As part of my halfhearted attempt to shake at least a few of the ten pounds I've regained over the past year -- or at least preventing any more from piling on -- I'm trying to cut back on my usage of 'diet dark' (aka Diet Coke and/or Pepsi). Why cut back on diet drinks while dieting? Let's just say I'm becoming more and more convinced that the regular consumption of calorie-free sweet treats without consequences is about as plausible as a truly free puppy.

Cutting back on diet soda sounds easy enough, but boy howdy, there's nothing quite like cracking open a cold one in the middle of a long afternoon at the day job, you know? Yeah, water is the gold standard, but I already drink a fair amount of it and besides, it's just not the same. Some days I just want a cold bottle/can of... something, and beer is generally frowned upon in the workplace.

I recently realized that bottled iced tea could fill that void quite nicely, if I could find one that 1) tasted like tea and b) didn't have high-fructose corn syrup or artificial sweeteners. I'd even drink something with (gasp!) real sugar before either of those, as long as it wasn't too sweet.

Luckily, both Lipton and Snapple put out products that fit the bill. I don't think the Snapple version of lemon tea would be recognizable as tea in a blindfold test, but it wasn't bad enough to spit on the floor. Lipton has both a plain unsweetened tea (as a Northerner, I'm OK with that) and a lemon tea with sugar. I haven't tried the lemon yet but the unsweetened stuff tastes like tea, which is kind of the point.

Sure, I feel stupid paying a dollar-something for 16 ounces of plain tea, and sure, I could make my own damned tea and drag it to work and drink it from a glass like normal people, but if spending a few bucks on some glass bottles helps keep the diet dark monkey off my back, I'm all for it.

It's just a drop in the sea of compromise, but I need all the drops I can get.

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