Tuesday, 15 March 2011


This is what I have given up for Lent.  Seems like an odd thing, you may say.  To my mind, the thing to be given up should be something which is a significant part of your life but which you do not actually need, thereby trimming down your intake.  How important was Diet Coke in my life?  Hard to say.  For several years now I have drunk some every day except (usually) Sunday.  Coke because the caffeine in it helps ward off afternoon sleepiness, a cold drink for liquid intake and because office air is dry, Diet because my diabetic tendencies (and tendency to be overweight ever since I stopped smoking over seven years ago) contraindicate sugar.  I usually bring a two-litre bottle to work and keep it in the fridge there.  A few weeks ago I ran out.  So I went to our (nasty and overpriced) canteen to get some and it was closed for a private function.  So I went to the vending machine and it had run out.  When I had visited every vending machine in the building, to find them all without Diet Coke, and had got increasingly grumpy and on edge, I began to think I might have a problem.  So I drank my last DC on Mardi Gras.  From then until approximately yesterday, ie five or six days, I felt quite a lot as I did when I stopped smoking.  Physically uncomfortable, experiencing cravings, the inside of the mouth feeling all wrong.  Fine now, drinking water in the afternoons and better for it.  But - who knew?  What do they put in that stuff? 


Anonymous said...

There's 'gold' tins as well which are caffeine free.

Jane Griffiths said...

yes, but what would be the point of that?

Anonymous said...

What is this about diabetes?!!

Jane Griffiths said...

oh you know, pancreas gets a bit erratic in its handling of insulin production, best if so to lay off sugar and keep carbs down in general, so I do - mostly

Anonymous said...

Oh sounds ok if kept under control.

Tablets? Injections?
I've got it in the family so wonder also if it is to do with age -- both sides of the age spectrum.

Aunt died of diabetes complications recently - developed it at sixty plus and ended up with gangrene in the feet.

Niece has been injecting since the age of 12. Niece is not daughter of said aunt. Is diabetes on the increase?


And now for something more pleasant... if there is anything anywhere.

Jane Griffiths said...

diabetes is indeed on the increase, partly because of improved diagnosis and partly because of more fat people. It is in my family - in my case Type 2, mostly no problem, diet only, no drugs or injections, may it remain so. My son has inherited the tendency, will likely kick off with him in middle age as it did me.

wendycooks said...

As you know from seeing my post, I also had a Diet Coke addiction! It was hard to get off of it. I've heard a lot of people who drink it say the same thing that you did, "What do they put in that stuff?" to make it so addictive? (and I did drink the caffeine free kind, so it's just as addictive)

I stopped drinking it slowly. Now I will occasionally have a swallow of my husbands, but I don't get my own.

I still miss it sometimes, but I feel better now that I'm not partaking. Now when I do drink any my stomach hurts and I get all bloated. Plus, I've noticed I start craving sweets. Now that I've given it up, I rarely don't have any sweetener at all, including sugar.

Oh, BTW, I find that when I really want a DC now, I will fix me some herbal or flavored green tea, and it does the trick. (I do still miss the bubbles, but I think that's what hurts my tummy.)

Good luck on your abstaining.
I hope it isn't too painful, and you feel better and better.

from glutenfreegreenie
you can now find me at http://wendycooks.wordpress.com

Anonymous said...

Giving something up for Lent is quite a handy way to bring a craving under control. But........ will you start again at Easter? And are you usually a practising Christian?

Jane Griffiths said...

I feel so much better without it that not on a regular basis I think and hope. Answer to second question yes.

Anonymous said...

Which denomination? Are you are regular church goer? If so - rather in a minority these days. But France is a Catholic country and maybe there is a more obviously religious way of life there? Dunno.
Can't see what God has ever done for me - except to pour down unceasing buckets of ordure on wherever it thinks is my head --- but then, I am not religious.

Jane Griffiths said...

Church of England. France is a Catholic country, but overwhelmingly secular in its attitudes, though this part of it less so. Alsace used to be German, and Lutheranism is strong here. This is the only part of France where Good Friday is a public holiday and where state schools have teachers of religious studies (you can choose Catholic or Protestant). Strasbourg also has France's only state-funded Jewish school. I go to the Anglican church here in Strasbourg, mainly English speaking, congregation a mix of English expats, Pakistani Christians, Nigerians and Malgache (from Madagascar, francophone but Anglican because of previous missionary activity). The priest in charge is Canadian of Armenian heritage so we are quite diverse. It does a lot for me.

Anonymous said...

Have you always gone to church - or is it something that you have got into since being in France? If so, I do think it says something about the underlying religious mores of the country. And diversity as well.

The congregation of my local C of E church - also the Catholic one - would be comprised of late middle-aged white Conservative persuasion-style people ( or the nastiest of their Labour counterparts) - satisfied with their identikit little families and habits.
One of the most horrid Labour women I ever knew was the public affairs guru for the Methodists, nationally. I cannot think of her without flesh creeping and now cannot dismiss this Sanctimonious Sheila from my mind. She was pure and dripping poison. Expect her to be a Labour Minister one day.

The minority younger element of the respective congregations would be what used to be described in the 70s as obnoxious and holier than thou God-Squadders.In the 70s these were the no sex, , booze, or fags we're Christians - no make-up and nice big knickers. No shaving of legs or underarms either.

And, by the by - some of the nastiest, most vindictive most Pharisaical people I have ever met. Vile, just vile.
At university, they preyed upon the new undergrads, banging on the door of your Hall or Residence room and inviting you for a heart-warming coffee. When you refused their intrusive blandishments they turned nasty and spiteful. They thought that my best friend and I were total Jezebels because we wore long skirts and no shoes or bras. They spread pernicious rumours about us.

Weirdly, the way life has panned out, she seems to have got God. We now have little in common. Why, Mary, Why?!! You were so much fun beforehand - and now we have little to say to each other . I suppose you either join them or beat them -- and I think I have done neither. But at least, I am glad to say that most of these horrid born again types know nothing about the bible at all. They are stupid and do not understand this rigorous literary and intellectual text. I, however, do. Jesus may or may not save, but at least, when I descend to the sulphurous pit, I will know what the words mean that I have chosen to reject.

Jane Griffiths said...

Like you I was put off, for decades, by the God-Squadders at university, especially the no-fun dowdy-dress aspect of them, but also that they preyed on students who might be emotionally vulnerable. In later years I went from time to time, have gone regularly since being here. I find congregations in England much less diverse and more conservative. It's been great making Nigerian friends, real party people and good fun.

Anonymous said...

They sound excellent.

Augustus Carp said...

Well, I don’t want to go in for one-upmanship, but in my CofE Church in Central Reading, out of a congregation of about 130, I know several West Indians, two families of Ugandans, some Koreans, an Afghan lad, people from Germany, Holland and South Africa and numerous Scots and Welsh. (The latter are the most exotic by far!). Our Australian died a few years ago, and the Nepali moved back to Katmandu, but I reckon that we are pretty standard for a congregation in the South East these days. And I ought to include Black British in that list as well. Oh, and we’re not particularly conservative either, in politics, dress, food or musical tastes.

By the way, Jane, if you are interested in Anglicanism in the Pews, may I recommend that you read “Augustus Carp: Being the Autobiography of a Very Good Man, by Himself”? It was originally published in the 1920s and is out of copyright now, so it’s available on-line for free, and worth the effort. He’s my hero!

Anonymous said...

Oh dear me. I stand corrected. Reading is, of course, the still point of the turning world and an eternal point of reference. If it is such a melting pot of tolerance and diversity on both sides of the pews in Reading, then the rest of the country might as well go hang! Obviously if all is right in READING - then the smaller minded and more picky of us should be satisfied. Guilty as charged.

PS Dog biscuit or cat crunchie for the person who can elucidate the literary references of 'the still point of the turning world'.
Now - there's a poser!

Augustus Carp said...

No, not corrected at all! I was just trying to add to the conversation, that's all. "The still point of the turning world" - now, there's a pose(u)r. TS Eliot? One of the Four Quartets? A man who proved poetically what most Anglicans prove musically - that they have a lousy sense of rhythm.

Jane Griffiths said...

Eliot I believe Four Quartets I fancy.

Anonymous said...

Yes - with a nod to WB Yeats.
Now - isn't this interesting? None of us are supposed to be 'religious' - but people are clearly very INTERESTED in religion.

Just look at how this thread has taken off!
Incidentally, I heard Frank Skinner interviewed today on Radio 4 and have to admit that I had no idea that he had two degrees in Eng Lit or that he was President of the Samuel Johnson Society.

Or that he was a practising Romqn Catholic. Or that High Church Anglicans believed the doctrine of transubstantiation. Like Skinner, I had thought that this was the dividing line between Rome ansd C of E, but apparently not. Skinner thought so too and fortunately, Rowan Williams was on hand at a recent cocktail paty to disabuse him of this wrongful and heretical notion. Apparently, High Church Anglicans have believed in transubstantiation for years. Now thre's a turn up for the books. I stand humbled and re-corrected.
But I wish that someone at the said party had probed Williams further on the nature of religious relics. Blood of Thomas a Becket etc. In medieval times - see The Pardoner's Prologue and Tale - there was much exposure of such as pig and sheep blood etc. And where does that leave us with indulgences?

Martin S MP, Reading said...

I frequent a great macrobiotic cafe called Iku Wholefoods. It's on Glebe Point Road, in Sydney, near the University.

Even their fizzy drink seem virtuous.