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Insipid Cuppa

Insipid Cuppa
Insipid Cuppa, ink & watercolor 7x5

I like to use my winter holiday vacation as a time to review my past year and sort out what I did well and what needs work. Since this is also the end and beginning of a whole decade, this process felt even more important this year. One thing that really stood out was that I needed to kick  my caffeine habit and its evil companion, sugar (both fake and real).

So, after a week of being foggy-brained, sleepy and witless, I’m now free of caffeine, sugar, and Splenda* and finally starting to feel good and my inspiration is returning.

Without the sweeteners, decaf coffee and tea were tasting pretty vile to me so I began the search for a flavorful herbal tea with at least a hint of sweetness. I finally found a couple that I like but in the meantime spent a fortune buying seductively-named but ultimately insipid teas that taste like something you might use to clean windows.

Case in point: the tin of “Hot Apple Cider Tea” pictured above. It looks and tastes like hot apple cider about as much as a picture of an apple tastes like an apple. If I’d painted a cup of that tea, it would look like a cup of water. The tea in the cup above is Good Earth Tea and warm milk. It’s not bad. 🙂 But it sure isn’t a latte.  😦

*UPDATE: Just looked up “What is Splenda” and here’s what I found:

Splenda is made from cane sugar by replacing three hydroxyl groups on the sugar molecule with chlorine. The resulting molecule is not recognized as sugar or a carbohydrate by the body and as such, is not digested. Some refer to Sucralose as Chlorinated Sugar. Sucralose does not occur in nature.

Eek! I’m embarrassed to admit how much of that stuff I was consuming!

By Jana Bouc

I am an artist who loves (and lives) to sketch and paint in watercolor, gouache, oils and digitally.

15 replies on “Insipid Cuppa”

Well the painting is not insipid at all, I love the cool and warm colours! Oh, Splenda is nasty stuff! I was taken in by the Atkins claims about it being natural when actually it is aspartame. I’m sure you will feel loads better just for getting off that stuff. Fingers crossed for a heathier 2010 and getting rid of those dreaded migraines – good luck!


Hi Felicity, So good to hear from you. Thanks for the good wishes (especially re migraines, which of course I’ve been having due to caffeine withdrawal but Imitrex has kicked both of them). Actually Splenda isn’t aspartame, it’s made from sugar that has been chemically engineered. Here’s the details: “Made by replacing three hydroxyl groups with chlorine. The resulting molecule is not recognized as sugar by the body and as such, is not digested. Some refer to Sucralose as Chlorinated Sugar. Sucralose does not occur in nature.” Yikes! Does that sounds like something edible or healthy? I miss the sweetness but am rediscovering how sweet fruit and even some veges are, now that I’m not eating chlorinated sugar!




I’ve purged myself of caffeine and refined sugar before. Congatulations on making it though detox. I’m skeptical about the results though. Caffeine and sweeteners have been around for centuries. No way am I giving up chocolate. I’m more concerned about the chemicals I don’t know about in my system, so I think going organic is a better option.

Still, caffeine and refined sugar have their drawbacks. Licorice Spice tea has a sweet taste with no caffeine or sugar. Green teas have caffeine, but not so much as black teas. I’m very partial to iced green tea as well as hot and I can drink those for months without getting tired of the taste. Check out for some ideas.


Thanks Gwen. I’m curious what you mean by “skeptical about the results”. Do you mean that the payoff of being off caffeine and sugar might not be worth it? I think for me giving them up is the right thing because of the way they affect my life, but fortunately most people don’t have that problem. Thanks for the tip about the Licorice Spice tea. I’ll definitely check it out. Jana


Well, this put a smile on my face! I love the drawing! And, it seems we fight some of the same demons! Sugar and caffeine! I’ve tried to kick it so many times, only to be beaten back down a month or two later! I had heard Splenda was bad, though I didn’t know it was just aspartame. I did hear that aspartame causes migraines though! Even the teensiest bit can cause migraines in some people!


Hi Raena, I too have kicked it many times and for me too there was always something that drew me back in again. Splenda isn’t asparatame. I looked it up and it’s actually chemically engineered, chlorinated sugar. I posted the exact description of what it is on an update to the blog post so I won’t repeat it here. I know it’s the caffeine that makes me prone to migraines, not the Splenda, but they are definitely evil twins in my world. Jana


Hi Bradley, Thanks for your note. Right now my sketchbook is a 9×6″ Fabriano Venezia and the pen I used was a Micron Pigma .01. I’ve experimented with others but always seem to come back to the Micron Pigmas. For regular watercolor paper I prefer Arches 140 lb cold press. I also like the Moleskine Watercolor sketchbooks except for the way they’re laid out, bound on the short edge.

I hope that helps. Jana


Thanks so much Jana. I’ve been experimenting, but it seems that all the pens I try bleed when I get even remotely close with my colors. I’ve been using the umm cheap stuff though. I know that doesn’t help. Thank you again. I enjoy reading your blog and seeing your works. Terrific stuff =)


I so admire your willingness to get off of the bad stuff… I do use Splenda and wonder if using just a tad of sugar is a better choice. My daughter just detoxed from sugar and wheat and is feeling so much better. Good luck and stay well.


Oops, I should have engaged a brain cell before replying! You’re right, there is no aspartame in Splenda, I cut Splenda out at the same time I discovered how much aspartame was in everyday foods so I got that a bit mixed up! I wouldn’t go too overboard with the herbal teas either, I know someone who worked in a lab doing tests (this was in the 80’s and 90’s) and there were high levels of pesticides in herbal teas but it wasn’t knowledge that was made available to the public at the time. (And that really is a fact!)


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