Liquid Pro Quo

Today completes an improbable week, one in which I consumed no soda.

When I say “improbable,” understand that, going back to at least my high school days, twentyish years ago, I have rarely gone a DAY without soda.

For most of that time, I didn’t have what you’d call a slight consumption rate, either.

Over the past several years, on a typical work day, I consumed absolutely no less than 48 ounces of high-caffeine diet soda, generally followed up by another 24-48 ounces at home.

On weekends, especially game nights, the numbers frequently went higher.

That’s sort of a lot, no?

I decided it was, and, rather than just stop at the acknowledgement, I chose to drop the stuff.


All at once.

No tapering off.


This seemed a more likely route to success, especially when I considered that gradually cutting back would involve some math, maybe even a chart or two. Piled atop the willpower this was going to require, that just sounded like too much work.

So, cold turkey.

Easy enough, except for The Problem, by which I refer in ominous capital letters to my not inconsequential caffeine addiction.

Turns out, you can buy that stuff in pill form: 200 mg tablets, 16 to a box, 93 cents for the store brand.


So, during the Sunday shopping run I picked up several boxes of those and one bottle of water.

On Monday, I popped pills and drank the bottle of water.

On Tuesday, I refilled the bottle from the water fountain and continued popping pills.

Same routine through the rest of the work week.

At home, water and more pills.

Aside from last night, when I enjoyed a beer with dinner and a few fingers of rum while writing (alcohol consumption is a whole other topic) I drank nothing aside from water all week.



• Health impact, part one: Caffeine pills are wonderful. I calculated a dosage equivalent to what I’d been receiving via soda and scheduled taking a pill every few hours, like some kind of medication. My alertness level has gone unchanged.

• Health impact, part two: It takes about half the volume of water to quench my thirst as the volume of soda to which I was accustomed.

• Economic impact: Purchasing caffeine in pill form is far more cost effective than purchasing it suspended in solution.

• Environmental impact: In just one work week, I have eliminated 15-20 plastic bottles (based on my previous consumption of three or four 24-ounce bottles of soda per day.)

• Pain-in-the-ass impact: A few packages of caffeine pills take up negligible space in the grocery cart, the car, and the pantry. The same cannot be said for several packages of soda. Similarly, carrying a packet of pills to work is easier than lugging a couple bottles of soda in my lunch tote.

• Inventory: The few bottles I have left at home may sit around for a while, at least until a soda-drinking friend visits.

• Exclusion: I am going to make one possible exception to my soda-free plan: full-strength regular Coke. For years I have kept my soda consumption almost exclusively to high-caffeine diet sodas, saving only this beverage, which I employ to slightly dilute lesser rums, e.g., Bacardi. (I drink fine rums neat, however.) I am curious whether I might now lose my taste for this concoction; I’ll do some research and report.