I gave up the disgusting sugary carbonated drink Coca-Cola along with all the products the brand manufactures when I began to practice mindful living.
When you embrace mindfulness, the mantra “vote with your wallet” is something you take seriously. So parting ways with brands that don’t reflect your values becomes second nature.
And that’s why four years ago, I ended my relationship with Coca-Cola.
No Coca-Cola. Good habits formed early.
My parents frowned upon my siblings and I drinking the sugary stuff in our childhood.
I’m not too certain if their stance was due to the expense of buying it or whether they were concerned with the sugar content, but needless to say my parents encouraged us to drink water instead.
So water is what I drank. Not milk, not orange juice. Just water.
My parents were not above hypocrisy though. There was a set of rules for us and a different set of rules for them. The fridge was well-stocked with Coca-Cola. My dad in particular often quenched his thirst with the stuff.
But my paranoia with Coca Cola began to surface when dad obtained his first set of false teeth in his 40s and I was in my early 20s. He enjoyed ice-cream and sweet food items, but I zeroed in on Coke because this is what I saw him guzzle down the most.
Dad needing false teeth scared me as much as knowing that three of my four grandparents had died before I was born. His needing false teeth made me hyper-vigilant about my health and I began to actively stay away from food with high sugar content. It is also the reason I don’t have a “sweet tooth” and why I am wary of foods that have “hidden sugars” and come pre-packaged.
Although I rarely drank the stuff in my twenties, it was still a part of my life. At a party I’d drink it mixed with bourbon or when I was nursing a hangover and craved junk food, would purchase a meal from McDonald’s that came with a Coke drink.
But in 2011 I made a decision to remove it out of my life completely as it wasn’t adding any value whatsoever.
A decision I have never regretted.
And while it has been easy to remove the main Coca-Cola products out of my life such as Coke, Sprite, Fanta, some of its sub-brands still makes its way into the house (I’m not pointing any fingers… Ben …). With over 60 consumer products including alcoholic beverages, hot beverages and food products; who can blame him?
The dark truth about Coca-Cola.
Now if you don’t know what the big deal is with Coca-Cola, here’s a short video that provides you with a much clearer picture of the company (that its publicists would hate to have you watch):
Here are some more facts about the company that you need to know, particularly if you want to make informed lifestyle decisions:
- Coca-Cola owns 20 brands that generate more than $1 billion in sales per year. These brands include Sprite, Fanta, Powerade and Vitamin Water.
- It is one of the most distributed products in the world, sold in over 200 countries. The only countries that Coke is not sold in are North Korea and Cuba.
- Coca-Cola Amatil is one of the world’s five largest bottlers of beverages and is the largest in the Asia Pacific region. It is responsible for popular Australian products such as Mount Franklin water, Lift, SPC Ardmona, Goulburn Valley and some favourite alcoholic brands (that I’ve had to give up as a result of my boycott) such as Maker’s Mark, Jim Beam and Canadian Club.
- The company is guilty of corporate sponsored “science” that helps to misinform the public. The New York Times published a front-page story revealing that the company established a non-profit called the Global Energy Balance Network which enlisted scientists to promote the very wrong idea that increasing exercise rather than reducing sugar consumption was the ideal way to combat obesity. Needless to say, the organisation is no longer in operation.
- Coca-Cola’s environmental rap sheet is long. Not only do these plastic bottles litter our planet, but Coca Cola uses an alarming amount of water to create just a litre of coke, three times as much. In 2010 the Indian government found that Coca-Cola’s Indian subsidiary’s bottling plant in Kerala had caused environmental damage and depleted groundwater. Local farmers who had relied on public access to ground water were unable to farm their lands. The company was ordered to pay $47 million in compensation to the local community.
- Coca-Cola Amatil (which is what the company is known as in Australia) fought the Northern Territory government over its introduction of the container deposit scheme otherwise known as “Cash for Containers”. Coca Cola won the court case; a difficult thing for us environmentalists to accept as this scheme would have helped to reduce the amounts of litter in the state. How do we know the scheme would have been successful? In South Australia, the container deposit legislation was passed over 40 years ago and has proven so successful that beverage containers makes up only 2.2% of litter.
- The company is known for its dubious unethical marketing. Britain’s Advertising Standards Authority barred Coca-Cola from claiming that its new line of beverages, VitaminWater, is “nutritious” after the company began making deceptive health claims.
So I want to know: Are there any brands that you’ve boycotted as a result of corporate misconduct? Feel free to share your story in the comment section below.
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