It has been over a month since I gave up drinking Coke. Not a drop has passed my lips. I now drink Typhoo Tea (I just switched to decaf to quit that also), and filtered (by a cheap Brita jug) tap water – that’s it.
Although the previous post about this when I was a week in raised some things I felt I had discovered about my body after quitting it, now being a month in, I’m now able to confirm some. But before I do, let me tell you what my life has been like since I moved to America:
Anywhere I have eaten, be in at a nice restaurant, fast food, or good wholesome home-cooked meals, I have had what I can only describe as punishing ‘attacks’ afterwards. For a while, I thought I was lactose intolerant, because it mostly seemed to happen with dairy, but then gradually after trying other foods and experiencing the same issue, I began to wonder… I didn’t have much dairy in England, but I certainly did eat these other foods that were getting me here in the US, so why was I only having problems here? When it was at it’s worst, I really didn’t want to live here anymore.
What made it that bad? Get ready for some gross details, because, well, a typical ‘attack’ consisted of me eating something, then literally between 2-30 minutes later, starting to get stomach cramps. The pain was absolutely intense, and didn’t go away until inevitably the undigested food left my heaving and pain-ridden body, in a series of trips to the toilet. I would often eat something at 6pm, and still be ‘finishing off’ at 2-3am with my 4th or 5th trip to the toilet.
The heaving was pretty bad. My whole body felt like it was working to push that stuff out of me, and it would often make me feel like I was going to throw up at the same time (though perhaps this was due to the pain).
My stool (yes, I’m going to describe it) would look pretty much what I had eaten, as it was obviously undigested, and it would often have bubbles all over it. Again, this made me think that possibly it was irritable bowel syndrome rather than an issue with lactose.
Different types of food seemed to give me different amounts of time to get near a toilet, and there were times when we literally had to pull over the car and I had to run into a public building, and these attacks would come multiple times a week unless I avoided what I had detected as problem foods – but even then it was getting unpredictable, and I was getting increasingly more annoyed by the fact that foods I had always been fine with, even here in the US, were starting to mess me up.
So why am I telling you all of this stuff? Well, because I haven’t had an attack for over a month. I used to be guaranteed of having this problem, and now it’s gone away, completely away. The only lifestyle difference is that I stopped drinking Coke, starting drinking more Tea (recently switching to decaf Tea), and started drinking water. I’ve even started to ‘test’ my system by purposely eating foods that would ALWAYS give me problems and nada, nothing… It’s really made a difference to my mental well-being when eating.
I can’t say that it’s Coke that was the problem, but I can say that something which was in it was causing me these issues. I don’t know what, and I don’t know why. I am perhaps allergic to something within it, or perhaps there is something different with Coke in the USA compared to Coke in the UK… Syrup, perhaps? Also of worthy note is that I have cut out Caffeine completely.
The weird thing is that Coke Syrup is still used by many as a cure for stomach problems. I wonder if any of those people have ever tried not using it, and seeing if they still get the stomach problems that they are trying to cure with it…
Tim is British and lives in the United States with his wife and kids.
He works for software developers Image Space Inc. and Studio 397 on their racing simulations, and is a fan of Gaming, Motorsports, and photography.