Sunday, October 23, 2011

Guilty Pleasures

Several months ago I made a change in my eating habits to better my health. I started eating more whole foods, making a conscious effort to include fresh fruits and veggies and avoid preservatives (and many other food additives). One of the things I have been trying to avoid is high fructose corn syrup. I started reading labels, which meant I stopped buying a lot of things I used to buy all the time. It also meant I stopped drinking anything other than water.

Ah, but how good can the life of a Dr. Pepper addict be when she's off the juice? Another time I had tried "dieting" - which meant no more Dr. Pepper. After a couple of months of nothing but water, I switched to Diet Dr. Pepper, and life went on as usual. I just traded one fake sweetener for another. (Corn growers can say what they want, but they'll never convince me highly processed corn goop is anything remotely resembling "sugar" or a natural sweetener.)

This time, though, I found I didn't want anything other than water. I didn't have any of the so-called caffeine headaches when I stopped drinking soda. I didn't miss the flavor of it, I didn't crave it, all I wanted was water. That's a huge thing from someone who used to drink at least two bottles every day.

Fast forward to today. Soda makers have been advertising sodas made from real sugar instead of corn syrup. Dr. Pepper got on the bandwagon and started making what they call Heritage Dr. Pepper. Being a reformed Dr. Pepper girl (or so I thought), I bought one. I don't know that it's really any better for you, and I certainly wouldn't call it a health food, but everyone deserves a guilty pleasure once in a while, so maybe this would be mine.

My first thought when I opened the can was, "This must be how ex-smokers feel." The smell of the soda was like nirvana. Nothing has smelled that sweet in a long time. How great this was going to be! I took a sip, expecting that familiar flavor, that strange tangy sweetness.

What I got was a mouthful of eww. Seriously. Yuck. How could I ever drink something that tasted that bad? I can tell it's the same flavor I liked before. It's familiar, I just don't like it anymore. Months of avoiding exactly what I used to like have changed my tastes (I think), and I recognize the fakeness of the flavor. Give me water over that any day. Don't get me wrong, I applaud the companies for using real sugar, and I am glad the option is available for other people. I'm just not one of them anymore. I'd still say, "I'm a pepper," but give me water to drink, thanks.

Does that happen to you? Do you find yourself wondering how you could ever have liked something when you try it again after a long hiatus? Do you miss it, or attempt to reacquire the taste? I think I'll be glad my tastes have changed and remember my Dr. Pepper days fondly, but not try to go back to them.