Posted by: Steph | May 25, 2012

Censored by The Man – Challenge update

Apparently my column was a little bit too scandalous and/or risky from a potential sponsorship perspective and was pulled form the site. So it only lives here now. And with no editor in chief waiting on it… I was a slacker.

Just wanted to let you know that I made it through my challenge – did the two weeks with zero Diet Coke and now I am working on the whole moderation thing. It’s a work in progress.

My favourite Diet Cokes? Weekend mornings.

Posted by: Steph | April 3, 2012

Quitting Diet Coke – Week #2

I made it through the first week drinking no more than 5 cans a day. In fact, on most days I only drank four!

Steph Marshall loving Diet Coke

Nothing is better than a fresh, icy, Diet Coke.

Although five cans is still a lot of Diet Coke, decreasing my consumption by more than five cans definitely had an effect, most notably, random sudden exhaustion and I had trouble falling asleep. Did you know that caffeine withdrawal affects the ability to sleep? Irony is fun. I also had moments that I can only describe as feeling as though my internal organs were angry with me. On the plus side, I drank many litres of water and my skin was looking

Oddly I was not craving more than my allotted five, and for some reason I enjoyed them less – except for those I had with meals.

Confession: I may have had six on Sunday because I was a little bit reckless with my consumption on Sunday morning after a particularly fun Saturday night.

On Monday I posted the following of my Facebook wall:

I received 23 answers including the following:

I like the idea of having a signature sound (that of a can opening), and it’s true that when I was in India last fall I did have ongoing Diet Coke supply angst. But will Diet Coke kill me, or worse, kill my brain cells?

I did a little bit of research.
Health Canada, perhaps not known to be cutting edge, tells me that “moderation is key”, but by my calculations also tells me that I can safely consume up to 15 cans a day.

When it comes to the side effects Health Canada states:
“Some people have reported sensitivities to aspartame. However, researchers have been unable to confirm these reports through clinical studies. There is ongoing research investigating this issue.”

The overwhelming body of scientific evidence continues to support the safety of this sweetener, when used according to the provisions of the Food and Drug Regulations.

I wish I had stopped my research then, but deeper research found that Aspartame has been associated with all of the following:
• Bone loss
• Headaches
• Neurological problems
• Irritability
• Gastrointestinal changes
• Weight gain
• Increased sugar cravings
• Cardiovascular disease
• Cancer
• Death

Basically, Diet Coke has been associated with pretty much every health issue you can name. I’m choosing to take this with a grain of salt, as we all know that science on the internet is often flawed, but here are two articles that do a nice job of covering the possible health issues.

1. The Effects Of Aspartame On Health
2. Diet Soda Addiction? How To Get Off The Can

I have to say, I am definitely more conscious with each cracking open of the can.
Next week I am only allowed three a day. As before, I would love to hear your stories and I am open to any suggestions, please comment below or tweet me / follow me at @stephmarshall – use the hashtag #QuittingDC.
Anyone else quitting?

Posted by: Steph | April 3, 2012

10 Cans a day of Diet Coke a day

Confession: I drink over ten cans of Diet Coke a day, and I’ve been doing this for approximately 20 years.

Let’s do a little bit of math together:
The good news is that it wouldn’t fill an Olympic swimming pool (that would take 2,500,000 Litres). The bad news is that it could almost fill an average family sized pool. Oh, and it probably cost me over $30,000.

Other than my Diet Coke consumption, I am fairly healthy. I am energetic; I work out, eat fairly well most of the time, and generally take care of myself. I quit smoking cold turkey about 7 years ago. People often remark that they would expect me to look less healthy considering the amount of Diet Coke I drink. I’ve often though to myself “why quit, it’s not like I’m shooting heroin”.

So why am I quitting?
Health, vanity, and after viewing my calculations above…budget. To clarify, I’m not one of those Aspartame alarmists who believe that Aspartame kills, but I don’t think that I should be drinking eleven cans of anything. Also, I am curious as to how I will feel. I feel less than fantastic every morning and maybe there is a reason (beyond often staying up to late). With regards to vanity, I will admit that my skin looks better when I drink more water, and I have heard tales of people suddenly slimming down for no reason when they gave up my beloved Diet Coke (disclaimer, not tying size to health or beauty standards but I do go up and down a little and my summer clothes look better on me a few pounds lighter).

In the next few weeks I will be researching the health issues surrounding diet cola, as well as chronicling my experience weaning off. I’m also hoping to hear from you guys, and include your stories. Have some of you quit Diet Coke? Do you have tips, tricks or stories to tell? Does anyone want to quit with me?

I have a 5 week plan: I will start with 5 diet colas a day for the first week (that’s cutting my intake in half) and then go down by one can a day each week. At the end I will have 2 weeks completely diet cola free, and then after that, maybe I can have one once in awhile… If I can learn to embrace moderation.

I would love to hear your stories and I am open to any suggestions, please comment below or tweet me / follow me at @stephmarshall – use the hashtag #QuittingDC. Does anyone out there want to take this challenge with me? Even if you are trying to quit something else?

Wish me luck. I’m a little scared.

Posted by: Steph | March 30, 2012

Quitting Diet Coke

I’m just experimenting with Hootsuite and WordPress.

Check out my first (non-anonymous) column for iVillage Canada… update – that is no longer on iVillage Canada.

But it is now here.

Posted by: Steph | January 3, 2012

Shadow People in the Empty Spaces

Some excellent art on an abandoned building on Havelock that I walk past often. Unfortunately it has since been painted over with plain white paint. For no apparent reason.

I’m halfway through writing a new song and I’m working on incorporating space and quiet into it. This is different because I feel that there is a touch of impatience and insistence that characterizes a lot of my music. I find this new song to be verging on frightening, because it feels as though I might be too easy to see unguarded in the empty space.

Posted by: Steph | December 19, 2011

Defining Grey


I use words a lot. I talk and I write songs and I often process thoughts and feelings with phrases that crash into my head.

I’m going to try to play with images a little more now that I have my fancy new iPhone. Without relying on words. Ok maybe a few words. But not enough to leave no room for interpretation.

It’s impossible to define every shade of grey so maybe I should stop trying.

Posted by: Steph | December 17, 2011

Overt Symbolism.

Posted by: Steph | December 14, 2011


Ron Hawkins and Stephen Stanley rock at GraffitisRon Hawkins and Stephen Stanley rock at Graffitis

Even rockstars look cooler with Hipstamatic.

I’ve been so spoiled with so much live music recently. It’s crazy how much amazing music is happening every night in this city. And I may need to start paying rent at the Dakota.

Posted by: Steph | December 5, 2011

Speaking of sex…


Have I mentioned that I have a band now? I’m the lead blonde in “Stalking Irony”. I know, the name is a little cerebral, but we do have a tendency to go there. And there is no such thing as too many syllables…

We had a show on Saturday, and we had the honour of sharing the stage with a Canadian National Treasure: Voyageur – otherwise known as the Six String Nation Guitar.

Steph Marshall playing the Six String Nation Guitar

Steph Marshall playing the Six String Nation Guitar

It sounds as good as it looks. And it made Viv a little more pregnant…

Thanks to everyone who came out – it was a treat to have so many new faces in the crowd and I hope you had fun.

One more thing – She’ll expose you, when she snows you, even… glad you guys were paying attention.

Posted by: Steph | December 2, 2011

Going Viral in Analog


For four years this form was hanging in the stairwell in my well trafficked office building with one name on it. Four years. So I added the next two names. And then it went viral. And now I giggle every time I see it. Not that I giggle.


Stairwell #4

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