Coulda Woulda

28 May

I have been keeping a tally of all of the sugar indulgences I would have partook in, if only. Anytime I had a craving serious enough to notice or free sweets were available and I had to turn them down, I took note. Some of the days have dates, others don’t. Here’s what I’ve recorded so far…

January:

1 tsp sugar (coffee)

1 caramel + 4 Fruit Punch “Frooties” (leftover party candy at my house)

January 10th:

Brownie

January 15th:

Brownie

1 tsp sugar (coffee)

Large bucket of free M&Ms at work – would have eaten the equivalent of 1 regular bag of M&Ms each day they were available = 3 bags total

January 19th:

Free birthday dessert at a local restaurant (Doolittle’s): Slice of Mudslide Pie or something equally awful

Piece of chocolate cake from mom for birthday

Hard Cider at a friend’s birthday party (The bar only had sweetened, not dry, hard cider available)

Milk chocolate truffle at another friend’s birthday party + one piece of liquor infused chocolate candy

Cake at work for employee appreciation (Coulda but not sure if woulda. Cake isn’t my favorite, so even if I had been eating sugar at the time, I’m not sure I would have had any.)

Estimated imaginary sugar total: 1 + 2/3 cups

February:

Piece of chocolate cake at sister’s house

Cupcake at work

Cake at work for coworker’s birthday (Coulda but not sure if woulda)

Doughnut at work

Estimated imaginary sugar total: 1/4 cup

March:

Wild Berry Popsicle

Dessert bar of some sort from Co-op (My mom wanted to buy me a “treat”, so I got a La Croix soda instead)

Jam on local wheat bread during brunch at in-laws’

Dark chocolate “Mega Chunks” at cousin’s house

Cake at work for coworkers birthday (Coulda but not sure if woulda)

Chocolate chip cookie (store-bought) at friend’s BBQ

March 21st – I introduced dark chocolate back into my vice-less life

Estimated imaginary sugar total (including actual dark chocolate intake): 3/4 cups

April:

Homemade Easter brownies courtesy of my cousin (although they looked very/possibly too sweet)

Marshmallow eggs in a basket at my grandma’s house

Hollow Easter bunnies (Last year, I bought one of these everyday for a week or two after Easter when all of the candy was on sale.  I probably would have done the same thing this year if given the option.  I LOVE hollow Easter bun buns.  They are delicious and really satisfying to eat.  Russell Stover knows how to make some damn fine milk chocolate.  Ok, I’m done talking about it. I swear. But I’m clearly not over it…

Chippers at work (3-5 at least, because I am an asshole and would take more than my fair share)

Big ass carrot cupcake with cream cheese frosting from a local doughnut shop (Sandy’s)

Estimated imaginary sugar total (including actual dark chocolate intake): 1 + 3/4 cups

May:

Cheesecake bar at work

Store-bought chocolate chip cookie at BBQ

Brownies with frosting (at least 2) – made for Derek’s birthday

Derek’s shared birthday dessert at Doolittle’s: Chocolate molten cake with coffee ice cream

Estimated imaginary sugar total (including actual dark chocolate intake): 1 cup

Grand estimated total of lost sugar opportunities (+ actual dark chocolate consumption) = 5.4 cups

I have spared myself from almost 5 + 1/2 cups of sugar over the past 5 months.  Sounds more menacing when put into absolute terms like that.  However, when you average it out, that’s less than 2 tsp per day.  Interesting.  I have to admit I was expecting way more drama. Two tsp per day is less than the most strict recommended daily amount: http://www.cnn.com/2014/03/06/health/who-sugar-guidelines/index.html.

On the other hand, these amounts were mostly calculated from sweet dreams.  In reality, I probably would have eaten more sugar than that, especially considering the cumulative craving effects of multiple indulgences. In other words… eat sugar, crave sugar. Not to mention that eating too much fructose in one sitting causes health issues regardless of total sugar consumed over a longer time frame.

Still, it’s interesting.

I came very close to throwing in the towel on this sugar-free challenge this past weekend. While at a friend’s lake cabin, I came face to face with a dish so near and dear to my heart, I was ready to trade in my Methadone (dark chocolate) for the real thing…

Rhubarb Crisp

Add to list: Giant Slice of Rhubarb Crisp (x2)

I have a thing with rhubarb desserts. They scream summer like iced tea and Rainier cherries.  They turn a sour garden staple into an endorphin rush.

I decided that I must at least try it or I might lose my mind.  And so I did.  I challenged myself to 3 (reasonable) bites. I rationalized that I’ve gone almost half a year eating less than a tsp of added sugar per day and that now would be a great time to see how my taste buds would respond. You know, whatever I had to tell myself to get that rhubarb crisp in my face STAT & guilt-free  reduced.

It was overly sweet, but still something I would have gladly kept eating. As per tradition, the emotional connection obsession proved to be the biggest motivator. After those 3 small but potent bites, I saw how easy it would be to fall back into the “Fuck it, let’s do this” scenario.  That situation where I would shove several more pieces into my mouth until I had a proper sugar buzz. I’m an addict for life I guess.

I also drank 3 1/2 cans of Diet Coke over the holiday weekend. I had planned to cut out all natural and artificial sweeteners for the year but decided that “What happens at the lake, stays at the lake”…within reason. Sugar and sugar substitutes both have their downfalls.  I rarely drink Diet Coke, so I’m not worried about long-term adverse health effects. I am mostly concerned with keeping the sugar demons at bay, and sweet tastes tempt the beast.

Yesterday, after my oh so crazy weekend of 3 bites of rhubarb crisp and 3 1/2 Diet Cokes, I was craving a brownie in the worst way.  In general, after getting over the initial withdrawal, my cravings for sweets since the beginning of the experiment have largely been environmentally/emotionally based.  But that brownie craving was a biochemical demand that took every last shred of willpower for me to ignore.  Just as I suspected, I am very sensitive to sugar.

Essentially, sugar is an abusive ex-boyfriend whose manipulative powers seduce me into a state of nostalgia, allowing me to forget the damage that’s been done in the interest of momentary bliss. Distance is the safest course. Once I give an inch, he’s everywhere…calling my name…reminding me of the good times…promising things will be different this time around.

I sure do miss you, my beloved

Dammit sugar! If you liked it, then you should of put a ring on it! Oh, never mind. I was getting a little carried away with my analogy. I guess Beyonce doesn’t really apply here. Sorry, bae.

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