Monday, October 1, 2012

Battling My Sugar Addiction

I’m a product of the Pepsi generation. I can still hear the lilting advertising jingle, “Pepsi, for those who think young.”

Ironically, I haven’t had a Pepsi for a month and I find my mind and body feels a lot more youthful now that I’m not riddling it with high fructose corn syrup, sugar, phosphoric acid, sodium and caffeine.

In fact, I’m going to write a story about sugar and the brain, but that’s not what this blog is about. The focus of this tale is about my addiction to Pepsi.

It has not been an easy battle. I not only enjoyed the taste of this, and other, soda pops, I have an emotional attachment as well. At one point I went to one of my clients, a naturopath, who hypnotized me to help me overcome my addiction. We started with a discussion where I listed the many reasons I drank Pepsi and then my reasons to quit. After listening to my laundry lists of pros and cons, my red-haired physician said he had never heard such a creative list of reasons for consuming a beverage.

I understand the reasons I should quit and I won’t belabor you with them (at least not in this article.) However, let it be said they were based on reason. My choice for drinking pop is emotional. And the roots burrow deep into my childhood.

When I was a young girl my dad worked in a saloon in Chicago. He saw the effects of alcohol on his customers, so he rarely drank liquor. But he loved soda pop. He quenched his thirst with Coca Cola and other carbonated beverages.

My father understood how satisfying it was to drink a bubbly treat and would occasionally indulge me and my siblings at ball games and other outings. But my mom did not approve of daily consumption of sugary beverages. She wanted us to have strong bones and teeth so we drank gallons of milk a week.

My father often worked the night shift and would return home late at night. I was a light sleeper and would wait until I would hear him come in. Seconds later I would hear the familiar psst sound of carbonation escaping from a freshly opened bottle of Pepsi or Coke. I would pad down the hall, climb onto his lap, chat with him about the day and bum sips of pop while mom and my brothers and sister slept.

In 1961 my family moved to Arizona. Unfortunately my dad could not find employment and was forced to return to his old job in Chicago. The rest of us remained in Arizona. Dad sent mom checks, but my late-evening pop-bumming days were gone.

Money was tight enough as it was, so we rarely asked for anything extra from our mother. Plus, she thought good teeth were more important than almost anything else, so treats were few and far between. But my addiction to Pepsi was acute. My brother, Terry and I would scour the alley near our home in search of empty pop bottles that we could turn in for the 2 cents a bottle deposit. When we collected enough bottles we bought a candy bar and soda pop.

However, we didn’t want to spend all of our precious days in search of booty, so bubbly soda pop remained an infrequent treat. And in defense of my mother, all five of her children have, to this day, strong bones and beautiful teeth.

When I was able to earn a living as a waitress, my love of drinking pop had no boundaries. Soda was free. After a couple of weeks I no longer wanted a Bob’s Big Boy hamburger, but my thirst for Coke, root beer and Seven Up showed no signs of diminishing.

I married right after high school. Big bottles of Pepsi became a family staple. I saw Pepsi packaging change from bottled six packs and large, glass, quart-sized containers to the big, plastic liters. Sometimes it was more practical to buy cans, but the glass bottles were always my favorite.

As I described my love of Pepsi to Dr. Potter, I regaled him with images of bubbly effervescence, tangy, sweet goodness and glorious sparkling caramel color. I reminisced about quenching my thirst at my brother, Dennis’ little league games, trips to the movies, and staking forbidden sips of pop while I sat with my daddy when he came home from a hard night’s work.

Somehow the promise of increased longevity and the risk of diabetes and other maladies didn’t seem as compelling. I quit drinking pop for 10 days or so. I would make exceptions when I was eating pizza. Nothing tasted as good with a pizza as a nice, cold Cola. Pretty soon I was drinking Pepsi with all pasta dishes (my favorite.) Needless to say, before the month was over I was back to my old ways.
I realized that I couldn’t just quit drinking Pepsi, I had to fall in love with another drink. It’s the old “erase and replace” method I describe in the first chapter of my book, Erase Negativity and Embrace the Magic Within.

I fell in love with Pelligrino water. Sometimes I drink it plain. Other times I mix myself a little cocktail by adding a splash of juice or a wedge of lemon or lime. The slender green bottle looks graceful and refined. I’ve been told Pelligrino adds

an alkaline element to our systems which is preferable to an acidic one. My new beverage of choice comes from Italy. I love almost all things Italian. And what could be a better complement to pizza than Italian water?

Sometimes I will sit outside with my bottle of Pelligrino and imagine I’m sipping my sparkling water in Florence or Rome. Leonardo DaVinci is reported to have consumed water from the same source where Pelligrino is bottled. And good ole’ Leonardo was no slouch. In fact, now that I’ve switched from Pepsi to Pelligrino I swear my mind is clearer and new waves of creativity are swirling through my brain. I haven’t exactly drawn blueprints for a new invention, but I have come up with a few ideas for stories, scripts and songs.

The point of this tale is that all of us have negativity we would like to erase. It can be a bad habit, unkind thoughts or negative behavior. Abolishing it creates a vacuum, and nature abhors a vacuum.

I believe you will fare better if you replace the undesirable trait with something more affirming. I outline this technique of “erase and replace” in the first chapter of my book, as well as in my you tube video. I hope you will have fun with this technique and give it a try.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to take out a chilled bottle of Pelligrino and enjoy it in the imaginary setting of my choice. I’m going to invite my deceased parents to join me as well. I think both mom and dad would approve. Vi auguriamo una buona salute.

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