Thursday, November 17, 2011

This is Your Brain On Drugs

I'm really pretty boring. I don't do drugs, I don't really drink (don't like the taste of most of it). I don't play paintball, I don't skydive. Well, I do one drug. Caffeine.

Since college, my soda intake, though switched from regular to Diet, has gotten what I think is a little out of hand. It's a waste of money, it isn't good for me in any way. I assure you, high doses of caffeine have not turned me into a metabolic furnace that melted the pounds away. Would that it were so. Really, so far as vices go, it could be worse. But, I want to cut back. National Novel Writing Month was perhaps not the time to do this. Or was it?

See those spider webs? One spider had no caffeine, and produced a lovely and orderly web. The other spider was given caffeine (And I think you can find this video on YouTube) and look at the spaced out fuckup it produced. Hmmm. So, caffeine causes disordered thinking? Maybe.

I'm probably on about Day 3 of "less soda, more water". I haven't quite added up my total caffeine milligrams per day from beverage, but I think I'm at more than 200 mg, less than 300 mg. Compared to, I think, 1200 or so. This is just an estimate (never a guesstimate. I hate that fucking word). There are times when my energy dips profoundly, and I feel as though I could lay on the floor and go to sleep.

My more lucid times, though. Those have been pretty good for my novel. I felt like it was kind of dragging at one point, and didn't know where the conversation should go, and there was still time left in the scene. So, I had my characters jump off a train. And now they're reminiscing about the ol' "rubber snake in the saddlebag" prank that backfired and solidified their trio. This sounds pretty caffeine-random, telling you. But I think I might not have otherwise thought of these things, were I all jacked up on my Diet Pepsi and trying to get word count down. It feels more real to my novel than...well, whatever was trying to happen instead.

So, am I giving up soda entirely? No. I do like the taste of it too much. Am I cutting waaaaay back? Yes, to about 1/3 the intake, as I related above. I'm not trying to villainize the cola industry, far from it. I'm just trying to figure what's best for me, my brain, and my health. And, apparently, my novel. I do like green tea, and chai, and I'm making low-sugar forays into coffee drinking. So we'll see how it goes.

At 30121 words! 14 days left!

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