You may recall that I gave up Coke as 2008 started. I made it almost two months with no Coke, other than what I found in the odd Long Island Iced-Tea. I managed the prohibition for nearly two months before I found that my whole reason for doing it wasn’t working out.

I decided to give it another try, though for different reasons. Sometime in December, I heard on Quirks and Quarks that a study indicated a correlation between consuming sugar-sweetened carbonated beverages and shortened telomeres. The study is titled, Soda and Cell Aging: Associations Between Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Consumption and Leukocyte Telomere Length in Healthy Adults From the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys. How’s that for a mouth-full?

The conclusion as expressed in the study abstract sums up the reasons for my alarm:

Regular consumption of sugar-sweetened sodas might influence metabolic disease development through accelerated cell aging.

See? That’s alarming! I hadn’t considered metabolic disease, but accelerated cell aging is reason enough for action. Even if it isn’t as bad as it sounds, it is a good excuse to make some changes in my diet.

I unpacked my Brita and washed it. I didn’t install a filter because we’ve got a reverse-osmosis filter in the house. I filled the pitcher with filtered water and stored it in the refrigerator so I’d always have ready access to cold water. It worked well, except the water warms up quickly once removed from the refrigerator and warm water isn’t a lot of fun to drink. The result is that I didn’t drink as much. I tried filling the glass of water with ice, but this caused a mess because of the condensation on the outside of the glass. I know, it’s a first-world problem, but I needed to drink more, and I wanted the fluid to be water so I needed a solution.

My mother was having an unrelated problem with thirst during the night. She’d wake up during the night absolutely parched. She tried keeping a glass of water on the nightstand, but it didn’t work. The cat would get curious, stick her head into the glass, and often knock it over. In thinking about it, I figured a water bottle stop the cat. Having the water chilled would be even nicer so I tracked down durable insulated water bottles and bought her a nice stainless steel model from Amazon. It was just $20. After filling it with ice and water, it still has ice 12 hours later and although the ice is gone, it’s noticeably cool after 24 hours. It even has an ‘ice dam’ that prevents you from swallowing ice as you drink from the bottle. Problem solved!

It occurred to me that a water bottle might solve my problem as well. Mom’s small 13 oz (385 ml) bottle wouldn’t do for me so I searched high and low, and the largest insulated stainless steel water bottle I could find was a 20 oz (591 ml) Klean Kanteen bottle from At the time it was only available in blue, though now they offer four options, including the brushed stainless finish I wanted!

Despite the colour, it’s perfect! I hadn’t planned to swear off Coke completely, but dramatically reduce my intake. With the water bottle, this has been simplicity itself. My goal was to limit myself to perhaps an average of one can of Coke per day. There has been the odd day during which I had two (and one day I had three), but there were also many days I forgot Coke entirely. That’s right, I forgot. If you know me, you might think I would have to sustain a head injury for this to happen.

As I found when I tried to quit Coke entirely, I replaced those calories by eating more. I do try to drink more water when I get hungry, but that’s of only limited success. Last time I tried to quit Coke to lose weight. This time I simply want to cut down. If you want to bring costs into it, the bottle wasn’t inexpensive at $30, but I’ve certainly saved more than that already. I’m nearing the point at which I gave up last time and I simply don’t see myself giving up again. Why would I when I don’t really miss the stuff? Allowing myself to have some, albeit a dramatically reduced amount, makes the reduction far easier to manage. I’d even dare say this could become my new normal.

I’ll report back in month or two.

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