Just a drink?

I have one of those pre-pay Starbucks cards where you get a star for each purchase and then when you have fifteen stars you get a free drink. My voucher for my first free drink came through last week and I decided that today would be the day I would use it. X is at pre-school on a Tuesday morning so it’s a good time for me to have time to go to a coffee shop on my own. Actually, I chose to get my drink ‘to go’ and bring it home today but still…

It’s probably akin to blasphemy to say so in Starbucks but I don’t like coffee. I normally drink tea. But somehow I wanted to use my free voucher on something more exciting.  Just like I’d prefer to use my Boots Advantage points on a lipstick rather than toothpaste. So I opted for one of their caramel crème blend frappuccinos (which don’t contain coffee). Medium size (a grande is it?) since I wasn’t having to actually pay the £3.45 for it.

As I took the 5 minute walk home, beginning to sip my creamy drink, a thought came to mind. And, with that thought, a feeling of guilt. The thought was “I shouldn’t be drinking this. It’s fattening. It’s disgusting. It must have hundreds of calories”. An interesting thought for someone who eats – sometimes mindfully, mostly not – large quantities of cakes and chocolate and popcorn and biscuits, probably well in excess of whatever number of calories is in the drink, every single day. I know that the overeating is not desirable behaviour and obviously I’m trying to work on that. But when I am eating that stuff, I don’t actually find myself thinking of the calories or how fattening it is (although I may be disgusted at my behaviour) and all those foodstuffs are equally deficient in nutrients and high in fat/sugar as that frappucino. So what’s the difference?

The difference is that it’s a drink. I never even really realised that might be a ‘thing’ for me. My day-to-day drinks are tea (with a dash of milk), Diet Coke, and water. All with negligible calories. Now this isn’t why I choose these drinks – I’m pretty certain of that. Well it was why I switched from full fat coke to the diet variety originally (somewhere in my teens) but I do genuinely prefer it now. These are just what I like to drink. Occasionally I will have fruit juice or a smoothie – but maybe that’s ‘ok’ because counts towards your fruit/veg intake. And very occasionally an alcoholic drink. But somehow with alcohol, I don’t think the sugar/calories/nutritional value has ever really crossed my mind. Maybe it would if I drank a lot but I think that in 2013 so far I have had one can of lager (in fact I think I tipped half of it away in the end) on a hot evening and one amaretto sour before the meal at a posh restaurant on our wedding anniversary.

If you take the alcoholic variety out of the equation (I’m partial to the occasional Baileys over Christmas), creamy drinks do kind of make me twitchy. Mentally not physically. Milkshakes, hot chocolate and the like. Frappuccinos too I guess – although to all intents and purposes they are just a glorified milkshake. I’m curious as to why. I rarely fancy these drinks anyway, so it isn’t that I’m going around denying myself them day in, day out. But occasionally I do. And then I agonise over it. I think it might be because when I go to a café/coffee shop – the only time I am ever likely to be drawn to these drinks – I always have a cup of tea and piece of cake. I really struggle to have just a cup of tea. Even if I’m not hungry. I want the cake. Or maybe just a biscuit if I’m really full already (the Starbucks ginger ones are a favourite). But I do like something sweet with my tea. Now, if I opt for a sweet, creamy drink such as a milkshake or a hot chocolate, that leaves me with a dilemma. Do I still have the cake or not? If I have the cake as well, I know I’ll end up feeling sick. If I don’t have it, however, I feel like I’m missing out.

I didn’t order cake with my frappuccino today. Partly because I couldn’t be bothered to get my wallet out as well as my ‘free drink’ voucher and partly because I got my drink to take away rather than to drink there. I’m glad I didn’t. I would have felt sick. The drink alone was enough. I think maybe this is something I need to experiment with over the coming months. See what it’s like to order a creamy drink next time I fancy one. To say it will be enough without the cake. Or maybe order it with the cake and try just eating/drinking until I feel full…even if that means leaving some of both. Maybe even one day, just having the tea without cake. Seeing what it’s like to not have something sweet at all. Interesting.

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