Part 1 – When I Was Young – As long as I can remember, Coke has been my favorite drink. I have to confess, when I was young, I couldn’t tell the difference between Coke and Pepsi. Now, and for most of my life, Coke has been it!
Back in the day, Coke was something special. We didn’t have pop, or soda, or whatever you call it, every day. Coke was for a few occasions so it was special. Here are a few of those special days when my parents let me have it.
CARDS – Occasionally my parents had friends over to play cards. They didn’t have alcohol in the house. Coke or Pepsi were the drinks for young and old. Chips were our favorite snack.
While the parents played, we did too. We did games like Monopoly. We watched TV and had our own variety shows. The 60’s/70’s were known for shows like Sonny & Cher, Laugh-in, and Flip Wilson. We had fun copying them.
VISITING GRANDFATHERS – I’ve only had grandfathers. One lived in southern Ohio. The other in southern Kentucky. That meant a 6 to 10-hour round trip. We always stayed for a week or weekend.
Coke was part of the visit, on the way, and later as a treat. As we grew older, I think we had it more often. I wonder if it was because milk goes bad. I don’t remember it at all, but I remember pop, and sweet tea with my southern relatives.
Birthdays – They were definitely Coca-Cola occasions, while everyone visited, then for dinner. But later with pie or cake, milk was it.
New Year’s Eve – That WAS a Coke holiday. All night long we were allowed to have pop. My parents had card friends and their kids over. We kids were allowed to stay up past midnight. It was one of the best days of the whole year!
Traveling – When I was little, there was less money, so we’d pack the cooler with sandwiches and pop. Mom never made us drink milk. Maybe it was too hard to pack.
Things changed as we grew older. Dad wanted fast food. His idea of efficiency was to drop us off at a place like McDonalds. We bath-roomed. Mom got sandwiches, and Dad gassed up the car. He’d pull up. We’d pile into the car, and off we’d go till the next gas/restroom stop.
Family Vacations – When I was little, Mom and Dad camped. It was cheaper. Mom packed lots of food and pop to bring along. Coke was part of our vacation.
As we grew older, my dad gave up camping. By the time I reached middle school, we started going to hotels, and mom got a vacation too! In those days the Coke flowed . . . at meals, in the car driving. It was lovely!
THE AD – It came out on radio in February of 1971. I was still 11. In May I turned 12, and sometime later in 1971, THE AD came out . . . The song – I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing.
If you’d like to see or hear it, google the song title, and look for the screenshot. It’s still as wonderful as it was then. I didn’t realize how much until now. I don’t think it’s the reason I love Coke more than Pepsi, but I think it’s a factor. Who knew ads could have so much influence? I had the piano music and played it fluently, back when I was 12, because I WANTED to. Ads HAVE power.
Part 2 – When My Family Was Young – In college and into my 20’s, Coke was still my favorite drink. Here are a few of my favorite stories from the good old days, when my family was young.
A Honeymoon Hike – When my husband and I married in 1985, we honeymooned in Hawaii. We spent most days on the beach, but we spent a day hiking to a waterfall. It was a hot afternoon, and we were literally walking through a jungle. We didn’t have a cooler, and I think it started our first married argument.
People were swimming at the waterfall. Not us! We were hot, tired, thirsty, and without swimsuits. My husband offered papaya juice when we got back to civilization. No thanks! All I wanted was an ice-cold Coca-Cola. He’s a smart man – he found a machine, FAST!
New Babies – First babies are hard. You don’t know what to expect, and it’s called labor for a reason. I felt like I’d been through the wringer, and I looked like it. My husband brought me a coke. I still remember!
Second babies are easier. You know what to expect. Was there coke? Who knows? I had a 2year old and a newborn to juggle.
Pepsi starred in my last delivery. We followed their truck all the way to the hospital. Their ad that year – ‘Gotta have it.’ I did – 30 minutes later! I’m glad we made it! Our gas tank was on empty.
Three Young Children – My kids had milk and juice, but they had way more pop than I did growing up. It was part of the kids’ meals in the 90’s. Fun for them, and for me!
The boys loved coke from the start. Not my daughter. She’d rather have juice or water. I couldn’t believe it! Eventually – she did discover the real thing!
Sports – My kids got into sports in elementary school. That’s when I became a soccer mom. I watched them play, and I watched them move away from pop. Sports taught them to drink water and gator aid. Occasionally they’ll still drink coke, but I see them drinking way more water than I do, and it was their choice. That makes me happy.
Part 3 – Coke and Me Now – What I’ve Learned - My kids are adults, ages 28 – 33. My life has changed a lot since they left for college. Now I allow myself a little coke. Here’s what changed . . .
Too Much of a Good Thing? – Yes, you can have too much! I did! I worked hard as a teacher. I gave back to myself, by the choices I made. I ate foods that I loved. I didn’t worry about sweets and sugars. When I was young, I could get away with it. Not anymore. Sometime back in 2005/2006, I don’t remember exactly when, I discovered I was a diabetic.
How did I find out? – By accident – I took a class in Columbus that went for 2 days. In the middle of the night, I felt like I had an elephant sitting on my chest. My dad had heart issues, and that’s one of the symptoms, but I also knew it could be acid reflux. I took a Rolaid. Within 20 minutes I felt better.
It was probably acid reflux, but a prudent person would see the doctor. I did! My heart was fine. They ran an EKG on me. It showed I’d never had heart problems, but my doctor was prudent too. She asked me to do some bloodwork.
And the Bloodwork Said . . . My A1C was higher than the normal range. If you’re a little above, you’re prediabetic, and you try to head it off. If you’re consistently above it over time, you’re a diabetic.
I started in the pre zone. At first I controlled it with diet and exercise, but diabetes is hard to beat. You can have a little wiggle room, but wiggle too far, and it gets worse.
Within a year or two, I had to test my blood sugar. That’s the photo above. You prick your finger, and put the little stick in the blood. In seconds, you have your blood sugar number, and it decides what I eat for breakfast.
Two Ways to Control it– DUH! Diet and exercise. It’s true! Diet means you eat less sugar/fun foods and more healthy foods. Exercise – I walked my dog. She loved it!
Learning to Read Labels – It’s key! And it’s easy! Here’s a label I found on Wikipedia. It has lots of information, but I only need to look at 3 things when I pick out new foods – Serving Size, Total Carbohydrates, and Dietary Fiber.
Want a serving of macaroni? That’s 1 cup or 31 grams of carbohydrates (carbs). That’s high. I keep mine closer to 15. Pasta has more carbs than other foods so I don’t eat much of it. Foods like bread and rice are better for me.
The other thing I look for is dietary fiber. High fiber is a good thing! You get to subtract it off the carbs. That means FREE carbs! If my macaroni had 3 grams of fiber, I would be eating 28 grams instead of 31. I love fiber!
Making Better Choices – I’ve learned over the last 16 years how to do that. Can you guess which is the better choice below? DUH! The apple, of course, but cookies are more fun. When I first became a diabetic, I was scared to make the wrong choice so I ate super healthy foods. I felt like I couldn’t have fun foods any more.
That didn’t last! It couldn’t. You need fun. You need foods that make you happy, but, over time I learned to balance fun and healthy. I eat more fruits and vegetables. I still have my coke and chocolate chip cookies, but less often. I have a coke a week, not every day. I learned to like dark chocolate. I work to balance fun and healthy foods every day. It’s a journey!
Exercise – My dog died, and I’m an inside girl so now I walk in the house. It’s weird, but it works! I’m close to the bathroom. It’s climate controlled, and there are no dogs to attack me. It’s perfect – almost!
I also joined Noom. It counts my steps. It helps me watch my food intake. It counts my calories. My job – to enter what I eat and how much.
Balance - I aim for 1200 calories a day. I aim for 5000 steps a day. Sometimes I’m higher. Sometimes I’m lower, but sometimes I’m just right. Noom helps me find balance in my life.
I test my blood sugar every morning. I also inject insulin. It’s been challenging, but these changes have kept me balanced for 4 years. Here’s to 4 more!
When I write, I can only have one voice in my head, mine. A little noise is fine. But too much, or worse yet, WORDS, and I must change rooms or pull out headphones. Then I can write on!