A Year Of No Sugar: Postscript 3

February 1, 2012 § 4 Comments

I feel like somebody chewed me up and spit me out. I sound like somebody who should consider giving up my three pack-a-day habit, at least while working at the coal mine. I am alternately forlorn and annoyed and impatient to be well again. I feel like I’m out of practice: I haven’t been sick in a while… at least not garden-variety-sick. Not regular, ordinary, I-just-have-a-nasty-headcold-and-deserve-to-be-grouchy sick.

Of course, I did have that mysterious, debilitating something in the fall time, (which to this day remains a mystery, albeit nearly a forgotten one as all symptoms have thankfully subsided, never to return, knock wood.) But honestly, I can’t quite recall the last time I was just plain sick. Sore-throat, chesty-cough, feel-like-a-piece-of-poo sick.

A few of the recent Steve Treats

Although everyone will say I’m crazy, I can’t help but consequently think my immunity has lowered since we went back “on” sugar. Insanity? Maybe. And for all that we’ve really only indulged this month in a fraction of what the average American family would actually consume, fructose-wise. For instance, we went out and bought ketchup and mayo. We’ve eaten at restaurants without putting the menu through the Spanish Inquisition. We’ve gotten take-out pizza and eaten at our local pancake house.

Interestingly, one thing I’ve found is that I really can’t take much sugar anymore. As I alluded to in an earlier post, it doesn’t taste right to me- it goes all funny and saccharine-tasting in my mouth. I can have the pancakes which have a small amount of sugar in the recipe itself, but maple syrup? In all but the most minute, eyedropper-dispensed quantities maple syrup no longer strikes me as palatable. I can order pizza with a tomato sauce that in all likelihood has some amount of sugar in it, but I no longer feel compelled to visit the platter of baklava strategically placed next to the cash register afterwards.

As if to compensate for this fact, my husband Steve has taken to regularly bringing me little treats- candy bars, hot chocolate cubes, bags of tiny cookies- to the degree that I have begun to wonder if he isn’t something of a pusher in this regard. I know, he wants me to relax, to enjoy myself. Especially when I don’t feel good, a little pick-me-up in the form of a Kit-Kat would once have vaporized in about a minute and a half.

Now? Not so much.

But the funny thing is, he won’t have those treats either, for a different reason: in the last two weeks he’s been on a super-strict Paleolithic-inspired diet in an attempt to shed some nagging pounds. In Steve’s deductions, not eating sugar wasn’t enough to compensate for other calorie-grabbing habits such as the nightly drink-or-three, or snacking before bed. On top of this he’s wondering if recent rumors are true that diet soda- which you’ll recall, was his one and only “exception” during our Year of No Sugar- actually can contribute to weight gain every bit as much as sugar can.

Breakfast of Champions Steve Style

So out has gone the soda, ditto the nightly drink. Out has gone the wheat and dairy. Out remains (once again) the sugar. So far he’s lost seven pounds, but it all looks torturous to me: most meals for him consist of eggs, steak or chicken, and water. I know, I know, look who’s talking, right? As a friend of ours recently put it, perhaps our family would do well to try A Year of Abstaining from Abstaining. I’m not sure we’re “meta” enough for that though.

Personally, I wouldn’t mind if we could abstain from having the Mucus Truck parked on my chest. Could we do that? Just a thought.

A Year of No Sugar: Post 28

March 3, 2011 § 1 Comment

I had Walleye for lunch and dinner yesterday- a first for me. Apparently Walleye is very big out here in Minnesota.

But wait, you say, Minnesota? What happened to Philly? What, for that matter, happened to Vermont? Well, life moves pretty fast out here in No-Sugar Land…

So yes, Minnesota. Turns out my Dad’s back problems have reached epic proportions and it’s time for the experts to be superseded by the experts. So he and I have come to Mayo Clinic. I have been told that the Mayo Clinic employs 56,000 people in the city of Rochester, Minnesota, which leaves me speechless. (remember: I live in a thriving Vermont metropolis of around 1,000 people.)

And this also, of course, means more travel: the No Sugar Lifestyle’s no-so-best-friend. But I’m slightly better prepared this time: for one thing I had the foresight to leave the kids at home, with my husband. I have a much easier time with the concept of going hungry myself, than I do with imposing hunger on my children- especially when actual, viable food is staring them right in the face.

Also very helpful is the box of Kashi cereal I packed in my suitcase. One of the biggest lessons I learned on our trip to Philadelphia last week was that the hardest meal of the day for no-sugar is breakfast… hands down. Just take a look at it and you’ll see what I mean: there’s cereal (added sugar), toast or bagels (added sugar), juice (is sugar), waffles (added sugar, and that’s even before the syrup), muffins and danishes (oh, come on!),… Pretty much black coffee and eggs without toast and without bacon are what you get left with. Ew.

Which leads me to a confession to make on this account. Last week on our PA. trip the breakfast situation got so dire that I had to enact the “Philadelphia Breakfast Exemption” which read as follows: Don’t ask about the bread. Just don’t.

Evidently our hotel has never heard of the “complimentary breakfast” phenomenon that is sweeping the rest of the western world, so we ate almost every day at a small diner around the corner that felt very “retro”… two formica u-shaped counters were lined with swiveling chrome stools. Honestly, for the first time in our project I was too intimidated to ask about the sugar content of the menu items… I’m not sure if it was the Russian waitress with three stars tattooed behind her right ear, the two local guys who came in every morning and ordered coke with their French Toast, or the fact that there would simply be nothing left for us to eat but eggs with eggs and eggs on the side, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.

Instead, we stuck to the things we knew were safe: bland unsweetened oatmeal, grapefruit, and of course eggs. Okay, we had whole wheat toast and we had bagels. Judging by my experience at sugar-hunting to date, I’d say there was a really, really good chance there was some amount of sugar in those bread products. Which was why the “Philadelphia Breakfast Exemption” was key to our sanity. I was determined, however, not to let it happen again.

Having already learned my lesson the hard way, this week I felt prepared. I proudly smuggled my cereal into the complimentary breakfast bar this morning, brazenly making use of their styrofoam bowls, plastic spoons and paper napkins (evidently our hotel has never heard of the “catastrophic environmental meltdown” that’s sweeping the rest of the western world) as well as a heap of raisins which were originally betrothed to some instant sugar-containing oatmeal, before being abducted and eloping with 7 Whole Grain Nuggets at the last minute.

So I’m guilty of a shotgun wedding, I’m afraid. Well, at least they didn’t end up with the Walleye.

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