Friday, February 15, 2013

Aspartame is Poison, Delicious, Delicious Poison

Because I am extraordinarily boring, I haven't ever dabbled in illicit substances. Why even bother, when the best drug of all is aspartame.

Thanks to my lovely assistant, Geoffrey, the mime with the butterfly tattoo on his butt, you can see that already this Coke Zero is one-third gone. I was not the one who drank it though. It was Mr. Floozy. Because guess what! I haven't had Diet Coke or Coke Zero for three whole danged weeks! I know! Crazy.

Here is why. I think I might have an intolerance to aspartame. In fact, I think that it has been doing all sorts of screwy things to my delicate-flower system. Off and on for the past six months, I get really low potassium levels. I did not know I had this problem until I went to the ER last summer for my legendary head injury and the doctor was concerned about my head, sure, but also my low potassium. He wrote down on a little note pad "hypokalemia" and prescribed me potassium horse pills. I noticed within a few days that my legs no longer ached and that I wasn't passing out and puking as much. Now, I know what you are going to say next, "Go and eat some bananas, Sister Floozy, for they are high in potassium and are good for your soul." But guess what. I am allergic to bananas. They make me puke and puke and puke, and sometimes, just for fun, I pass out sometime between the puking. I can't even open a banana for my kids without feeling sick. I have to use gloves. 

Let us meander meaninglessly through the daisies for a moment.

I have a food sensitivity to so many foods. So many. Bananas, avocados, raspberries, broccoli, cauliflower, and recently I discovered, pistachios. There are more than that, but why bore you (more than you already are). When I tell people this, they look at me and say, uh huh. I know that this list is extremely suspect. Fruits and vegetables. Suuuuurrrreee you're allergic. I don't think that any of these are allergies per se, except for the avocados one, because that one makes my throat swell. The other foods just bring on Xtreme PukeFestPallooza. Do you think that I don't want to eat raspberries? Raspberries are amazing. What I remember of them. And avocados! Guacamole is poo-green heaven. These food problems make me sad. Mostly, because so many of the things I am sensitive to are wonderful in desserts. And as a proud Dessertitarian, this is a blow to my dessert lifestyle.

Back to aspartame.

So! Here is what I have noticed since I gave up Diet Coke. My hair does better and doesn't shed like a cat confronted by a canoe-sized spray bottle. My potassium doesn't dip to levels so low that my hands go numb and I pass out so much that I need to get new glasses because of all the scratches from face-planting on the bathroom floor. In general, much less puking. And weirdest of all, is that my blood pressure, which has been crazy awful for years, went from an average high of 160/98 to 120/72. WHAT THE HELL.

Now stop. I know that you think I am going to take away your Diet Coke. And I'm not. We have all heard the mythical horror stories about aspartame. A woman who was having seizures was miraculously healed when she banished aspartame. A man who had tried every possible tactic finally lost his third, extraneous nipple when he gave up Diet Dr. Pepper. There are so many stories. I think that many of these stories are true (except maybe that nipple one), but I don't think that this applies to everyone. So don't panic and freak out. Mr. Floozy drinks Coke Zero all day long and it doesn't seem to affect him a whit. He rarely gets sick. He is a healthy, strapping young man. Okay, not so young. He's forty. But still. STRAPPING.

If I could drink Diet Coke or anything else delicious with aspartame like Crystal Lite or Danimals drinkable yogurt, I would. Oh, I would. Breaking up with Diet Coke was one of the hardest breakups I have ever had.

I will love you forever Diet Coke. Au revoir.


  1. Heee Geoffrey <3

    You poor foodless thing! I find that when I quit drinking soda, drinking unsweetened seltzer water helps with the need for bubbles - I think I'm addicted.

    I'm super glad it's helping, though! One of my mom's friends had the problem with her hands going numb until she stopped with the aspertame, and it makes my feet swell up something horrible if I drink too much of it.

    1. Geoffrey has been great moral support. I am curbing the diet coke cravings with iced green tea sweetened with stevia. So far it is working. But I will never give up the caffeine. Nevah!

  2. I suffer from migraines, but...yeah....noticed that when I gave up diet soda, they didn't go away completely, but did get a bit few and farther between.

    I can live without diet soda. But, take away my morning coffee and I will be miserable. You just do what you must.

  3. When I went off aspartame, my tension headaches went away and my IBS got noticeably better. I now avoid it like the plague. I can't even chew sugar-free gum or breath mints.