My Week Without Artificial Sweetener
I Love Fake Sugar
I am not going to lie, I love sweets. Give me cake, cookies, brownies, fudge, candy... I am a happy camper. Unfortunately, none of that is good for me, so I try to limit my intake. Since I am not supposed to have a lot of sugar, I only eat it when I have dessert. This means my sodas are sugar free. Yes, my sodas always have delicious, wonderful, calorie-free aspartame.
Lately, there has been a lot of buzz about the dangers of aspartame. My beloved calorie-free treat is being blamed for health issues like dizzy spells, seizures, and memory loss. Well, poo on those people! They are ruining my happy, aspartame filled life. I ignored the warnings for a while, but I will be honest, I don't remember anything anymore. The name of that guy from that movie I saw that day... I don't have a clue. I am blank.
So who knows? Maybe there really is something to this whole memory loss thing and aspartame? What do I know? Perhaps the sugar companies of the world are just making up these studies to make people convert back. Who knows? All I know is, I am willing to give up my beloved sweetener for a week to see if it makes a difference. You never know, maybe I might actually remember the name of my best friend from first grade again once my experiment ends.
For now, I am starting an exciting online diary of my artificial sweetener free existence. Won't you join me?
My first day without artificial sweetener began like any other. It is a Tuesday and I woke up today thinking my usual first thoughts, "Oh no, Tuesday... work... grrr... alarm... grrr." As you can tell, I am extremely articulate in the morning. Perhaps the aspartame has killed more brain cells than I thought.
I made myself a delicious smoothie and sweetened it with maple syrup. Mmmm... maple goodness. No aspartame for me! The rest of my morning went OK except I lacked caffeine. Since I can't have diet soda and can't have real soda because of all the calories, I decided I was basically beginning a caffeine free and soda free existence this week, too. Wow, that is a lot of healthiness.
3:15 P.M. - I snapped.
Alright, I don't know about any of you, but have you ever tried to get through an entire workday at an office job without caffeine? It is torture. Sheer torture. So back to just being artificial sweetener free, and let's have some caffeine.
I decided to make myself some hot tea. I sweetened it with sugar. Yes, gasp, sugar! Real sugar. The kind with calories that I never drink. The kind that does not have that amazing aspartame aftertaste I have grown to love so much. I did not allow myself a lot of sugar either. My tea was bland, but at least I was awake. I might make it through this challenge after all.
I've decided having a good memory is pretty much overrated. Who cares about a little memory loss when the only thing I can remember is the sweet, sweet taste of beautiful aspartame? If only some how, some way, my memory could erase how much I love aspartame.
This is a full battle. I am going to win this war. Even though I long for that wonderful aspartame aftertaste, I am going to make it through this. After all, I survived before aspartame and I will survive after it.
As a little memorial to my past, full of fun aspartame sweetening moments, I am posting a song I can't get out of my head now. But aspartame, I will learn how to live without you.
How Am I Supposed to Without You... Aspartame?
Just when you least expect an aspartame appearance...
Much to my dismay, I realized the mints I had been eating for the last couple of days actually have aspartame. I mean, technically I knew this all along, but they are small little mints I pretty much only eat once or twice a day. I did not give it any thought when I had a couple. So basically, the first two days of my journey were not 100% aspartame free, but instead, 99% aspartame free. Whatever. I don't care at this point. My head hurts and I would kill for a Diet Coke right now.
From this point on, I will no longer get to eat my delicious mints until this journey through artificial sweetener free hell is over. That means not only am I in a really nasty mood with a headache and a strong desire to drink a diet soda, now my breath stinks, too. Can this experiment be anymore fun? I think not. I will tell you what, when these 7 days are over, I might stop drinking anything with aspartame in it, but I REFUSE to give up my mints. Fresh smelling breath is extremely important and those mints are delicious.
It has been an extremely stressful week at work. Unfortunately, my lack of aspartame has not helped. Since I am not too fond of drinking actual sugar, I am also suffering from a major lack in caffeine. I've had headaches for the past 3 days, but it is hard to determine if the headaches are: A) due to a lack of artificial sweetener, B) due to a lack of caffeine, C) extreme stress, D) allergies, or E) all of the above. Something tells me it is all of the above.
What I do know is every single person I have come in contact with today has seriously gotten on my nerves. I've felt myself close to snapping more than once today and I am completely, utterly overjoyed that it is Friday night. I don't have to worry about work for the entire weekend. I can sit around and not drink or eat aspartame and have really bad breath the whole weekend. Well, I am hoping I can get by without the bad breath, but it is nice to know that is an option for me.
I just might survive this experiment / nightmare after all.
I no longer want to open bags of aspartame and pour them into my mouth. I feel like I am making progress. I am also no longer frustrated with everyone and everything, but of course, that could be just because it is Saturday and everything is better on Saturday.
I actually do have some energy today and I think things are getting better. Of course, I have not seen any major improvements in memory function or anything. It is too soon to tell as far as that goes. I would probably have to quit for a long time to see any real difference. I can't honestly see myself being able to give up diet sodas forever, but I know I can seriously cut back. For now, that is the goal after this experiment ends. A life without aspartame is perhaps a life not worth living; but cutting back on it is totally fine.
I am starting to think this experiment was a bad idea. I had hoped I would feel so much better about myself and my health at the end of this week. Instead, I am tired, grumpy, and still craving sweet drinks. I have even started drinking coffee or tea with real sugar in it again... A LOT. I doubt that is good for me either. Too much sugar is not a healthy choice, so what is worse?
Basically, I am just counting down the minutes until I can at least have my sugar-free mints again... especially since I seem to be coming down with a sinus infection. My breath needs some extra help! Don't worry, I will spare you the details.
I had hoped to at least get a really hilarious diary out of this situation. Instead, my hub is just one big whine-fest about how much I miss aspartame. At least this is almost over. Once I start something, I am going to finish it. Just one more day to go!
I have finally made it to the finish line. I have survived 7 days without artificial sweetener and I have not slapped anyone. I consider this a miracle. Now I sit, sucking on a cough drop (sweetened by real sugar, of course) and thinking about all I have learned.
What I have really learned is I love crap with lots of sweetener in it. If I can't have my calorie-free delight, aspartame, I will sweeten whatever I am drinking with real sugar. Real sugar has too many calories and I can't see that working out for me. I also know I must give up eating so much aspartame. I have to incorporate some type of balance in my diet.
A soda here and there is now the goal. No more chugging Diet Cokes andcoffeewith packets of artificial sweetener each day. Instead, a little aspartame here and there is all I am going to use. I will even allow myself real sugar every now and then. Gasp!
For now, my days of being aspartame free are about to end. I am really happy about that! Someone hand me my mints.
Copyright ©2013 Jeannieinabottle
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