01 Oct Sayonara, Sweets.
It is the eve of October 1st, the official start of my month without sugar. Today, as my final adieu to the sweet stuff, I ate a piece of my mother-in-law’s homemade zuchinni bread, two candy bars from the secretary’s dish at work, and a random chocolate cookie that was floating around my cupboard and looked like it needed a good home. As I devoured each sweet morsel, I tried to savor the taste, knowing it would be a month until I indulged again.
Yet, I am hopeful that in a month I will no longer crave the white tiger like I do. Perhaps my body will adjust to more wholesome fare, like dried fruit (which is actually kind of hard to find without sugar), apple butter, honey, agave nectar, and maple syrup. In my direst October predictions, I imagine myself, crazy-eyed, upending an entire bottle of maple syrup into my mouth. Hopefully it does not come to that.
Here’s a list of items I have purchased to prepare myself:
– Pitted dates, the sweetest of the dried fruits. These are my new “dessert.”
– Other dried fruits: cherries, apricots and raisins.
– Crackers, surprisingly hard to find without sugar. My good friend Trader Joe hooked me up, though, after an intense label scrutiny.
– Larabars, the only granola bar-like item I could find without sugar. The processed food demon really shows his glittery white horns in the granola bar aisle. To satisfy my granola bar habit, I may have to make my own at some point this month.
– Cereal, which is nearly impossible to find without sugar. I settled on a brand by Kashi and another by Barbara’s. However, the ingredients of both mention “brown rice syrup” which sounds like sugar to me, but by this time I had spent a ridiculous amount of time reading labels in Trader Joe’s and the usually friendly employees were starting to regard me with less-than-cheerful suspicion, so I stuffed them in my cart anyway. One thing I am learning: processed foods = sugar.
– Unsweetened almond milk
– Natural peanut butter. Unbeknownst to me, many “natural” peanut butters actually have added sugar.
– Plain Greek yogurt that I plan to sweeten with honey, apple butter or agave.
– Basic oil and vinegar salad dressing. My previous favorite dressing had 14 grams of sugar per serving. I should have just melted a Hershey bar on my greens.
As I mentioned earlier, I am not planning to just replace sugar with blue and pink packets of its chemically enhanced cousins, the artificial sweeteners. Those things scare me.
I am also reading two books that are providing background knowledge and insight into the food industry in general: The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollen and Salt Sugar Fat by Michael Moss. Recommended reading if you never want to eat another Chicken McNugget or have ever entertained thoughts of living barefoot and free on a hippie commune. After the first few chapters, I am considering both. But truly, reading the books provides some solid evidence and reasoning upon which to place my anti-sugar flag. And when I’m tempted to hit the bottle of maple syrup at 3:00 a.m., I’m going to need everything I can get to keep me from hopping off the sugarless wagon.
Send wholesome, whole grain, fiber-full thoughts my way, would you?