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106. Just a Spoonful of Unlicked Sugar

Every since I can remember I’ve loved sweets, sugar, treats and dessert. Any moment or emotion can be lamented or celebrated with my crystalline friend. And so it was with trepidation, skepticism and melancholy that I ventured into the unknown territory of “sugar-free” for five days. It was a “clean eating” challenge and part of it was to forgo the sweet stuff for the entire time (in addition to preparing each meal from scratch, tons of fruits and veg, lean protein…you know the drill). I had never gone more than a few hours without some form of jolting beverage or morsel entering my body. Even when I had gestational diabetes, I liberally sprinkled fake sugar of varying types upon my food and into my coffee mug.

First morning of “Embracing Savory,” I faced the brutal and cruel coffee beans upon the spoon. I inhaled their earthy scent. I ground them with a grimace and I made one cup of coffee for my beloved. Sweet vanilla creamer swirled into his cup. Cane sugar melted into the liquid gold. I sulked. Because to me, coffee is not coffee unless it’s sweet…and I mean REALLY sweet. Hurt your teeth sweet. I could not drink black coffee. I made this smoothie instead.



I bypassed my normal toast (who knew my “health whole grain bread” had brown sugar in it?) and cooked up a scrumptious vegetable omelet. The caffeine-withdrawal headache started closer to lunch. There was a physical ache and obsession with wanting some sort of treat. This would continue for a few days.

And that, my friends, was August 18th. Seven weeks have passed. And despite my initial cringing and eye-rolling at the notion that my desire and near-constant thinking of sweets would decrease, I do not think of sweets very often. I have attended several birthday parties and passed on each cupcake. I stand back amazed at my response and the fact that the jolt of sugar doesn’t beckon with the magnetic prowess it had for so long.

Am I sugar-free 100% of the time? Nope. And I think this is okay. Last month visitors came with a half-gallon of rich creamy vanilla premium ice-cream. The kind that nestles within a towel and along with a spoon can make any television show much more enjoyable. It sat in my freezer for weeks. The thought crossed my mind that it would be the first frost-bitten ice cream in my entire life. But one night my aunt baked an apple crisp. Brown-sugar caramel apples with a crunchy buttery oat topping. I passed at dinner but it was in the fridge the next day and sounded delicious. I gently placed a small scoop of ice cream upon a warm mound of apple crisp. The spoon clinked upon the glass. I relished every single apples slice, each hint of cinnamon and each luxurious moment of the dessert.

That was the only scoop I would enjoy from the 1/2 gallon. I served it a few more times to the family and even caught myself throwing an unlicked serving spoon into the sink. Unlicked. Crazy town, I tell ya. Frosting from the girls’ birthday cupcakes got wiped off instead of licked, too.

It is a new world with less sugar but more sweet. Fruit tastes like candy. Donuts are alluring but not enough to eat (a box of them sat uneaten on my dining table for several days).

I am not a sugar-free zealot but I’m craving free. There will be days when a scoop of ice-cream sounds spectacular but I predict very few days when the entire pint is wrapped in a dish towel and I curl on the couch with a spoon to polish it off.