Friday, August 10, 2012

What Would You Choose?

Sometimes, sustainable living sort of overlaps with discussions of what choices are the healthiest for us.  After all, it does no good to make a choice that you can keep up for a long time -- financially, effort-wise, or enjoyment-wise -- just to find out it is slowly killing you.

So let me do something a little different today and pose to you the problem I recently posed to my personal Facebook friends, and then I'll give you a bit more context:

You are in an all-day, closed door meeting. Bringing your own water bottle, for the purposes of this question, is not an option. The venue has provided a limited selection of drinks. Do you choose:

A) Regular pop in a can, with HFCS
B) Diet pop in a can, with aspartame
C) Water in a bottle, possibly leaching BPA and other contaminants
D) Dehydration

Here is the additional context:  Occasionally, I have to go on site for a long meeting for a client  These clients are typically very gracious and offer a selection of drinks, and the ones above are common.  I do not expect my clients to be waiting at the door with a Pepsi Throwback, nor do I want to interrupt the meeting flow with a tedious discussion of why I want tap water in a glass or ceramic glass.  I could bring my own water bottle, but I often forget.  This is my own dumb fault, but I constrained the question so we wouldn't all get into a discussion of how to sneak a water bottle or a can of Throwback into my purse, or what BYOB does to the flow of the meeting.

A few months ago, I was in just such a situation.  I didn't think to supply myself with a beverage of choice, and I was in a long meeting with a very gracious selection of beverages, each of which raised its own red flags:

Regular pop with HFCS?  Well, I try to stay away from HFCS, and all I could think of is that the HFCS almost certainly is made with some if not all GMO corn with incredible pesticide and herbicide exposure.

Diet pop with aspartame?  In this case, I know that I underwent a torturous few weeks several years ago getting myself off of aspartame because of possible health threats from it.

Water in a bottle?  Some bottles can release BPA, potentially dioxin, and God knows what else, particularly when heated.  I had no way of knowing if my bottle had been sitting in an overheated truck or not.

Dehydration was not an option for me that day, although I am pretty good at it.  (Ask me sometime about the 12-hour travel day that included a layover in the Pittsburgh airport.  I do NOT go to the ladies room in Pittsburgh.  Sorry, Pittsburgh readers -- the rest of your area is quite pleasant.)

Basically, I think I concluded that anything I drank had a downside that day.  So I wound up having a diet pop and then a bottle of water.  (It was a long meeting.)  Even after getting off the diet pop, I allow myself one per quarter, so I just counted this one as my "treat."  The water I figured was the best choice beverage-wise, and that I would simply have to hope for the best with the container.  The regular pop I dismissed because I just don't like the flavor after switching to all products made with natural sugar

However, I find it a little sad that, of the mainstream products available for hospitality, every one has a potential health consequence even BEFORE you factor in things like connections with obesity, etc.

So, sound off.  What would you have picked?

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  1. I would have picked the water because that is what I drink. If that wasn't an option I figure as a once off a normal soft drink wouldn't do too much harm but would rather a lemonade or lemon flavoured drink. I don't like Coke or colas.

    I usually always have my own bottle in my bag so this choice would be very uncommon for me.


  2. I would take the bottled water. Gave up diet pop some time ago. Life is so short that I think I shall not give up something I enjoy in order to add an extra year to my life. Those later years in life are not usually quality years.

  3. I think I would have gone with the diet pop. I agree with you on the negatives of aspartame, but I think that an occasional diet soda isn't the end of the world. Plus I do like the taste! I would have treated it like a treat, like you.

    I would have switched to water if I needed a second drink. I don't like water from plastic bottles, but I don't like ingesting two cans worth of caffeine and aspartame.