Monday, December 3, 2012

Sugar Blues

Dear Margaret,

I made it through the first week. That is, assuming I don't break down and have a pint of ice cream in the hour before bed. This morning I found myself rationalizing. I'd made it a week, no problem. Why not do one week instead of three? I could do three weeks, if I wanted to. I just don't want to. And I recognized the voice of every addict - I can quit any time, I just don't want to.

A big part of this is proving to myself that I can do it, that I can go 21 days without sugar. I believe I can, but can I really, when it comes right down to it? Amos says of course I can, if only because I'm way too stubborn to quit. I've only recently stopped finishing books I don't like.

I've run into a few problems though. The first is the completely arbitrariness of it. For example, I often make a fruit smoothie for breakfast. Really just fruit and some juice whirred to death in the Vitamix. This time of year I like to use apples, pears, cider and a piece of crystallized ginger for spice. Oh yeah, and flax seeds and fish oil for health. The crystallized ginger was out because it had sugar on it so I tossed in 2 dates instead and the smoothie was so sweet I could barely finish it. But dried fruit is okay and white sugar isn't. I made the rules myself. The next day I rinsed off the crystallized ginger and used it. So there, self.

And the idea that I can have honey in my tea in the morning but not at night? Arbitrary with an A. Alcohol is okay, even though it's all sugar? Arbitrary with a capital A.

The other problem is boredom. What's for dessert? Well, you want dried mangoes or raisins? Bore-ing. I've realized that what gets me excited about cooking is desserts. I'm not moved by stews and braises, exotic ways to prepare salmon or tilapia, or pasta con funghi. I'll do it, I even like it, but it doesn't bring me pleasure the way that baking does. It's not a replacement for baking, it's a complement to it.

I'm hoping that I will learn more things about myself through the process. I'm curious to see how I will feel about sugar at the end. I don't anticipate losing weight or feeling physically different because I don't think I eat that much sugar (and I can quit anytime I want).

It's an emotional and psychological challenge. And I'm sticking with it!

Love, Elise

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