In Which I Discover I Hate Cola

I don’t drink much soda these days. Every now and then I’ll have a root beer, but if I’m going to blow calories and sugar on something, it’s not likely to be something I’m just drinking. I’d much rather enjoy a brownie or a piece of cake or a cookie.

Still, I never really thought I had anything against soda in general. I’ve drank it off and on my whole life. I remember having chugging competitions back when I worked at McDonald’s. We’d all grab a supersize cup, fill them up with the soda of our choice, and see who could down theirs first. (Makes me wonder how much money fast food chains lose each year due to the fact that a significant portion of their workforce is made of high school students with only a vague understanding of ethics and a much bigger understanding of being hungry or thirsty. Remind me to tell you of the McNugget drawer sometime.)

But I digress. When we were down at Disney World, the kids brought back a bunch of bagged candy. (We had to use up our snack credits somehow.) And perhaps as a sign of how little sweets our family really eats, they’re still making their way through that candy, four months later. (Or is it a sign of how much candy we brought back?)

Yesterday, they broke out the Haribo Cola gummies, and I discovered with one horrified whiff that I don’t just dislike cola. I loathe it. It makes me physically nauseous just to smell it, even in gummy form.

This was surprising, since I haven’t had Coke in a long while. When had this aversion come on me? And then I figured it out.

I get migraines every so often. About once a year, or once every other year. I used to get them much more frequently. Every month or so. I went to a neurologist, and they asked if I drank much caffeine. Nope. What about aspartame? What was that, I wanted to know. Artificial sweetener in soda.

At the time, that’s about all I drank. Diet soda was very popular in my house growing up.

So the doc said to avoid aspartame and caffeinated sodas, and to see if the migraines went away. I did, and they did. But I’ve also been told that caffeine can make migraines go away. My migraines are awful. They last for hours, I’m completely wiped out by them, and then can leave me wrecked for a day or two afterward. They are so incredibly painful, I would do just about anything to make one stop once it’s started. (Thankfully I’ve discovered a cure: Advil Migraine. If I take those right when the migraine starts and then head to bed immediately and go to sleep, I can skip out on the whole thing. But I didn’t always know that.)

When people told me to try drinking caffeine when I started getting a migraine, I did it. Every time. In fact, that was the only time I drank Coke. And apparently I did it enough over a long enough time that now the smell of Coke makes me feel nauseous, just like I’m getting a migraine.


I suppose if I were really dedicated to dieting, I’d start eating brownies every time I had a migraine coming on. For now, I’ll just remember not to let my kids get Cola Gummies next time we’re in Disney. Or at least not eat them around me.

Are there any foods out there that make you sick just to smell?

2 thoughts on “In Which I Discover I Hate Cola”

  1. I can’t stand the smell of Wintergreen for almost the same reason. Remember when Excedrin made quick dissolve tabs? They still might, but I haven’t sought them out for more than a decade. Anyway, in May of 2003 I had 5 migraines in a span of 6 days. The last one resulted in me being wheeled off an airplane and taken to the local hospital. Not my favorite week. Each time one would start, I would pop a dose of Wintergreen quick dissolve Excedrin. Maybe it worked to decrease the severity, but not enough. And now, nearly 14 years later, the smell of Wintergreen is so closely tied to the pain and nausea of those migraines, it makes me physically ill.

    So yeah, I understand your aversion to cola.

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