Pour Some Sugar On Me

Did I ever tell you how I quit smoking? Probably not, I never mention being a smoker. Ever. Even in a room of former smokers talking about how they quit, I sort of mmmhmmmed my way through the conversation. Probably because it isn’t that interesting. No failed attempts, no miracle cures, I waited until the day before a long flight  made it through that day by chopping a 6 foot bush in our back yard in to tiny little pieces of rage didn’t smoke before the flight, couldn’t smoke on the flight. Done. Never smoked again. And it has been years. The only flaw in my plan was traveling to a state with legal indoor bar smoking. Brilliant!

I saw the “family quit sugar for a year and you will never believe what happened next” article on facebook a few times and then finally read it. It was interesting for sure, they lost their taste for sweets (obvious) and were sick less (also probably obvious) and the daughter had fewer absences from school (interesting, but possible coincidence). My biggest takeaway is that there is added sugar in everything.

After I read it, I joked that I probably couldn’t quit sugar for an hour. So then I did. And after I quit sugar for an hour, I quit sugar for two hours! And then I was so exhausted from trying not to think about sugar for an hour that I had a gatorade, which has a ton of sugar.  Somehow when I quit drinking soda again (home mostly), I ended up drinking gatorade instead because the grocery store always has it on sale for cheap. It is not a winning swap, at least when I drink soda I drink fake sugar and don’t have the calories.

My husband doesn’t do fake sugar of any kind, so I already have to read labels for that and let me tell you, splenda is in a lot of places that you wouldn’t expect it to be. Granola bars were the weirdest place I found it. And hot cocoa that wasn’t marked as low sugar.  So strange. And don’t get me started on the fact they added aspartame to all of the non-sugar free gums anyways to extend the flavor. My husband, who loves gum, is down to dubble bubble and some, but not all, random jars of gum balls they have at Target seasonally.

So, I started thinking about whether I thought I could give up all added sweeteners forever and the short answer is no. But, I wonder if this is an all or nothing proposition. Getting rid of some has to be better than none, right? I am going to start with beverages – might as well go for the low hanging fruit. I am going to go with sugar and artificial sweeteners to start and leave in honey. Mostly so I can still have my apple cider vinegar and honey drink once a day. It’s medicinal!

And I am also going to start looking at what I bring in to the house. I know a lot of people are shocked by the amount of added sugar in salad dressings and marinades, but I don’t normally buy those except for the occasional creamy one like blue cheese or Caesar. Those I can make. I can go back to my blue cheese vinaigrette (I hadn’t made that in forever and I made it last weekend. Verdict: still delicious).

I’m not sure what to do about things that are supposed to have sugar like bread. Is it really added sweetener if the yeast needs to to rise? I am not sure. The family in the article had one dessert a month and unsurprisingly found them unbearable by the end. Too sweet! Although only the mom found herself debilitated by banana cream pie. Maybe everyone else cheated…

I think for me it is more about teaching myself not to crave sugar (in case you were wondering why I started with the cigarette story), but I’m not really sure if it is an all or nothing cold turkey situation. I think that’s why I’m starting with the extra sugar. If the sugar is supposed to he there (like in bread or barbecue sauce), is it actually additional?

I’m going to frame it as a start bd making better choices. And then deciding if I need to go full hippie later. Plus, I am more interested in making changes for weight-loss and more general healthfulness, so my goals for August are:

  • no added sweetener in beverages (so basically I will be drinking coffee, tea and water.
  • Read labels of the stuff I am buying and educate myself about what I am purchasing that contains additional sweeteners
  • Limit desserts and snacks with sugars. (I already have pretzels and popcorn with no sugar so that is a start)



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