I since I drink so much (~gallon a day) I could the same risk. Diversify!

    ReplyDelete
  23. I had to cut out caffeine years ago, and just went ahead and cut out soda in general, except for the occasional 7-Up/Sprite as a treat. I'm a water-drinker, mainly. I tried the Blueberry Lemonade Mio, and couldn't stand it. I haven't tried any other flavor, but then I've never been bothered by plain water.
    Have you read the blog about UK vs US Kraft Mac'n'Cheese? My kids love that stuff, head and shoulders over homemade.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Check out the TrueLemon products! They are amazing, and have no added sweeteners in the Lemon, Lime and Orange varieties. If you get the lemonade or raspberry lemonade they are sweetened with stevia. http://www.truelemon.com/ Love the lime myself. Makes the water go down much easier!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, those sound really good! Thanks for the tip. The water where I live is *horribly* chlorinated -- to the point where it hurts my throat to drink it -- but soda (Diet Coke is my drink of choice) has gotten so expensive that I'm getting frustrated trying to stay hydrated.

      I drink unsweetened iced tea, too, but it spoils if I don't drink it fast enough, and it has a lot more caffeine than Diet Coke. :(

      Delete
    2. We have rusty pipes and it grosses me out to drink our tap water (and it's never cold enough for my taste anyway). I buy water jugs. They aren't huge expensive and I buy a brand from the US to lessen the carbon footprint and I recycle the plastic jugs.

      Delete
  25. I'm not a soda drinker, but I really really really hate water. So, I drink sparkling water. 2 of my local grocery stores carry it in 2 liter bottles, which makes it convenient for me. When out at restaurants, I do either unsweetened ice tea or coffee (yeah, I have that bug, but I almost always just drink it in the mornings or out at a restaurant during cold weather.) I'm still morbidly obese, but that's an entirely different issue. LOL I've never cultivated a taste for anything with artificial sweeteners in it, as I can taste it all.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I used to be an avid Diet Dew Drinker myself and started using soda stream in November 2012 because of the green aspect and the healthier benefits. I love some of the flavors, but the Diet Mountain Mist is lacking. I find myself loving their energy drink (a weaker mix than monster that i can control) with another flavor. Grape (SF) energy drink and watermelon (SF) energy drink are my favorite!! I can also drink the grape and WM alone so they are no caffeine. Although the Soda Stream brands can be somewhat limited, i use the Torani (SF) Fruit Syrups with Splenda as well. I also love that i don't like an overly sweet taste so i can dilute it to my taste. I DO still sneak an occasional diet Dew but after reading about John i may have to rethink it. FYI if your thinking of doing a soda stream. read up on how to make one at home. The start up costs are a little more but the CO2 refills are a lot cheaper if u have the room for a larger tank. Buying soda stream makes you a slave to the CO2 exchange programs at $15 a month.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Have you tried the Sodastream water flavors? We don't drink fake sugar at my house (both my husband and I think it's NASTY) but love the flavored water.

    ReplyDelete
  28. I quit drinking Diet Pepsi by using my Soda Stream--the ingredients in those mixes are NASTY though! I just use a bit of vanilla and some stevia to make my own cream soda. PERFECT!

    ReplyDelete
  29. My husband had to quit diet dew because it was giving him huge headaches. I read somewhere that some people can develop a sensitivity to yellow dye, and so I suggested to him to switch soda. He did and the headaches stopped. To this day, he'll crave an occasional Dt. Dew and have one...and it gives him a headache every time.

    I quit all soda and artificial sweeteners about a month ago. I have noticed my cravings for sweets are less. There is some research that agrees artificial sweeteners may cause weight gain. I cut out caffeine about a week ago (was still drinking coffee for my 'feine fix) and I am still having headaches, though they are less now. I have been weaning myself off soda since about August. I finally felt brave enough to quit it all together!

    ReplyDelete
  30. One of my kids decided to try club soda straight (which is of course a mistake yuck!) However adding Mio to it makes it taste pretty much just like soda. As an alternative to the Soda Stream or if you just want the bubbles.

    ReplyDelete
  31. I gave up all sodas a year or so ago because I have Crohn's Disease and the carbonation gives me really painful gas. I also limit caffeine because of the Crohn's. I do LOVE Mio, and I saw at Target today that Dasani has a mio-type water flavor, and Crystal Light has one now, too. I don't know what kind of sweetener they use, but maybe it's worth looking into? If you want something more natural, you can make iced teas with any kind of herbal tea- mint, fruit teas, hibiscus (which totally tastes like kool-aid after you sweeten it), and you can sweeten it with stevia. Make it by the pitcher so that you have some ready in the fridge. It's super delicious. I get bored by plain water, too.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Your first post on the subject was the inspiration to cut back on drinking Cola. I used to get through several cans a day, and friends always said I was addicted. Whilst I had repeatedly given it up for lent without to much problem, I did fine it was something I craved and was always relieved to drink it again Easter Sunday. My biggest problem was always finding something else to drink. I don't really like much else, and other than ice cold water there is little else I found refreshing.

    But then your post and the fact that I had heard from several different places about links between Cola and Kidney disease. It made me consider the large number of problems I had had health wise in that area. Then when I realised a major ingredient, phosphoric acid, was the basis of my toilet cleaner I knew I had to cut back.

    I didn't go cold turkey. But managed to go to at most one serving a day, normally when I eating out and wanted a drink. Now that it's lent again I have once more given it up completely, and since it was no longer enough of a challenge I had to add chocolate as well.

    I've explored to find new drinks. I have upped my tea(can you tell I'm British?) intake to get some caffeine still. One nice fizzy solution I have found is a non-alcoholic spritzer. The one I like most is elderflower and white grape juice mixed with soda water. Much less, sugar, I'm getting fruit juice as well but it's far more refreshing that juice normally is.

    Health wise I couldn't be sure of anything Kidney wise. I have been told many times that I have lost weight since I cut back on coke. But the main difference is that I am mainly drinking water now, and being well hydrated has made a huge difference.

    So just a thank you to John for being brave enough to give up on his addiction and you for sharing it with us as you have both inspired me to make a positive change myself.

    ReplyDelete
  33. I've mostly cut out diet coke, and I probably make an exception once or twice a month. I got one bottle of Mio as a sample from some sampling website, and I was impressed that they sent me a full bottle, not just one little packet. I've managed to make that one bottle last weeks, so at least they're not ungenerous. I chose the blueberry flavor, and it's pretty tasty.

    ReplyDelete
  34. actually just read this before I wandered over here. http://blog.fooducate.com/2011/04/11/oh-my-mio-water-flavoring-has-nothing-real-in-it/

    Probably better off with a pitcher of water with some cut up cucumbers and lemon. So good!

    ReplyDelete
  35. For an even healthier option for flavoring your water, you can add in a slice of citrus fruit, or a splash of any sort of citrus juice. Just a small splash will do. It may have a small bit of sugars, but they're not processed chemicals like artificial sweeteners or the food dyes that are made from petroleum. (Yes, really.) I think it's something that one can acquire a taste for if you don't have it already, just like one can acquire a taste for Diet coke or Mt. Dew.

    ReplyDelete
  36. I quit diet coke cold turkey a couple of months ago and was shocked at how hard it was to break my addiction. I quit because I'd heard the aspartame caused joint problems and I'm in physical therapy for my knees. I found something called True Lemon that has no aspartame and very little artificial gunk. I have now lost about 10 lbs and my joints seem to be getting better. My restless leg syndrome also went away, which was an added benefit.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Way to go John! I gave up a 1 liter/day Mt. Dew habit cold turkey a few years back and I do not miss those headaches. I was clean for 3 years. Unfortunately having kids put me back onto Coke, but only at lunchtime, and less than 12 oz. Everyone needs a vice.

    In other news, though, there are more evidence based studies on the effects of caffeine on memory, and right now it appears that moderate amounts actually do help you, including delaying Alzheimer's. (Google Scholar has a ton of links to those studies now, but it merits more study -- mice are not people). The caveat being that there are a lot of conflicting studies out there, so ferreting out the ones that actually have a good sample size and clean data is an entirely different issue.

    I did find that I functioned a little better with a little bit of caffeine in my system, but the reintroduction meant that the headaches were worse when I missed two days. Just a small warning, in case you're getting back into the habit. But if you do get back into the habit, don't go with the Diets, if you're going to go, go whole hog.

    ReplyDelete
  38. I'm glad to hear he's doing well! I have never been a fan of pop much myself, but I have a major weakness for sugary juices (apple juice especially). I've recently started substituting juice with a glass of waterwith a couple drops of lime juice. I've also seen a lot of options for soaking fruit, vegetables, and herbs in water overnight, and I plan to give it a try soon!

    ReplyDelete
  39. I have been crossing my fingers for John all these months and I am very happy to hear he is still off the Dew! I could really sympathise with you Jen, as my boyfriend had a similar problem - he was seriously addicted to coke. Not even diet coke. Regular one, and he could have up to 2 litres a day, since he was 13! I am surprised he still has all his teeth, although they got damaged because of his coke addiction and now he will have to spend some time and money getting them fixed.
    I have been trying to convince Steve to stop drinking coke sinc we started going out, with no result - sometimes he would decide do quit himself, but he never lasted more than two weeks (and everytime he was counting the days, the way heavy smoker would!)

    It changed a fwe months ago, when he started having terrible stomach pains - he would literally bend in half on the street and couldn't walk. I was terrified, but he needed one more final push: after about two weeks of these pains he started vomiting blood (sorry for graphic details). I think only then he finally got scared, and he got scared for good. He didn't touch coke ever since, and it has been almost six months now!
    The pains and blood disappeared, and after the initial shock caused by lack of sugar and caffeine he started feeling much more fresh and focused, to my delight.

    Interestingly, he never had much problems quitting smoking and he never complained once about wanting to have a smoke. With coca-cola, after half a year he says he still craves it every day, as you said John does. I'm trying to support him and I quit fizzy drinks too, and we both switched mainly to water.

    Stay strong John!

    ReplyDelete
  40. I kicked my Coke addiction when my daughter began to walk and knock them over. I tired quickly of cleaning up sticky pop. I figured out that what I wanted most was the carbonation so I switched to club soda with a lime twist. I eventually bought a soda stream to cut down on plastic bottles but I don't buy their flavors (they're nasty). It's been about 6 years and the last Coke I tasted, about 2 years ago, didn't taste good to me at all.
    I wish John all the best.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Just a warning - I think most diet pops use aspartame for sweetener.

    ReplyDelete
  42. I cut out sodas cold turkey too - Canada has a different mountain dew than you guys in the US - but I just got sick of the sugar. Haven't had it since Oct 2011 with the exception of the occasional Romulan ale (ginger ale or sprite in the ones we make) and I don't miss it. I missed the bubbly originally but started drinking Perrier (well, Walmart brand Perrier lol) and the lime flavor is my fave.
    Mio is great, I keep one in my purse & use it at school to keep me from too much of my main vice, coffee (we have a Tim Horton's in my school >.<). If only I could give that up, I'd be set. Wish we had the selection of Mio though - only four kinds up here & getting sick of them. I want to try the lemonade with the tangerine.
    Congrats to John for keeping on the wagon; it's not easy - but it's so worth it :)
    ~erin kristine

    ReplyDelete
  43. Great news! I'm really happy to hear your update and that John's doing well. Another suggestion, from my husband and I that cut out soda almost entirely - we drink Honest Tea. It has just a tiny bit of natural sugar, and it comes in a ton of different flavors, plus a juice version (we love juice but most of it also has too much sugar). They're great, see if it's something you like. John might like the Half and Half with Lemonade since he's a citrus guy.

    www.honesttea.com

    According to their website they have a new soda out too, but I haven't tried it myself or looked at the ingrediants. Definitely love the tea and juices though.

    ReplyDelete
  44. FYI About Sucralose- it gives me TERRIBLE migraines. It can have that effect on some, so beware of that. All artificial sweeteners to that to me

    ReplyDelete
  45. I've struggled for years with memory issues exactly like John had, though I've never drunk anything with BVO (I'm a die hard Dr. Pepper girl, but that's another story). Turns out my issue was a long term side effect of an antidepressant I'd been on for a couple of years (Celexa). After about 1.5 years, my hands and feet started itching terribly for no reason (the dermatologist decided that I had suddenly developed severe eczema) and I started having issues with word recall (I couldn't come up with a very common word, but could get all sorts of similar words, or I'd say the exact opposite of what I meant, or I'd just lose track of what I was saying altogether in the middle of a sentence, and short term memory was nearly non-existant). My close friends all noticed and commented on it. My mother-in-law asked me what medications I was on, and I told her that I'd been on the same meds for years without issue so it couldn't possibly be that, and she replied with the magic words "well, what about long term effects?" It took less than 10 minutes to find several Celexa discussion forums with dozens of other people who started noticing after about 1.5 years that they were having severe memory and word recall issues AND had badly itchy hands and feet! With two so dissimilar symptoms it would seem very unlikely that it was all just coincidental. I weened off the Celexa immediately, the itchiness stopped within a week, and the word issues showed noticeable improvement within a month. Sadly, I never did regain all of my previous ability with words. Sometimes they still escape me, or I lose track of what I wanted to say, and my short term memory seems to be permanently nearly absent (no worries, I usually remember in a week or two!) But all of these symptoms can be managed and controlled with focused effort. I even had a whole battery of brain tests to see if there was actually measurable damage, but the tests were administered in a quiet room with no distractions, so of course, my symptoms didn't really surface and they said I was fine.

    I'm posting this in case anyone else out there has these similar issues, but not from BVO. You're not just getting older and forgetful. Check into the effects of the meds you take! The sooner you catch it, the less permanent damage you'll have. I hope that John's issues continue to improve as the BVO is flushed, and that there's no permanent damage, but even if he doesn't have a full recovery, the issues can be managed. I use calendar reminders and alarms, LOTS of post-it notes, music to drown out the distractions at work, and thesaurus.com when I REALLY get stumped for a word ;-D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Storm the KlingonMarch 9, 2013 at 4:56 AM

      Being on Zoloft for just over 5 years gave me SUCH EXTREME dry mouth (the fact that I'm a stoner didn't help), that the pH and acidity levels and all that happy crappy that keeps out The Cavity Creeps completely failed on me. Suddenly, after living for 22 of my 34 years with crazy Scots/Irish/Hillbilly/Klingon teeth with NO problems at all, my teeth started rotting out of my head. NO ONE, not the drug company or my doctor, ever said ANYTHING about severe dry mouth causing tooth rot and advanced gingivitis; my teeth started to just break off at the gumline. I now have exactly two of my natural teeth left in my head (bottom molars that my piece attaches to); my Vulcan got me purty new teefs for my wedding, instead of the honeymoon in Britain I'd longed for (Fun Fact: Having every surviving tooth as well as a dozen rotten stumps surgically removed from your head costs SERIOUS money. But you get an IV drip of Ketamine, so hey! PAR-TAY!). Wish I could sue the company to get some of his money back, as I'm due for a new set. NOW, there are commercials for various mouthwashes where a dentist says "Many different medications on the market can cause severe enough dry mouth to cause and encourage tooth decay, so I recommend BlaBlaBla Brand Hydrating Mouthwash..." Gee, Doc, thanks LOADS, where the hell were you ten years ago, ya schmuck?!

      So, yeah, my post really has nothing to do with the topic of soda, as much as how much side effects from meds that no one knows about or sees fit to clue you in on can screw you up in ways you don't even realize.

      Cheers, thanks a lot,

      Storm

      P.S. All you weirdos that are having horrid caffeine-withdrawl headaches from quitting soda, stop torturing yourselves and take a bloody Excedrin! Unless, of course, you're quitting soda *specifically* to stop doing caffeine altogether. But if it's just a matter of your not wanting to do soda for the other ingredients, then for the love of Bowie, take 1 Excedrin; it has as much caffeine as a small cup of coffee, and if it can make a dent in migraines, it can fix you up right proper.

      Oh, and I almost forgot: WELL DONE, JOHN! QAPLA' AND HUZZAH FOR YOU!

      Delete
  46. Be careful drinking Mio! Something I have noticed is that they contain Propylene Glycol, which is actually an antifreeze. A little bit has been deemed ok, but it makes me nervous. I recognized the ingredient because in my line of work we use Glycol in water treatment. I spoke with our H2O specialist and he told me that Propylene Glycol is also what makes your toothpase creamy and it's what keeps your Winco/Costco muffins moist. Kinda scary!

    Also want to add my husband quit caffeine all together a month ago (brave soul!) and especially Dew because of the brominated vegetable oil. I just asked, he says his memory has gotten better, too.

    ReplyDelete
  47. I got a Sodastream and make my own syrups and enhanced sparkling water. I have a couple of the all natural sodamixes (orange pineapple and ginger ale.) I eliminated sugar completely a little over a year ago, as well as artificial sweeteners, even the natural ones. It was brutal. I eventually added in "real" sugar, as in at least cane sugar, in limited amounts and find a small amount satisfies cravings. Best of all, I feel great and lost over 100 pounds (and counting!)

    ReplyDelete
  48. My family got a Soda Stream for Christmas this year, and we love it. We don't flavor the water, however, and one pump is more than enough for us. Sometimes I'll add in a little shot of orange juice or cranberry, but I usually give a squeeze of lemon or lime in there and I'm good to go. I'd encourage you to continue experimenting with flavoring water, there are a bunch of cool ideas all over the internet but in the ink below are some I really like.

    http://www.theyummylife.com/Flavored_Water

    ReplyDelete
  49. I have Gatorade in my fridge, from my recent bout of the flu. I think I'm going to feel guilt free when I pour it out. Eesh...

    ReplyDelete
  50. Propell powders are good also. I cant drink any thing with aspartame, so that cuts out crystal lite and most everything else. Also berry pomagrante mio tastes like melted grape popcicle. Yum

    ReplyDelete
  51. I've been using Mio in my water for about two years now and I LOVE it! I don't always like to drink plain water, but I hated how difficult it was to get Crystal Light to blend in completely. I am trying to cut out soda completely (not an addict, but I do love Diet Mt Dew) and I think Mio is a fantastic substitute. :) Good for John for making the best decision for him, even if it isn't the easiest! :)

    ReplyDelete
  52. I recommend a Zero water filter pitcher. I'm not much of a water fan, and when I dropped the soda habit, I drank a lot of Crystal Light to cover the taste of the water from the tap.

    We got a Zero pitcher on the recommendation of my mom who wouldn't touch water unless it was purified and bottled. It is an INCREDIBLE difference. Even my sceptical husband is sold. We both drink MUCH more water and avoid all the chemicals from sodas, flavors, etc. And for the record, no, I don't work for Zero :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I love my Zero water filter! So much easier than buying and lugging water!

      Delete
  53. I also ad Mio to the Sodastream water. I just started doing this a few weeks ago and it has helped me with my diet soda cravings!

    ReplyDelete
  54. We have a Sodastream, and yeah, the syrups, whether diet, regular, or "natural" aren't the greatest. I've started drinking just the plain seltzer water when I want something fizzy. I also sometimes use the SweetDrops flavored stevia drops (don't know if they're local to you or not) or the Torani syrups (their sugar-free line uses Splenda)--I love their tangerine (full-sugar).

    ReplyDelete
  55. My fellow and I love Mio. We've tried just about all the flavors and I've branched out to off brand (Walmart, Safeway, etc) types and other ones like Dasani. My absolute favorite is the pineapple-coconut Dasani makes. Walmart has a raspberry lemonade that is top notch, too. I definitely find my water intake goes up exponentially when I've got a bit of Mio/other in my glass, but I find I'm about 50/50 on plain water and Mio water. Water is so bland, sometimes. That's why I originally turned to soda. It had flavor and tasted good and was awesome. Then I switched to diet, and then after hearing about the study that says people who drink diet soda are more likely to develop diabetes than those who drink regular soda (in moderation - not those folks that drink a 2 liter a day), so I tried to go cold turkey. I still have a diet something or other now and again, but I definitely need my water, and Mio makes it easier to hit my goals.

    Plus having a Bobble water bottle makes fresh tasting water on-the-go sooo much easier.

    ReplyDelete
  56. I've always heard that the stuff they put in "diet" drinks is worse for a person than all the sugar in the regular ones, so I've never had those, but I (mostly) cut out caffeine (mostly coca cola) about a year ago. If I'm feeling particularly sluggish and can't afford to be, I'll have a coke, or if I'm invited to a friend's for tea, I'll have a cup, but otherwise, I don't do it.

    I went through a period of about a year where I would feel faint regularly, and the fastest remedy I found was to eat something salty. I researched that and a few other symptoms I was experiencing, and came up with adrenal dysfunction. I'm pretty sure that's my issue, (or one of them, anyway) and since I don't have health insurance, I decided to see if cutting out caffeine--like several sites advised--would help. It was hard, and I did it slowly, but the lightheadedness and the aches I'd been waking up with each morning, (I'm in my late twenties; it shouldn't be THAT bad yet) dissipated relatively quickly.

    Caffeine's the most commonly abused drug in the world. We should all be careful of it. Congratulations to John. It's not an easy habit to break.

    ReplyDelete
  57. Thanks for the update, Jen. I had been wondering how John was doing.

    I can definitely sympathize with John's constant cravings (go, k.d. lang!) for soda. Thankfully, I never had a Mountain Dew addiction and have never even tried the stuff, but I used to drink Coke at every meal when I was in my late teens and early 20s. After I gained 40 pounds in about four years, I decided that enough was enough, and I started to drink more water and less soda. It was always a struggle to choose water over Coke, but most of the weight came back off quickly once I forced myself to do it. I have tried several times since then (I'm 37 now) to give up Coke completely, but it's just so. damn. hard. I think the longest I've ever gone without it is 6 weeks. I have plenty of self-discipline in other areas of my life and have managed to give up many of my favorite foods that I knew were bad for me, and I can deny my cravings for those completely, but Coke continues to be my weakness.

    Here's what I've been doing lately:

    I live in South Florida and many stores here now have Mexican Coca-Cola in glass bottles. Maybe lots of stores everywhere have it now, but I don't do much traveling, so I'm not sure. The Mexican Coke tastes incredible because it's made with sugar, not corn syrup. As far as I know, the other ingredients are the same as the U.S.-made Coke. The glass bottles are only 12 oz., which helps considerably since most of the plastic bottles here are 16 or 20 oz.

    Drinking Coke out of a cold glass bottle instead of a chemical-laden plastic bottle or a metallic can just feels and tastes so much cleaner and better. It's seems like such a treat to have one of those Mexican Cokes that I can usually limit myself to one or two a week. While I'm drinking it, I try to concentrate on the pleasure of the whole experience and to really savor every sip, and on the days that I drink one, I try not to consume anything else with added sugar. I also never buy more than one Coke at a time because I know that I if I have it in my fridge, I'll drink it. So, the Mexican Cokes plus a hefty amount of willpower keep me down to 24 ozs. or less of soda a week. That can't be TOO bad for me since the rest of the time, I drink plain water.

    (Please stay tuned for part 2 of my novel-length comment.)

    KW

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Storm the KlingonMarch 9, 2013 at 5:01 AM

      You really are awesome, KW; MEXICAN COKE IN GLASS BOTTLES FRICKIN' ROOOOOOCKS! I hadn't had a proper rum and Coke in YEARS until recently; the good times came flooding back over my mind as soon as it hit my tongue. I only do one a week, on Saturday nights. Otherwise, I'm off soda completely; it's water or Grapple juice for me. HFCS is yuckalicious.

      Your Pal,

      Storm

      Delete
  58. Part 2:

    Something I wanted to warn you guys about (and maybe other people mentioned this when you did the last Mountain Dew post) is that John's symptoms (cognitive issues/memory problems) could be related to a vitamin D deficiency. If you haven't already been tested, both of you should have it done. Ask for the "25-Hydroxy" test. I have the same kind of lifestyle you guys do because my husband is a professional musician, so we're up all night, late-sleepers, and almost always indoors, and we definitely don't get enough sunshine (which people need to make vitamin D).

    I've been seeing quite a few articles online lately about the "epidemic" of vitamin D deficiency and how bad that can be for one's overall health, so I decided to have mine tested. Just got the results back today, and I'm at 8.4 ng/ml which, according to everything I've read, is pretty darn low and probably means that my husband's levels are also too low since we eat all the same foods and spend the same amount of time indoors. The good news is that it shouldn't be too hard to bring us up to healthy levels through D3 supplements, but the bad news is that we're vegans and 99.9% of D3 supplements (more potent, effective, and beneficial than D2) contain animal products. I just found a supplement called Vitashine online, a vegan vitamin D3 made from lichen, but the dosages are way, way lower than what I need to bring my D-levels up to where they should be. If any vegans and/or health care workers happen to read this, I'd be happy for advice.

    Anyway, Jen, I'm definitely not an expert, but please have John's and your vitamin D levels checked. Even if you already take a supplement, it might not be enough because some people have more trouble processing it than others. I've read some articles by people who claim that taking vitamin D supplements almost immediately alleviated that "fuzzy-headed" feeling" like not being able to find the right words or remember things.

    All the best to both of you, and a big congrats to John for not falling off the wagon. Wooo-hooo! Way to slay that Mountain Dew dragon!

    KW

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Storm the KlingonMarch 9, 2013 at 5:06 AM

      Don't stop ROCKIN'; my Vulcan is a vegan, and he's been having memory problems lately, which is NOT good if you're The Company IT Guy and you must remain On It At ALL Times, or have an easily-irritated Klingon for a wife. I was already gonna get on him to take a multi-vitamin, and now I have a reason. RESULT!

      Your Pal,

      Storm

      Delete
  59. One thing I find really thirst quenching and not too "watery" is just carbonated mineral waters...you do need to make sure you aren't getting too much sodium but it's a nice way to have a bit of bubbly....most of them are artificially carbonated, so they have pretty "big" bubbles, I just pour it into a pina colada glass and that takes the edge off.

    ReplyDelete
  60. Huzzah for John! Just a note of caution, Splenda isn't all that great for you either. (read: really bad) But each step he takes towards healthier foods is something to celebrate!

    ReplyDelete
  61. John should research adding Coconut Oil to his diet. I've never been a soda drinker but I was noticing my memory decreasing to the point where I would be holding an object, such as a spoon, and wouldn't be able to think of the name or would loose my train of thought in the middle of a sentence. Google search "benefits of coconut oil". I would recommend reading the research of Dr. Mary Newport, http://www.coconutketones.com. After a couple of weeks using it daily in a morning smoothie I began seeing vast improvement. Now a few months later I'm no longer having memory issues or loosing my train of thought.

    ReplyDelete
  62. Hi guys! It has been almost a year that I stopped drinking soda of any kind. It was really hard because I had had a very strong soda habit for over ten years. I miss the caffeine mostly but make due with ice tea for the most part. My plan was to go for six months and than see if I was doing okay and go longer. Like I said, it has almost been a year and I am still very happy with not drinking soda. I think I might try for a year and six months and see how that goes.

    ReplyDelete
  63. I've had a sodastream for years (they've been around since the 1970s in NZ), and I totally agree about the flavours being horrible. But you can actually use any kind of flavouring you like - you can make up your own sugar and water syrup and add flavours, or I often skip the sugar entirely and just squeeze a lemon into the soda water for a really refreshing drink.

    ReplyDelete
  64. I've found that the flavored liquid SweetLeaf Stevias are great for "tarting up" water. There's lemon, orange, grape, vanilla... my favorite, though, is the English Toffee. It's AWESOME in water!
    And, it's Stevia - not sucralose or evil aspartame. So, it's a total win in my book. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  65. I gave up caffeine about 20 years ago when I started getting an ulcer in college. I used to drink 3-4 Dr Peppers or Dew a day, even right before bed, with no issues. Strangely quitting wasn't hard for me. But now if I drink any caffeine I get the shakes like crazy. I drink a lot of water, but I do use Splenda in my (decaf) coffee and tea, and I use Mio too. I do think there is some truth to the idea that artificial sweeteners cause weight gain, but I haven't been able to give it up yet.

    If you're looking for ways to flavor water, you might check out the Define Bottle. http://www.facebook.com/definebottle/info It's not out yet, but it is a portable bottle for making fruit infused water. It was actually invented by a 14-year old kid, which is pretty cool. I joined the kickstarter, and I'm just waiting for them to finish production. I'm curious to see how I like it.

    http://www.youngentrepreneur.com/startingup/start-ups/how-teen-inventor-went-from-sketch-to-prototype-in-6-months/

    Good luck to John!

    ReplyDelete
  66. Crystal Light makes excellent squirt-flavors as well; they have a pomegranate mocktail that's excellent. And Dasani makes a pink lemonade that I'm very fond of.

    I cut out all soda this past January as my new year's resolution. I drink mostly water now, and some Powerade at work. The occasional adult beverage or small soda on special occasions, but now that I'm officially off the caffeine - something I've been dependent on for well over 10 years - I feel a ton better. I sleep better too, and that's a big deal coming from someone with anxiety and a tendency to spend all night worrying over things and re-living old conversations.

    I'm glad for John that he's broken that habit!

    ReplyDelete
  67. Brominated vegetable oil? What the hell do you Yankies put in your food, if that's the kind of gunk you put in your beverages?

    ReplyDelete
  68. So glad John's body agrees with the changes :) I like keeping a lime in the fridge to put slices in my water (the yellower the sweeter).

    ReplyDelete
  69. Hi, Jen! I have been drinking 4-6 regular Coca-Colas (the real stuff, in the red can) per day for the past 40 years (my mother actually put it in my baby bottle). I am convinced that there is something addictive in it, because I am unable to cut them back to below four per day (I have tried many times and I am generally a person with strong willpower). It's not the caffeine (if that were the case, I could just drink coffee), and it's not the sugar or high fructose corn syrup (if that were the case, any beverage with those ingredients would do). I have no idea what it is. Luckily, I'm a healthy person within my healthy weight range and with optimal blood sugar insulin sensitivity (yes, I've checked). I would love to know what is in the secret formula.

    ReplyDelete
  70. Kudos to winning the battle with that craving, John! I would like to give a little shout out to one particular "natural" sweetener. I prefer to had straight for real sugar in my sweets, but if you can't tolerate the aspartames and splendas like me, and stevia tastes awful, try Whey Low. My mom had me try it - pretty OK.

    Also, another big shout out for diluted stuff in water. I.e. keep a jug/jar of your favorite organic fruit juice in the fridge and add 1/4 cup or less to plain or plain and cold water. As long as you don't slam the whole fruit juice sometimes (like I sometimes do) it is a good switch to more natural foods. I don't like carbonated waters, but my husband loves our Soda Stream and just splashes in fruit juice if he wants flavor.

    And if citrus is your thing, try just adding an orange slice to a glass of water. Festive, tasty, and probably free if you live in FL. :) Also, if you don't keep a lot of freshies in the house, oranges keep longer than some other fruits.

    And lastly, yeah, that Vitamin D thing - that girl is RIGHT. Get those levels tested. Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  71. Hi, I have a very "random" suggestion to make. Since moving to Asia I discovered this really yummy orange/lemon/honey marmalade line mixture that you actually mix with water to make a delicious drink!
    It comes from Korea, but it's very popular everywhere here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yujacha. If you are ever near an Asian supermarket, you might want to look for it! You can make it cold or warm, and it is meant to be full of vitamin C. :)

    ReplyDelete
  72. This is a silly, unscientific, illogical reaction to BVO. The real issue is SUGAR. Drink water. Unflavored. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-katz-md/brominated-vegetable-oil_b_2599535.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The problem is, someone at some time gave a person a drink to "taste", they liked it. So much in fact that now they have to continuously re-experience this taste. Called addiction my friend.

      Delete
  73. I was a Diet Coke addict (read 1 per day, no exceptions) and anyone who got between me and my one Diet Coke... well let's just say people have died for less (just kidding- sorta). I was getting such godawful heartburn and decided to give up caffeine cold turkey. That's right, no coffee, caffeinated tea, soda, nada and I feel soooooo much better. However I still have Diet Ginger Ale but have been looking for an alternative. I'd love to cut the whole attachment to Splenda out and am having trouble adjusting to Stevia, it just seems really bitter. I'm going to give Mio a try as well as the Dasani brand. I'd like to try Walmart but we have a definitive "no Walmart no Wal-anything" policy in our home. My niece works for their ad agency and traveled to the WalMart corporate headquarters frequently. She said they are the most ruthless, selfish, cult-like company she's ever encountered so she asked to be removed from the account.
    Thanks for the Mio recommendation and tell John he's not alone!!!

    ReplyDelete
  74. Stick to what you know because your knowledge of medicine and science are way off base. Please don't publish this kind of thing -- and crap about chiropractors and anxiety disorder (jeez louise) -- when you clearly are not a medical expert and don't base your "opinions" on scientific research. Just stop. Keep publishing crafts and steampunk and all that good stuff that I read this site for -- and stop publishing what you know nothing about.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, you're vicious. Jen has never claimed or even implied that she's a medical expert or a scientific researcher; she's just sharing her own experiences which is, I'm pretty sure, the whole point of maintaining a personal blog. If you only like the steampunk and craft posts, then just read those and ignore the rest.

      Personally, my favorite posts are the ones, like this one, where she shares stories about herself and John. Since many readers of this blog (including myself) battle anxiety disorders, love our chiropractors, and are inextricably addicted to soda, we greatly appreciate reading about other people's viewpoints and experiences in these areas.

      I think everyone who reads this blog is intelligent enough to do her/his own research and determine what the best course of action is for her/himself.

      Jen, keep writing and publishing your personal stories. I know, just by the number of comments on the personal stuff, that I am not alone in my enjoyment of them.

      Sorry, I didn't mean to feed the troll. I just felt compelled to show my displeasure and to offer some support.

      KW

      Delete
    2. This is Jen's personal blog and she can write whatever SHE wants. I agree with Anonymous (KW), if you read carefully, Jen has never implied she's a medical expert. She writes from PERSONAL experience. Since when do opinions have to based on scientic research? They're opinions! We base them on whatever we want!

      If something is not my cup of tea on a blog, I skip it, (hardly ever happens here!) I don't write rude comments, berating the blogger.

      Jen - you keep on writing what you want!

      Delete
    3. she can "publish" whatever she chooses - it's her personal blog and thus her platform to voice her opinions, talk about her life, etc. i for one enjoy ALL the things jen posts on epbot. posts like these add a personal touch and humanise the people behind cake wrecks who otherwise could seem a bit mystical. john's hardly the first (or last) person to drink lots of soda, diet or otherwise, for example.

      also, nowhere in any of these health-related posts have i ever seen jen saying any of this is fact or to skip going to a doctor, etc. using your example of chiropractors as an example, she simply said it helped her, not that everyone with anxiety issues can throw out their pills and fire their psychologist. she didn't even pinky swear it would help everyone.

      i love these personal stories. i hope jen keeps posting them and that mean-spirited, bullying comments like these don't discourage her from sharing them. i've never been addicted to soda, but as someone who cannot drink soda anymore, i can appreciate the sentiment behind the story and do also love reading how others have replaced it in their diets.

      for me, medication i'm on for migraines causes all soda to taste really weird. it all tastes flat and just...not like it's supposed to. i didn't drink a lot of soda before anyway, but to not be able to drink it at all anymore is a bummer. from time to time, i do miss the odd coke, orange soda, or something.

      anyway, please don't stop sharing, jen. 99.99999999999% of the readers appreciate these stories.

      Delete
    4. Wow. You couldn't even be critical and be proud of it. You had post under Anonymous. You must be a really unpleasant and cowardly person to come on someone's PERSONAL blog and moan about it. If you had posted your opinion and owned it with your name I would have respected it.

      Telling her to stick to crafts and steampunk and basically shut up is like telling her to take her shoes off and get in the baby making position.

      Delete
    5. Dear Anon. What you are engaging in is called shaming. You're shaming Jen about being human and opening up about her anxieties because for whatever reason, you don't like them. So I'm going to indulge in a bit too.

      Don't comment on other people's blog as an Anon Troll and blab about stuff you're not brave enough to admit yourself.

      To Jenn, well.. You already know what everyone else is saying. I'm just adding ditto.

      Delete
    6. Wow, hate much? For people like me who have an anxiety disorder hearing about how Jen has struggled to manage it is amazing. And seriously, you have to be Anon? You can't even face her as you bully her? In the psych world there is such a thing as a support group, Jen just happens to have created a huge virtual support group.

      Thanks Jen for writing about what matters to you and doing what you do.

      Delete
    7. Storm the KlingonMarch 11, 2013 at 4:35 AM

      Wow, I really do love it the way that cowards always come for people anonymously. There are a shit-ton of blogs and sites that are specifically about crafting and such; why don't you do us all a favour and troll one of them? This is a *personal blog*, you fish-faced enemy of the people, and she can do as she pleases.

      Bugger off,

      Storm

      Delete
    8. There can be only two good things about Anonymous' trolling post above: 1. at least she said "please" and 2. it's been over two years now since her hateful post so maybe she's moved on and learned how to craft steam punk pot holders.
      I'm very glad she accepted Storm's invitation to bugger off.
      I came here not because I think Jenn is a replacement to my MD but more often than not your friends/neighbors/internet strangers with similar stories know more about your situation than your doc. You hit the nail on the head for me so thank you Jenn!

      Delete
  75. I've tried several times to quit drinking Coke and I always fail, so I sympathize with John and think it is really great that he's avoided soda all this time! Bravo!

    Food additives in this country and what they can do to your health are SCARY, especially when you find out that many things in our food have been banned in other countries and companies have created healthier versions of their products, but don't sell them here because they don't have to. A great food blog that talks about this is 100 Days of Real Food. They started a petition on Change.org to ask Kraft to take artifical food dyes out of their macaroni & cheese, they have tons of "real food" recipes and shopping lists and they have a lot of investigative posts about the questionable ingredients in our processed, pre-packaged food. It's definitely an eye-opener to read.

    http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/

    ReplyDelete
  76. I'm glad to hear John is doing better! I have been a caffeine addict for years with a serious Coke (the drink, silly) habit. I recently kicked the sugary stuff too. While I still crave it and give in every now and then and have one, I've found I feel much better when I don't drink it. I love water, so I swapped Coke out for water with a little lemon juice. It's amazingly refreshing, and after swapping that one thing it's become easier to make other, better changes in my diet (like limiting bread intake, making sandwiches in lettuce or having my sandwich as a salad). I wish him the best of luck in continuing this quest, Level Up for making it this far! :-)
    Nikki T

    ReplyDelete
  77. Hate to be a party pooper, but I'm afraid artificial sweeteners aren't much good, either. Here in groovy northern California, we have these 'Zevia' drinks...sweetened with stevia, so much better for you on all accounts! That said, very well done John! Very impressive!

    ReplyDelete
  78. I love my SodaStream - but I just put in like 1 oz juice or I make my own fun concentrates from garden herbs or berries (like raspberry lavender, or thyme orange). I had no idea of these soda issues. Interesting, glad there's a noticed difference!

    ReplyDelete
  79. Thanks for the update, and glad to see that John's willpower is so strong! Breaking an addiction like that is difficult.

    I gave up both soda and caffeinated drinks a few years ago. I was placed on intense antibiotics and corticosteroids for an infection and wound up jittery, panicky, and hearing my heartbeat in my ears. Something was very, very, wrong. I decided that caffeine was probably a big part of it, so decided to go cold turkey. It's not at all easy, and I did end up letting myself have one cup of black coffee in the morning as a compromise. As part of the purge, I also stopped using artificial sweeteners. Aspartame had been banned in my house since I was little (some research suggests it can impact joints negatively, and both my parents have severe knee issues), and looking into how Sucralose is made squicked me out a bit. Stevia's fine, but I try to use it in small doses only.

    Thankfully, there are some great alternatives to sugar- or sweetener-laden soda out there. Publix's brand of seltzer (especially the lemon-lime one) is fantastic, especially when they're having a buy one/get one sale. And for something a bit more portable, LaCroix makes excellent sparkling water in a bunch of flavors (the coconut is amazing) that are available as 12-packs of cans. I haven't tried a SodaStream yet, but after the comments here, I likely will. It's amazing how much my health has improved.

    @KW: I went vegan for awhile a few years ago, and the website VeganEssentials was practically my first stop for grocery shopping. Everything they sell is vegan, and they offer at least three different D3 supplements, as well as some D2 supplements. They might be worth a look.

    ReplyDelete
  80. Faith.TheBlonde.March 9, 2013 at 3:56 PM

    I had a massive addiction to Pepsi for *years*. Last spring I started to ween myself off of it because I was retaining water like crazy and it was making me feel all blech. I now drink sweet tea with lots of ice (I need the flavoring, but am weening myself off of that as well). A bonus was that I lost almost 30 pounds in water weight!

    ReplyDelete
  81. We stay away from anything with artificial sugars or colors in it-- no more kool-aid or gatorades or anything like that. I grew up on kool-aid, but they've changed it since the 70's and the new versions of Kool-aid make my kids go nuts. Seriously, I can give a small cup of cherry-flavor kool-aid to my son and he goes bonkers. There's a dye-free kool-aid available, but a gallon still used 2 cups of sugar! We stick to home-brewed iced tea, which we make by the gallon everyday. One gallon of tea with only a cup of sugar, sometimes honey if I have it on hand, and it's perfect for us. When I can get limes cheap, I buy lots of them and the juice of 5 limes mixed with 1 cup of sugar makes a gallon of lime-ade. I juice all the limes (5 at a time) and freeze them with the sugar in separate containers in my freezer so whenever I want to make some, I just grab a container and add enough water to make a gallon.

    We also have wild grapes that grow on our land (we live in the mountains in WV), and I pick them and juice them and add a little but of sugar or honey and make wild grape juice. Oh man!! So much better than the store-bought grape juice!!

    We do drink coke and always keep ginger ale on hand, but we limit how much soda we drink. Never more than one a day, IF we drink any at all that day. I do plan to phase out the coke, just haven't done so yet. My focus was on artifical colors because of the way my kids reacted to it-- so no funky colors in any of our food or drinks!

    ReplyDelete
  82. I'm still battling with my soda addiction. Mine is Pepsi. I've kicked it before, and felt better, for up to six months, but then I fade back into it. I had an easier time quitting smoking than I am Pepsi. My teeth have paid for it.

    My reaction to a soda overload was swollen ankles that made me look like I had hypertension or a late stage pregnancy. Not even water pills could keep my ankles from swelling almost all day. When I kicked Pepsi the first time for six months, my ankles drained within the first week. When I started drinking Pepsi again, the swelling came back until I kicked it once more. I think it was the carbonation more than the caffeine, for what it's worth.

    That was temporary, but now I limit myself to two cans of soda a day, working on dropping that to one, then cold turkey. I make sure to drink lots of water based drinks like tea, or juices. All these comments about herbs in water and soda streams excites me because I've been digging a garden for the summer including a lot of herbs, including chocolate mint.

    Congratulations to John. Fighting those cravings take a LOT of will power. Just because our soda addictions are socially acceptable doesn't make them as hard to fight as other drugs.

    ReplyDelete
  83. I'm very glad John is doing better and has resisted the Dew addiction. Be somewhat cautious with the Mio, though, please. One of the top few ingredients (last time I checked it) is propylene glycol, also known as one of the main ingredients in anti-freeze. (Antifreeze poisoning apparently happens from time to time with kids or dogs because of its sweet taste.) That may be why the expiration dates are so extreme. In small doses it may not be an issue, but this should probably be another place where moderation is key.

    An earlier commenter's point about vitamin D may have merit, too. Perhaps you could try having a 10-minute sit out in the sun an hour or so before sunset from time to time? That would seem to successfully limit the chances of sunburn, even for Floridians. :-)

    At any rate, I'm glad you & he are doing better, and hope you find the best combination of techniques to manage your health!

    ReplyDelete
  84. I love Mio, and when I need some caffeine, I go for the Mio Black Cherry. (John may be a citrus freak, I'm a cherry freak!)

    It takes a little while to get used to the sucralose aftertaste, but once you get over that, you don't notice it so much anymore. I also find that putting Mio into carbonated water replaces that "soda" feeling. If John needs an orange soda, make it with carbonated water!

    Mio also has some electrolyte (like gatorade) types, so those also might be worth checking out.

    As for Cokes? Throwback Pepsi and Mexican Cokes are easy to find in Arizona. I'm not sure about elsewhere. There is a big movement heading back to sugar sodas instead of corn syrup. Which is interesting, but I'm personally trying to lay off sodas.

    ReplyDelete
  85. This next bit is COMPLETEL?Y observational and in no way indicates scientific research.

    I have struggled with depression for as far back as I can remember. I'm a lot better now, and there are *many* things that I've done to combat it, including therapy. But after reading that aspartame *might* cause depression, I figured that hey, I'd cut it out and see how I felt. At the time I was drinking diet sodas and I switched back to regular.

    Fast forward several months. Things had improved a great deal, but I was back in a slump. (That is an understatement. I just don't want to be triggering for anyone.) And as I was sitting on the couch, feeling like garbage, I tried to pinpoint what had changed recently that brought me down. Life hadn't changed so it was quite puzzling.

    And then I realized I had a diet coke in my hands. I'd started drinking them again about a week earlier because I was out of regular soda. *Facepalm* Immediately I cut the diet sodas back out and saw a significant improvement in my mood.

    Later on there was a second incident where I had to track down what was triggering me, and realized that the chewing gum I'd started nomming on had aspartame in it. (Btw, I've been unable to find a minty gum in a local supermarket that doesn't use aspartame. Even if they use sugar too, they also use aspartame. It's weird.) Basically, in my body, aspartame appears to trigger depressive episodes. My family also has a history of depression, so that may also be a factor in how my brain deals with aspartame.

    Either way, I stay away from the stuff now and things have been much, much better without it! Not perfect and not completely depression-free, but the episodes are fewer and generally a lot milder.

    ReplyDelete
  86. In Australia, products to flavour your water has been a part of our lives for decades. We call it cordial, and it comes in a bajillion flavours, and even more brands. Pretty much every pantry has at least one 2 litre bottle of it. We also have a product called Pepsi 'Next' which is just Pepsi with Stevia. Diehard Pepsi drinkers won't touch it but I love it.

    Here is a link to a news article about Mio from an Aussie newspaper. It's not recent, but it's pretty funny from an Australian's point of view. I really hope it doesn't offend any Americans.

    http://blogs.theaustralian.news.com.au/thesell/index.php/theaustralian/comments/hey_kraft_your_water_enhancer_we_call_it_cordial

    ReplyDelete
  87. I'm incredibly impressed by (and really jealous of) John's willpower and determination to give up the Mountain Dew. I don't have a Dew addiction, for some reason it doesn't seem as big up here in Canada probably because Canadian Mountain Dew has no caffeine, but I've heard its a really big problem in some states? Linked to childhood obesity and there is something that can increase the affects of ADHD in children?

    Anyway... I ramble. So no Mountain Dew issues here. But Pepsi? Lets just say that I have a bit of a problem. I managed to give it up over the summer last year, and went almost 6 months with no carbonated drinks of any kind. I was down to water and the occasional iced tea at restaurants. Then Christmas happened. And I had a drink at a party that used pop as a mix. Now I'm right back on the Pepsi bandwagon. Which really sucks. I had lost about 15 lbs and that came right back, not to mention the money I'm now spending on pop. (a 600ml bottle of pepsi is $2.25 if I buy it from the store closest to where I work and I buy a bottle a day at least so it adds up) Not to mention all the sugar seems to make me really groggy and dragged out feeling during the day at work unless I constantly keep pumping more sugar, in the form of pepsi of course, back into me. Its a bit of a vicious cycle really. And don't get my started on the fact that after months of no kidney stones they seem to be back...

    Okay. when I start spelling it all out like this I feel like a moron. I know the Pepsi is bad, I know that drinking it leads to me feeling awful, but I JUST CAN'T STOP! Except I can, I've done it before. Its just really hard. And I'll be sitting here thinking about how I need to not drink anymore pop, and at the same time just thinking about it is making me crave it.

    Do I sound like a crazy person? I swear I'm not.

    Point being. I'm impressed with John! Congrats to him! And hopefully I will have the same success (and permanently this time!) He's pretty much inspired me to give this another go! So continue with the good work and wish me luck! :D

    ReplyDelete
  88. Jen, I have a SodaStream, because, while I HATE their soda flavorings, I love carbonated water. It's one of my bigger cravings. And you can easily make your own sodas just by adding either the Mio water flavorings or even juice - I like grapefruit juice. Or you could just drop some lemon, lime, or orange slices down into it. Yummy!

    And good for John! When I was diagnosed with diabetes a little over 6 years ago, I thought Pepsi would be the hardest thing of all to give up. I gave myself permission to cut it out slowly, but within a week or two, I'd given it up completely. Unfortunately, I'm not a Diet Pepsi addict, but I do try to temper it with the SodaStream.

    Best of luck to you both!

    ReplyDelete
  89. I have been a pop addict for as long as I remember. I never had any negative side effects that I can think of, but I knew that my habit was no good for me. I switch to diet pops only in high school and for a while I was drinking four or five cans a day...If we had it in the house that was my drink of choice. Last Thanksgiving weekend literally all I drank was pop. I knew it wasn't healthy so my new year's resolution was to give it up cold turkey. It's been almost 3 full months and I haven't had any pop! I've had the occasional sugar free energy drink (not technically pop!) and one sparkling water beverage that ended up tasting suspiciously like pop, but aside from that I'm clean. I'd like to one day be able to re-introduce the occasional diet pop to my diet, like at restaurants, but I'm not counting on it. I've survived mostly on tea and water add ins, like mio. I was really hoping on losing weight, but I didn't drop a pound in relation to cutting out pop.

    On a side note, there's a certain ingredient in pops like Pepsi Max and Dr. Pepper 10 that we believe my dad is mildly allergic to. I can't remember the name of it off the top of my head, but whenever he drank one of these he would have an asthma attack almost immediately. He has since given up pop as well, so it's a non issue.

    ReplyDelete
  90. That's great that dropping Mountain Dew had such a positive effect!

    To add my 2 cents:
    If he's already off caffienated soda why introduce it back with Coke? I have no science to back this up but I wouldn't be surprised if caffiene itself contributed to the memory loss by essentially overclocking the brain. It's easier to think when you're calm, and a caffienated brain is not a calm brain. From your description I actually feel like John and I might have a similar problem when it comes to words. Sometimes I can use nice big words that sound really impressive, while other times I can't come up with a word like cartridge when I'm talking about a printer being out of ink. I feel like there are a lot of contributing factors. One of those factors I believe is the constant need to multi-task, which tends to split your brain in two and is actually quite bad for you. I think you touched on another factor too, which is confidence. When I forget a word my brain freaks out and goes into full blown panic mode because if I can't think of the word I'll look stupid. It's that whole "turn the house over looking for something that's right under your nose the whole time" thing... except in my brain. Maybe it's different though, I don't know John's situation that well.

    Also, the sodastream? You can do so much more with it then just the options they give you. I worked with a guy who talked about how good it was for mixing alcoholic drinks.

    ReplyDelete
  91. Kudos to john for finding such a good solution that allows him to reclaim his mind from the 'dew. I know how hard that can be, even when you know it's for the best.

    As an additional option, from someone who also dislikes the taste of plain water: if john hasn't looked into Izze sodas (technically, the company calls them "sparking juices"), he might give them a shot. The ingredients label says x-y-z fruit juice, soda water, nothing else--so fructose from std fruit but no cane sugar or aspartame or HFC--and they're waayyy tastier than they have any right to be. I'm a particular fan of the blackberry and pomegranate flavors, but i know they have several others like lime and grapefruit and nectarine. Used to be i could only find them in more granola places like whole foods, but they're becoming more common and turning up in other places as well.

    ReplyDelete
  92. Yikes! I've been a Mt. Dew addict since high school--I used to go through about six cans and a couple caffeine pills every day. Not good. I'm down to just one can a day now, and hearing about the BVO, maybe I'll try switching to Coke or something. I've tried quitting cold turkey, and man, that's rough. Shakes, chills, naseau, body aches, memory loss, headaches, the works. Good on him for managing it!

    ReplyDelete
  93. I'm not sure if anyone has referenced this article yet or not, but I think it's a particularly good one. We're concerning ourselves over something that is 0.000008% of our beverages, when the amount of sugar and sodium is comparatively "off the charts." We should be focusing on limiting the intake of soda period, not just focusing on one ingredient. Don't miss the forest for the trees.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-katz-md/brominated-vegetable-oil_b_2599535.html

    ReplyDelete
  94. I've more or less cut soda out entirely, except for small-batch brands with ingredients lists that I can read. I still only average maybe... 1-2 sodas a month? I've always been a big water drinker.
    Nuun is a really nice water enhancer, and it's sweetened with stevia extract. Not sure if you guys have tried it. I like it much, much better than Mio (fake sugar freaks me out in a BIG way). It's got electrolytes and vitamins in it, too! Woo! http://www.nuun.com

    ReplyDelete
  95. I don't drink soda (I also don't drink enough water, but that is something I'm working on). I have a few cans/bottles of sugar-sweetened soda in the house for upset tummies. For increasing water intake, I'm working on having a pitcher of water flavored with either herbal tea, or a little bit of fruit, or "cordial" that I found at Ikea. I can taste artificial sweeteners from a mile away, ick, but am considering buying a stevia plant to use from time to time. I have found aspartame to be very addicting for me (there was a period in my teens where I used a lot of it, and I kept finding myself using more and more) The problem is that we have SO MANY artificial things in our food these days...dyes in everything (even painkiller tablets..WHY?) . So it all builds up, and interacts. That, to me, is one of the frustrating things about shopping... but I am sharing this post!

    ReplyDelete
  96. Jen, I just tried your and John's orange-tangerine-lemonade combo and it is FANTASTIC! It tastes even better than what McDonald's serves, which is awesome because I've been disappointed in their orange HiC for some time now. I started using MiO to save money on energy drinks at work: $3 for 1 can of Monster versus $4 for tons of glasses worth? Yes, please!

    If you two come up with any more concoctions, please let us Epboteers know!

    ReplyDelete
  97. So, I don't remember if I ever responded to the original post about John's memory issues. I am not being flip there, either. I have had a life-long caffeine addiction. About three years ago, in an effort to be "healthier", I cut regular soda pop out of my life. Instead, I started drinking diet. Great. Less sugar. Then I started forgetting things. It was little at first, but it ballooned out of control. At one point, I scheduled six different things on one Saturday night, each time pausing to reflect whether or not I had plans that night, each time deciding nothing was happening. That's when I realized something was really wrong. I am under forty and was being forced to put everything down on paper or in an electronic calendar. That was also about the time that you posted the story about John and Mountain Dew. I was shocked and a little scared. I did some further research and decided to cut anything containing aspartame out of my diet. It's not easy. Most commercial diet colas have the artificial sweetener. I went cold turkey. It was tough, and I started drinking a lot of home brewed tea and water mix-in things. It seems to be working, though. I still have some memory holes, but my brain is feeling less like Swiss cheese and I haven't massively over-scheduled again.

    ReplyDelete
  98. I'm glad to hear that John is doing so well!

    If you guys have any questions about Splenda or sucralose, my aunt headed the research team that developed it. I can pass them along to her.

    ReplyDelete
  99. I gave up my Diet Mt Dew Code Red addiction a few weeks ago - was hard, never thought I would be craving pop so bad, felt like a pop-alcoholic!! But after a few days it wasn't as bad as I thought! I haven't completely given up all caffeine, I will still have a coffee drink a few times a week, but I haven't had any mt dew at all (even though my husband still has cases of diet mt dew around, I've been able to stay away from it). I had almost kicked the habit about 8 years ago, whenever they switched the sweetener in DMD (when the cans all said "Tuned up Taste" - I thought it tasted horrible!)

    Anyway - good luck to John, I do feel like I feel better not drinking so much pop, I was drinking 3-4 cans/day I think. No more late afternoon crashes going on around here!!

    ReplyDelete
  100. So I just browsed a few of the comments... I will not be reading the rest. yikes. Good on you for reading them all.

    Anyway. Hopefully nobody beat me to the punch.

    One more suggestion for the soda stream - my husband bought one in order to curb his diet coke habit, which had turned into a perrier habit. Quite a bit easier on the wallet! BUT, what I came here to say was that I also use his soda stream AND THEN ADD MIO!

    So maybe you all want to give it a try? Btw, you can get a recharge on the soda stream soda-er at Staples, of all places. Probably other office supply-type stores too. Easy-peasy.

    Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  101. I'm glad to hear there's an improvement and glad, also, there's a nationwide reduction in drinking soda. I'm sorry John still gets the craving for Mnt Dew. The people I know who love it aren't gamers, they're in take middle age and they crave the stuff. They sink bottle after bottle and it doesn't seem to quench any kind of thirst. It seems to make them even thirstier.

    Hubby more or less quit. A soda is an occasional treat and he usually doesn't finish the bottle. Two things helped him; plain sparking water, for the bubbles-in-the-mouth effect and beer. For a calorie switch, it's marginally lower and a good beer scores some nutrients. Water and beer, for those who are struggling. That and living with someone who doesn't drink the stuff at all.

    ReplyDelete
  102. I live in The Netherlands and BVO is banned in the EU so I have Mt Dew without it right in front of me.. it's n ot very green, but the taste is dead on!

    ReplyDelete

Please be respectful when commenting; dissenting opinions are great, but personal attacks or hateful remarks will be removed. Also, including a link? Then here's your html cheat sheet: <a href="LINK ADDRESS">YOUR TEXT</a>

Related Posts with Thumbnails