When I was eighteen-years-old and left America to travel the world, I learned something truly fascinating about human beings: they drink water. Plain water. The very same stuff my dog drank, and that we used to wash dishes and cars and ourselves was consumed in its natural form by billions of people around the world. No added sugar necessary.
You think I’m exaggerating now, but I’m not. As a child, I never drank water, other than the occasional desperate sip from a water fountain at school after recess. My primary home was my father’s house, where we weren’t allowed to have sodas, and instead drank pink lemonade which he made from a powdered mix. I also spent a great deal of time at my paternal grandmother’s house, and there I usually drank Ginger Ale, which she said was good for the stomach because it made the food settle. If I wasn’t trying to digest one her of heavy, oily meals and getting food to settle was not an issue, there was Coke, which was also good for the stomach because it made you greps (burp). And then there was my mother’s apartment. My mother was incapacitated and had a caregiver for several years, Susan, who was addicted to Coke and cigarettes. You’re going to think I’m exaggerating again, but I kid you not when I tell you that three times each week my brother and I went to 7-Eleven with Susan where we picked up a grocery bag full of Coke, Sprite, Kit-Kats, Snickers, and cigarettes (for Susan) to get us through the afternoon. (In my mind now, I’m going back in time and trying to protect my little girl lungs from the second-hand smoke.)
For school lunches I brought juice boxes or Capri Sun. At summer camp I drank bug juice, even though I didn’t like it. At birthday parties I skipped the Kool-aid, because I really didn’t like it. When we went out for pizza I ordered Dr. Pepper or root beer. Sometimes I got lucky and found a vending machine with Grape Soda or Orange Crush. I took Gatorade to the park. In high school I took juice boxes to school or bought Diet Coke from the vending machine. When it was cold I drank Ovaltine. Before I went to bed I drank milk or, oddly, Postum.
Jump forward in time now to the kitchen of my adulthood. Guess what you won’t find?
You live and learn, right? Or you get diabetes and learn.* Either way, the only beverages in my home are water, soda water, milk, coffee, and herbal teas. Oh, and wine, of course.
So, yes, I’m not in favor of any sugary drinks, and I’m pretty much anti-soda. I make exceptions for a person who is hypoglycemic, or needs to settle the stomach. Otherwise, my motto is just say no. There are probably hundreds of scientific papers which back up my feeling that sodas are bad. Here’s a post about a recent one, Sugary Drinks May Increase Heart Disease, Diabetes, Even in Women of Normal Weight.
I’m going to quote my two-year-old son now and use the line he uses for just about everything I suggest to him, “I can’t like it.” Can you like this? Should Coca-Cola be advertising at JDRF events?
A while ago I wrote a fairly harsh critique of a local JDRF walk sponsored by Krispy Kreme Doughnuts. I’m not writing this now to go after JDRF or Coke, or anyone else. Believe me, if Coke offered me a lot of money to do something, I’d have a much easier time wearing a hat that says hypocrite than I would saying no. But couldn’t, at the very least, someone at JDRF say maybe we should have a big sign that says Dasani Water (owned by Coca-Cola) instead?
I hope this post is coming across gently, because, as I said before, I’m not trying to attack JDRF here or anyone who thinks Coke is the best drink ever. I really just don’t get it. Someone please explain.
In another of Karmel’s photos, the one of the Pediatric Diabetes Research Center’s table, there appears to be a bag of green apples on the table. If those are apples then way to go PDRC! That’s something I can get behind.
*The author is not implying that her diabetes was caused by Coke or any other beverage. The author is stating that having diabetes forces a person to pay attention to sugar intake.