Monday, April 16, 2012

Living the NOT so Sweet Life…Kicking the Splenda Habit

My husband decided to quit coffee! Well, that’s just CRAZY talk! As his caffeine enabler, I was mighty upset when he ditched the happy juice…and he did it on vacation! It wasn’t a purposeful act, mind you.  He just wasn’t in the mood for coffee in the a.m.  I, however, was giddy with anticipation that the resort we stayed in had a Starbucks in the lobby.  Holy coffee beans Batman, a Starbucks store right in the lobby! Well, that’s just genius and I gladly shelled out the $2.07 for a tall blonde cup o’ Joe.  We won’t talk about the fact that a tall cup of Starbucks only costs $1.87 back home, however, I more than made up for the difference with my collection of plastic spoons (the kids ate yogurt and oatmeal in the room) Splenda hoarding, and a few packets of honey.  I digress.

The hubby didn’t feel like coffee, therefore, ever the martyr, I had to go it alone. Each morning I made the arduous journey from the 7th floor in the elevator, through the freezing hotel hallway to stand on line outside the mini Starbucks amongst businessmen, anxious to get to their rounds of golf. Did I mention we spent vacation at a premier PGA Marriot golf resort with it’s own cabana beach club?  Reward points are great!

So, by day four of vacation, the hubby doesn’t feel well. It dawns on us that …wait for it….he is having withdrawal symptoms. Aches, headaches, lethargy, you get it…DETOX.  However, he ventures on and while we are deliberating what this awful melee of symptoms can possibly be, we begin calculating that not only is he de-toxing from coffee but SPLENDA as well.  I accidentally took a sip of his coffee once, and spit it out because it was soooo sweet. Sickly sweet, too much Splenda sweet. That’s because he typically puts four in at once.  That’s assuming he only drinks one cup..., which he doesn’t. That’s not even including the diet soda, or iced tea on business trips (which are quite frequent), and let’s not forget the Splenda consumption through protein bars and other assorted foods where it lurks….check your Thomas’s Whole Wheat English muffins…Sucralose, just a scientific term for SPLENDA.

So, we estimated that he was consuming roughly 30-45 packets of Splenda PER DAY! The lab mice would have dropped dead at 20 packets.  So, he quit.  It was cold turkey.  Nonetheless, a miraculous thing happened. Something I told him would happen, but like all husbands, they never believe us.  He lost weight without even trying.  Now, it wasn’t an astonishing number by any means. He won’t be gracing the cover of Men’s Fitness any time soon, but it was just enough to get him over the stall. The point where your body just refuses to give up any weight no matter what you do.

I being a virtuous eater didn’t think I needed to give up my beloved Splenda, as I only use one packet a day (she says smugly).  Then the husband reminds me that “sometimes you use two, depending on the strength of the brew, not to mention (he says a bit too gleefully) you drink more on the weekends.” Hmmm, I needed to ponder this.  I didn’t like the fact, that I was being a hypocrite.  At the end of the week, I was roughly consuming 10-12 packets. HMMMMM.  I figured I had a choice. Give up coffee (which would necessitate giving up Splenda), or just give up the white stuff. 

I briefly deliberated kicking the juice….oh my god, what am I thinking? GIVE UP THE JUICE? It’s my morning salvation, the liquid of champions, the nectar of the gods, my life-affirming brew! NO WAY!  But, I did give up Splenda…and I was miserable. I couldn’t get the right sweetness proportion. I tried Stevia, real sugar (which required multiple packets-kind of defeating the whole health aspect) and Agave Nectar.  I tried extracts, cinnamon, even an extract cinnamon combo until I finally settled on a teaspoon of honey. Whatever.  I suppose I will have to get used to it.

Anyway, I have been living the not so sweet life these past few days along with a recently adopted lower carb diet since Passover (the eight-day carb fest) passed over.  I have gotten past the point of misery.  Though, the hoarded yellow packets from every Dunkin Donuts, and Panera across the United States, taunt me each time I open the cupboard. I suppose, I should throw them out, but their siren call is still so strong, luring me back to my bad habit. I shut the door, take a deep breath, I walk away.  Perhaps, it’s the lack of carbs that cloud my judgment.

At the end of the day, I am glad that my husband and I  are trying to conquer our chemical cravings and I hope that in the long run, giving the iconic yellow packets the old heave ho will truly reward us with a sweet life.

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