I’ve been drinking plenty of water, because I know I oughta. I like the way that sentence sounds, and it reminded me of this classic 80s ad, which I’ve never stopped finding funny. Like the lady in the ad says: Golly!
I’ve never been a fan of water, as a drink (as a substance for bathing in, on the other hand, water is wonderful). It doesn’t have enough flavour, for a start, so it doesn’t quench my thirst properly. That’s probably because 30 years of smoking has done something awful and irrepairable to my mouth. I thought that stopping smoking might have reversed this damage, but apparently not (though I suppose it may still happen).
At my last session with Heather, we talked about my tea habit and why I don’t drink water.
When I first started going to see Heather, last May I think it was, I’d been using Splenda as a sweetener in my tea for years. It tasted good, and had (so they said) all natural ingredients that were derived from real sugar and so there would be no compromise where taste was concerned, even though the stuff is virtually calorie-free. However, Heather was aghast, and told me there had been all sorts of horror stories about Splenda and encouraged me to do a big of Googling, which I did. Now I will say I didn’t find any conclusive proof that Splenda is responsible for cancer or making your nipples fall off or any of the other rather dramatic claims made about it (OK, I made up the nipples thing), but I was keen to eliminate a few ‘bad’ things out of my life to help my fibroid remedies have a better chance of working, so I switched from Splenda to demerera sugar (it’s not as processed as white sugar so I thought it was a good bet).
Now that’s all well and good when you’re drinking a couple of normal-sized cups of tea a day. But I was drinking pints of milky, sweet Earl Grey. I was drinking anywhere from five to ten pints a day, at a guess, with three heaped teaspoons of sugar in each mug. So that’s anything from fifteen to thirty teaspoons of sugar a day; no wonder I was putting on so much weight! Dewi only takes one level teaspoon of sugar in his coffee, and only drinks one or two cups a day, yet
we were I was getting through close to a kilo of sugar a week. Terrible, isn’t it?
Incredibly, I hadn’t given it a second thought, the amount of sugar I was imbibing each day. I was so hooked on my tea – or, now I really think about it, probably the sugar – I had convinced myself that it was my lifeblood, the only thing that kept me functioning. When, at my last session, Heather recommended I stop drinking tea (or cut down very drastically) because it may be interfering with my fibroid remedies, I went into rebel mode and was quite upset and stubborn. “I’m happy to stop smoking,” I told her; “I’ll stop eating chips, and chocolate, and live on salad and hippy dippy raw foods and fucking seeds, but I’d rather have that hysterectomy the doctor’s threatening than give up my tea.” I didn’t mean it, of course; that’s just how addicts talk, when they’re trying to justify their habit and the ‘benefits’ they gain from it.
Heather, gentle and patient as ever (how does she put up with me?), suggested that if I can’t give up tea completely, first of all I could drink more ‘infusions’ and herbal teas (she recommended nettle, which is actually really nice), and said that perhaps I should just cut down, and use stevia instead of sugar. Hmm, thought I; that’s a compromise I can live with. And it just so happened that stevia, which is apparently still banned from being advertised as for human consumption in the UK, because that’s the way the big bad pharmaceutical companies manipulate health departments and governments, is the main ingredient in this new sweetener called Truvia, which during the very week that Heather and I were having this conversation, was being launched and advertised all over the telly.
Truvia is not cheap; a little plastic pot costs nearly a fiver. However, it’s three times sweeter than sugar, so you only need a teaspoon’s worth to get the equivalent sweetness of three teaspoons of sugar – which means you use less, so you buy it less often. On the plus side, it’s virtually calorie free, and claims to be completely natural (stevia is a plant; the sweetener is obtained, I believe, by boiling the leaves then drying out the resulting sweet water and turning it into sugar-like granules). On the downside, it tastes bloody vile and leaves a horrible aftertaste like Sweetex. (Also worth reading this review of Truvia on Amazon, which I hadn’t seen before – looks like Truvia is not as virtuous as I thought it was, so I may change to agave nectar instead. Bah.).
[Further update: I should’ve just done what Heather originally suggested, i.e. buy stevia liquid extract and use a drop at a time, instead of worrying about being able to measure it out by the teaspoon like sugar. The one I’ve linked to here is only £2 a bottle, so I think when the Truvia runs out I’ll replace it with the drops. At that price, I don’t mind putting up with the icky aftertaste!]
I don’t know if it’s the horrible Truvia that’s making my tea so unsatisfying that I drink less of it (I have another theory about why I’m off the tea – I’ll get to that in a minute), but since the new regime kicked in I sometimes go a whole day without a cuppa, and instead of getting through upwards of 12 pints of skimmed milk a week I’m now getting through fewer than 2 pints (I keep having to throw milk away because it’s gone off). More likely, though, is the fact that tea was very much tied to smoking for me; I couldn’t really enjoy a fag properly without a nice milky, sweet, pint of Earl Grey. It quenched my thirst, and as any smoker will tell you, smoking when you’re thirsty is really unpleasant, and I reckon that’s why since I’ve stopped smoking I don’t feel the need for tea like I used to. Breaking one harmful addiction has helped me break another, which I find very interesting. I don’t even fancy coffee that often any more either; I used to like one or two normal-sized mugs a day, just for a change (no sugar in coffee though, ever), but since I stopped smoking I really don’t fancy it that often. I’m not supposed to have it anyway, because it interferes with the remedies and the milk thistle (liver detox stuff), so it’s probably just as well that I don’t need or want it.
So what’s all this got to do with water?
Well, Heather was concerned that I didn’t drink any water, that all my fluids were coming from tea. She was really very keen for me to get more water into my body, even if it meant drinking herbal teas and fruit infusions. So I’m being a good girl, forcing a few large glasses of water into myself every day, in between mugs of things like camomile and spiced apple, nettle tea, and other tea substitutes. My water and herbal/fruity teas/infusions intake is probably about four pints a day in total, compared to an average of eight pints of milky tea (and another benefit of stopping the Earl Grey is the improvement in bladder function; I’m not constantly on the loo like I used to be, because of course caffeine is a diuretic so I used to be a one-woman pee factory).
The point that I’ve taken so long to get to (sorry!) is that I still don’t like water, even since stopping smoking (I thought having a clean mouth instead of ashtray breath might change things, but it didn’t). I drink water because I have to, because Heather tells me to, because I know my body should have it.
The water in Majorca don’t taste like it oughta, apparently; they should try the water in Clynnog, it just tastes of water and that’s probably the most boring taste in the whole wide world!