I am jonesing right now. All I can think about is getting my daily, maybe twice, OK maybe three times daily fix.
Sugar! I’m talking about sugar. Jenn and I are cutting it out with a few exceptions. This is a big deal for me. Dessert was a nightly ritual when I was a child. Nothing fancy, just boxed cakes and Betty Crocker chocolate icing. Prepackaged cookies and tubs of ice cream. Then there was Kool-Aid. My brother and I would find the measuring cup and use the Raisin Bran motto of “Two Scoops”. Two cups of sugar that is, not raisins. If I remember correctly we drank a pitcher a day, especially in the summer.
The last few years sugar and the goods we baked it into became refined. Jenn developed baking skills that matched, and many times surpassed, the Atlanta bakeries we tried. The last year was a never-ending supply of treats. When she got an ice cream maker for her birthday we made the finest vanilla cream (with vanilla beans and homemade vanilla extract), chocolate ice cream with a hint of fennel, and apple pie ice cream with homemade snicker-doodle cookies added to simulate crust. Cakes, cookies, cinnamon rolls, muffins, pies. All home-made. Nearly all organic. All delicious.
I’m listening to the audio book “Why We Get Fat” by Gary Taube. The science, he says, states our brains treat sugar the way it treats cocaine, alcohol, and cigarettes. No surprise there. It explains my ability to find room to eat dessert at any time, regardless of how much I’ve already eaten. Working in an office doesn’t help. More times than I can count I’d eat breakfast only to discover someone brought donuts to work. My will power evaporated. I told myself it didn’t matter since “it’s a treat, it’s not like I do this everyday.” To make matters worse my co-workers commented on how healthy I ate. That’s not the bad part. The problem was I believed them. So the deserts, the donuts, the little candies in someone’s treat jar felt like rewards. Treats for good behavior after eating a salad. I never gained weight eating them figured “what’s the harm?”
If everything I’ve read is true, plenty of harm.
I am a week into sugar withdrawal. My eyes feel recessed. I catch myself scanning our pantry for any treat to silence the inner sugar junkie. The other day Jenn offered me a Hershey’s kiss but I turned it down. Too slippery a slope. After eating one I probably would hunt down the bag and eat the rest until silver foil and tiny ribbons were strewn all over the table.
On the plus side I’ve convinced myself the timing couldn’t be better. Penelope is young enough that diet alterations won’t be greeted with protestation. She’s not going to ask “Where’s the jelly?” or complain our cereal isn’t sweet enough, though I look forward to her reaction reading this one day. I question whether establishing good eating habits at such a young age will translate into good eating habits when she’s older. What teen chooses carrots over cupcakes when metabolism is running at full steam. Nevertheless I’m hopeful she appreciates good food and makes choices based on nutrition instead of impulse.
Until then I’ll discover what’s more powerful; temptation or determination.