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Monday, February 29, 2016

Why I'm Giving Up on Giving Up Sugar

(Yep, it's the same cookie picture as the last blog entry. Yes, I'm that lazy, but yes, there's a method to my madness.)

So, regular readers will know that this household has a sweet tooth bar none. We love our sugar around here. But, buying cookies (our favorite sugary indulgence) is expensive, not to mention the fact that store-bought cookies typically are full of HFCS and GMOs.

So, I thought we could curb our sugar intake and clean up what we do eat by making a rule that we have to bake any desserts we want to consume. I figured we would be sure we were consuming organic ingredients when we did indulge, and we'd have the power of pure laziness on our side creating cookie-free days when no one felt like baking. We'd be skinny and rich. Win/win.

Of course, I was seduced into thinking that this would be easy because of all of those people on Facebook. You know: your friends who never really liked sugar in the first place.  The ones who post annoyingly perky little status updates like, "After three days with no sugar, my cravings have completely gone away! And if I do want a snack, I just munch on a few kale chips!"

Who the heck goes three days without sugar, I ask you?

These are the people who write diet books. You know the books I mean. These are the books that say things like, "Whenever you are tempted by a bowl of ice cream, have an apple instead!" I'm not arguing that the sentiment is wrong, but I do think that the authors of statements like that have never actually had an ice cream craving. If they had, they would realize that one could eat bushels of apples - which are crisp and tart and have a satisfying crunch - and never make a dent in a craving for ice cream, which is smooth and cold and fatty. It's two different things, people.

But, I was seduced by the siren song of people who suggested that craving sugar was some sort of biological error. Their logic holds that human beings really don't need refined sugar, so within a couple of days, we will revert to our perfect paleo-selves and begin to heal from our addiction. Come to think of it, these are the same people who post those memes that compare the effect of sugar on the body to that of cocaine. As if mankind has ever come up with any drug that rivals sugar for me! Come over here, kid, I'll set you up with a Reese's Cup.  First one's free.

So anyway, our experiment has been at least partially successful. We have succeeded in shifting our sugar consumption to desserts made with organic ingredients and pasture-raised eggs that don't break our budget. We've also managed to improve our communication skills, as we now can have a complete debate about whose turn it is to bake just by giving one another significant looks.

But the sugar cravings have not stopped. Maybe that's because we never make it to the fabled three day mark when all desire for sugar magically disappears. Within 48 hours of being without homemade cookies, we're pretty much eating the chocolate chips out of the bag. Maybe we haven't found exactly the right apple that replicates ice cream or the right kind of kale chip that subs for a brownie.

Or maybe that's just the way we're wired. It's like giving up meat. I know I hate meat; I make myself eat it once a week for the protein, but if I had my druthers, I'd never touch another piece of it. It's this dislike that makes me reticent to call myself a vegetarian; it seems that I shouldn't get points for doing something that I want to do anyway. Maybe life would be easier if I had been born hating sweet stuff and loving prime rib.

But that's a subject for another day. If you need me, I'll be over here in the corner, eating my kale instead of beef and eagerly awaiting dessert. I'll also be writing my diet book, which will tell you how to curb your pulled pork cravings with a nice bowl of ice cream.
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