So I’ve been on “summer vacation,” AKA slacking, as of late. I meant to get a new article out a month ago, around the time I returned from San Diego Comic Con, BUT it turns out standing in line for four days with 130,000+ other sweaty nerds from around the world is a good way to expose yourself to untold illnesses. As it is, I’m still recovering from whatever nasty germ I picked up, most likely from shaking hands with someone famous.
Other than taking antibiotics, I’ve been busy helping my girlfriend move into my fairly small loft apartment. It’s my first time sharing a space this size, and we’re both working hard to downsize and combine our consumer crap. I’ve personally gotten rid of about 50% of my belongings in the last few weeks; no small feat, considering I didn’t have a lot to begin with!
Last night, as I was making room for her things in the kitchen it dawned on me how much space was wasted by bottles and cans, alcohol and soda. Mostly weird, obscure, or “rare” drinks I’ve collected – AKA hoarded – since moving into my current place. Discontinued flavors of Mountain Dew, drinks brought back from the dead such as Surge, Ecto-Cooler and Crystal Pepsi, random cheap beer, and of course six-packs of ZIMA littered the shelves.
My kitchen was overflowing with this stuff. I opened a Crystal Pepsi, started to drink it in an attempt to “clear out space,” and realized, THIS STUFF IS GROSS! Something came over me, and I started pouring it down the sink… and another, and another, until they were all gone.
I’m not one for wasting food, but 1) Pepsi isn’t “food,” and 2) it tastes like garbage, IMO, so that’s where it belongs. Crystal Pepsi is especially nasty and they stopped making it for a reason. The same goes for most of these “retro” revival drinks. They were awful, unpopular products and the only reason people want to drink them now is because of nostalgia. But they sucked then and they suck now, and I’m a sucker for buying them.
So here I am again, fooled into trading my labor for the opportunity to consume terrible, useless products because they remind me of being a child. And to make matters worse, these things are literally killing me. I gained 20 lbs in the first two years at my new job, and a lot of that has to do with the fact that I’m working longer hours, necessitating increased caffeine consumption. Even now, as I write this, I find myself at the end of a marathon 16 hour shift, and guess what? I’m drinking a (GROSS) Mountain Dew to stay awake and motivated.
Sugar, caffeine, and alcohol are all addictive substances. It’s not an expensive addiction, financially, but the costs are high: it’s robbing me of my kitchen space, draining me of my energy, decreasing my fitness level, and ultimately shortening my life.
An addiction to soda is NOT conducive to the goals of Decluttering or Decommodification!
- Bottles and cans are clutter and are a waste of space. Why store dozens of containers when you can brew your own coffee or tea, make fresh juice or smoothies, or drink tap water?
- These things fill up the landfills, and not everyone recycles. That waste has to go somewhere, and I know I’ve thrown away a LOT of soda packaging
- Consuming these products is making your own body a commodity: something to be reshaped, controlled, and ultimately destroyed for the profit of others
An addiction to soda is NOT conducive to the goals of Financial Independence or Early Retirement!
- Purchasing soft drinks may not seem expensive, but they can add up, becoming a significant part of your grocery bill over time. Alcoholic beverages are always expensive
- Buying beer/soda/wine at restaurants is obscenely overpriced, costing nearly as much as food. In fact, these mark-ups are their biggest money makers
- These products have no nutritional value whatsoever, so you’re wasting money (and calories) that could be going toward tastier, healthier food that will give you more energy
Speaking of money, WiseBread presents more financial reasons to stop drinking:
The average American drinks 216 liters (that’s 7304 ounces, or about 365 20-ounce bottles) a year. If you purchased your soda only at a vending machine, that’s about $550/ year. If, instead, you put this into a retirement account for 30 years at a 7% interest rate compounded annually, you’d have about $60,000. Even if you buy your soda at the grocery store for 40 cents a can, that’s still $243 per year and over $26,000 over 30 years.
The author, Elizabeth Lang, also points out that the long term health consequences can lead to high medical expenses.
Negative medical effects of soft drink addiction include:
- Increased risk of heart attack in men, just from consuming ONE sugary drink per day
- Decreased metabolism, making it harder to lose weight and burn fat
- Weight gain, including increased fat deposits and risk for obesity
- LESS energy (not more, as they would have you believe)
- Greater risk for developing type 2 diabetes
- AND a shorter life span
Not to mention increased blood pressure, cavities, osteoporosis, kidney stones, gastric reflux, etc. etc. have all been linked to sugary drinks. I could go on, but there’s nothing good to say about them, despite what the manufacturers might have you believe.
It’s also worth pointing out that there is no such thing as a “rare” or “collectable” drink. There’s nothing special about a food product that was mass-produced, mass-marketed, and shipped to stores all over the country. Take it from someone who knows, you’re getting ripped off and you’re wasting money and space on worthless garbage.
So the Crystal Pepsi is gone – and good riddance – and I’m working on getting the rest of the empty calories out of my cupboard. Forget the old logical fallacy that says “I paid for it, so I better get my money’s worth.” Throw that junk away! I’ve never been a health nut, but what’s the point of reducing clutter, making more money, and optimizing every other aspect of my life if I don’t also maintain my health and improve my own body?
On the other hand, I know that quitting cold turkey is easier said than done. I have a few cans of Ecto-Cooler and Surge left that I’m using to wean myself, but I’ll be out by the end of the month. I’m currently working on applying minimalism to my diet and may still indulge from time to time, but will NEVER keep this stuff in stock in my own home.
Bottom line: if your goals are to have more money, own fewer things, be happier, live longer, retire early, and enjoy the rest of your life with the healthiest, most energetic body and mind possible, then you have to break that addiction to sugar water TODAY.
Your body is your own! Own it, love it, and treat yourself with respect! CHEERS!!