Posts tagged sugar
Posts tagged sugar
Based on a feature in this month’s Martha Stewart Living* and an endorsement from my friendly local cheesemonger, I bought myself fancy goat milk caramels today from Big Picture Farm in Vermont. They’re “birthday caramels” except that I bought a very large number that will hopefully last beyond my actual birthday.
Coincidentally, about five minutes after clicking the big “buy now” button, I came across this article about how sugar is toxic. We sort of knew that already, right? But this is the final nail in the coffin.
And of course, I read the article and immediately thought:
I love sugar. I seriously do. And I have been eating a very large amount of sugar lately, what with the lack of sleep and being home all day and the insane ravenous hunger that comes with breastfeeding.**
It’s not like I don’t consume other things that are toxic. I eat bacon, and sausages, and drink alcohol. I am not above a bag of sour cream and onion potato chips. So I’m not about to go on some Paleo bender and cut sugar from my diet entirely. But in absence of real data on how much sugar a person can eat safely, I probably need to cut back.
After I eat my birthday caramels.
* Which I love. I understand that some loath Martha Stewart, but I just adore her in all her whacked-out domesticity-on-steroids glory. It’s also worth understanding that Martha Stewart Living is the home equivalent of the “no-makeup look” that involves eight different skin lotions, potions, and powders, plus two eyeshadows, a lipstick, and a three-part eyelash procedure. It is an elaborate charade. I just happen to enjoy reading about it, and, on rare occasion, participating.
** There is a very real possibility that I will have lost the pregnancy weight in the first six weeks of my maternity leave, only to gain a big portion of it back in the latter six weeks as a result of poor eating habits. That would be disappointing.
There was a day last week in which I ate one butter cookie approximately every twenty minutes. All day. That kind of sugar consumption is simply not sustainable. Even if I could afford it, there are not enough Pilates classes in the world to excavate a waist out of that diet.
I enjoyed it while it lasted, but it is time to cut back to a normal human number of cookies. Or peppermint bark. Or chocolates. Or whatever delicious sugary thing you have stashed around your house. I’m not saying that we’re not going to have cookies anymore. I’m not even arguing that we should stop having breakfast cookies, because those are wonderful. But, you know, let’s bring some moderation to this here game.
It’s just really hard. Here’s my advice:
1. First, I don’t go cold turkey. I don’t have it in me. I just do not. I suspect that if you are the kind of person who can go cold turkey on this, you are also not the kind of person who needs tips on weaning yourself off the cookies. Moving on.
2. Cookies cannot live on the counter. They need to be out of sight.
3. Things get easier once you’ve eaten all the good cookies. I mean, harder, when you realize there are no good cookies left, but then easier.
4. My fill-in Pilates teacher was telling us about how this year she threw away the cookies. I mean, I guess that works. But, again, if you have that kind of self-restraint you’re probably not finding this post particularly useful. And you probably have committed to a fitness regime, such as Pilates, in a serious way. Good for you. The rest of us are going to keep going here.
5. Medjool dates. There’s something about the richness and sweetness and chewiness of dates that sort of fulfills a sugar craving.
6. Dried apricots. Not as good as dates, but pretty good. Use caution, too many can give you some GI-related grief.
7. I cut out the sugar from at least my first cup of tea.
8. Real breakfast. I know, everyone is always telling you to eat a real breakfast but seriously, it is very helpful if you are not hungry mid-morning. Eggs are good here, as are steel cut oats. Something hearty that’s not super sweet.
9. Tea helps in mid-afternoon, as does drinking a lot of water.
10. Magazines are always telling me to eat fruit, and you can try that, but I just don’t find it particularly satisfying when I want a butter cookie. I really like green pears, though, so I bought a bunch and we’re going to see how it works.
Godspeed, friends! We’re going to get through this!
Tea sans sugar continues to be fine.
Plain greek yogurt with sweet delicious fruit also continues to be fine.
I have eaten an extraordinarily large number of dates today, which are delicious, and also an excellent source of dietary fiber!
Lunch today ended with a large amount of ice cream (what kind of sad, cold, joy-less person rejects ice cream in the shape of a lamb on Easter?) with a slice of angel food cake, accompanied by both chocolate and raspberry sauces.*
I am not sure I can afford to continue eating dates at the current rate and still pay rent.**
Could go either way:
I didn’t top my oatmeal with sugar or honey or maple syrup. I went instead for bananas, chopped walnuts, and a small handful of chocolate chips. I have been made to believe that chocolate contains antioxidants, so I’m going to say that’s a wash.
* You’ll want to get a piece of the angel food cake, plus a little bit of both sauces, and then swab it around in the melting ice cream for the perfect bite.
** Dave (reading over shoulder): How much are the dates?
Me: Really expensive.
Dave: Oh. [pause] Sweetheart. [pause] I don’t like that.
Did you read the article in the New York Times Magazine this week about sugar? The gist of it is that sugar* is toxic and going to kill you. As much as I wanted to dismiss it as the latest yuppie hoo-ha, the argument was pretty compelling.
Any time I read an article like this, I do a mental calculation of the extent to which it applies to me (also known as justification of my current lifestyle). On the plus side: I don’t drink soda or fruit juices, I cook a fair amount which limits processed foods and gives me a pretty good sense of what I’m eating, we don’t tend to keep cookies and candies in the house, so I have to make an effort to go get them when I want them. On the minus side: I often do make the effort to go get ice cream or cookies, I am an ardent supporter of the dessert course, I have honey in my tea every morning, I have a weakness for sugary flavored lattes (thought I don’t drink them even close to every day), and if, God forbid, Dave and I ever break up, I would consider marrying whoever makes the almond croissant at Standard Baking. This mental calculation was not as successful as I hoped it might be.
A better person with more self-restraint might decide to give up all added sugars. I am not that person.
I did decide to try having my tea unsweetened in the mornings. I have done this in the past and know from experience that I can adjust to this, though it takes a few days. Also in the spirit of not-dying, I didn’t sprinkle my yogurt with brown sugar this morning.
The tea was fine, I’ll get used to it (by the way, two ways to avoid having super bitter tea: buy slightly higher quality tea— something closer to a whole leaf tea than a pulverized leaf-powder tea— and don’t over-steep your tea).
The plain yogurt sans brown sugar was great, but was also topped with a really sweet and ripe mango, so I don’t know that this is exactly a prime example of a new more austere lifestyle.
We’ll see how it goes.
* Added sugars, with high fructose corn syrup being included.