I recently went through a book with my sister in law that I felt might help me to become more spiritually and mentally disciplined. The book issued a 30 day challenge of various tasks, one of which was to give up sugar for the month. Knowing I’ve developed a bit of a sweet tooth since becoming a mom, I was excited about the challenge, but also felt it would be pretty easy since we don’t eat that much sugar anyway. Eric (Mr. Sweet tooth himself) even said he’d take the challenge with me!
It’s a little long, so I’m spacing it out over a few posts, but here’s my journal of what went down over the 30 days:
I had no idea when I planned this challenge that my darling, beloved grandmother would pass away two days before it began, that I would be at her bedside in the ER, dealing with nightmares of people dying, and struggling to replace the image of her last breaths with the grandmother I knew I to be full of life and spunk. No sugar today, but it’s harder than I thought.
Today I should elaborate on the semantics of no sugar for the purpose of this fast.
Two years ago we cut the super unhealthy refined sugars (white sugar, brown sugar, raw sugar) out of our home, so this wasn’t about that. Instead we were focusing on cutting out all sweeteners that we use for the point of being a sweetener. That means no sucanat, maple syrup, or honey, the natural sweeteners we depend on. But we can still eat fruit and drink juice.
One exception we are making is my soy milk. Because Corban can’t handle dairy in my breastmilk, I drink soy milk. Unfortunately, the only soy milk we can get is sweetened. So we determined that in order to meet my calcium needs, this was an allowable food. There has to be at least one exception right? We can’t be total tyrants!
Just starting out, the biggest change I’m recognizing is that this is really affecting our breakfasts. We tend to be pretty boring breakfast people. I like multigrain toast with peanut butter and honey, Eric likes oatmeal with maple syrup or sucanat, and we both have sweetened tea or coffee. We’ll switch it up every once in a while, but for the most part, we like to stay in our comfortable breakfast rut.
I am now eating cold cereal (which I haven’t really had for breakfast regularly in over 10 years), and Eric is doing peanut butter toast, no honey. It’s strange people. Really, after however many hundreds of days of the same breakfasts, we are breaking out of the molds and it feels like the whole morning routine is thrown off!
Another silly little change I’ve realized, is no more lemon drops. A few months after Corban was born, I got a bit of a cough and Eric got me some lemon drops to put by the bed to suck on in the middle of the night if I got a coughing fit while nursing the baby. They worked really well. Too well in fact, because I apparently have developed a phantom, subconscious cough that has me feeling like a need a couple lemon drops to “coat my throat” to be able to sleep at night.
That’s right, I need candy to go to sleep.
Is that not the craziest? I’m embarrassed to even write that down! Guess we won’t be buying any more lemon drops.
Oh, and by the way, I’m also giving up tv for the month. We don’t have cable or anything, but I do watch tv shows online and suspect that I am wasting more time that way than I realize. I honestly feel like this will be harder than the sugar because it’s been what I do while nursing, folding clothes (baby=mega laundry), or cooking. I’m thinking that I might get a lot more done without it though. Here’s hoping!
I was hungry! I walked into my in-laws house today, two hours past lunch time and needing energy to nurse, and the box of donut holes was literally right in front of me. I popped one in my mouth without even thinking.
Eric said,”what are you doing???”
“What?” I asked him.
“Yeah so?” I was savoring the sweet glaze that still lingered on my taste buds, waiting for the quick rush of energy I hoped would soon follow.
“We’re not eating sugar!”
“Oh.” I looked down at my mentally disembodied hand that was willfully reaching toward the box for another nugget of sweetness. “I just forgot!” I exclaimed as I mentally slapped the errant hand away.
I passed on the cake pops, soda, and s’mores that were available the rest of the night, and ate potato chips instead. I don’t have a problem.
Today was Eric’s turn to slip up, at my parents’ house. It seems like this would be a good place for some in-law jokes, but we don’t know any because we both actually like each others’ parents.
I was in the kitchen helping with dinner when Eric came in.
“Okay, I did it.”
“I had a chocolate. I forgot too.”
“It happens.” I may have been smiling a tiny bit more when I went back to work, not happy he slipped up necessarily, but happy I wasn’t the only one. Not sure that’s the best attitude, but it was mine at the time.
After dinner, we had berries. Everyone else dined on angel food cake topped with ice cream and whipped cream, oh, and a few berries. After clearing the table, I walked in to the kitchen to find Eric holding a slice of angel food cake in his hand and eating it like a piece of pizza.
“What are you doing?” I asked.
Sound familiar? I now know it as the battle cry of a sugar free soldier, feeling betrayed by his comrade and wishing he too was satisfying his craving for sweet.
“What? It’s just bread.”
Incredulously, I pointed to the container it came in, which read Angel Food CAKE.
“No look.” He pointed to another label. “Contains eggs, milk and wheat.”
Confused, I looked at the label and found the nutritional counts. “No babe, it has 25 grams of sugar per slice.” I quickly realized that he had read the allergen warning, not the ingredients list. You can’t really blame him. The need for sugar can apparently take over your eyes as easily as it takes over your hand.
In my defense, it was 3 hours past when I’d planned to go to bed, I’d rocked a crying baby for most of those three hours, I didn’t get the relaxing bath in the sparkling tub my husband had kindly cleaned for me, and I was struggling to edit the video slideshow for my grandma’s memorial in between wracking sobs. No not the best of nights.
Eric was wearing Corban and walking up and down the dark hallway trying to get him to sleep. I needed to get back to working on the video, but I didn’t feel like I had the emotional or physical energy. I wanted coffee, but no way was I going to caffeinate my already sleep fighting baby. So I started dreaming of a decaf chocolate blended coffee. That could be fine, except my corn syrup free chocolate syrup is chock full of, you guessed it, sugar.
I decided it didn’t matter, warned Eric I’d be using the blender (neglecting to tell him why of course) and whipped up a frothy glass of goodness.
Somehow, the bag of ice id finished off, that we’d bought weeks earlier, had tiny shards of clear plastic in the bottom. After sucking several of them up through my straw and spitting them out, I decided this was a sign from God that maybe I didn’t REALLY need the coffee.
I sadly dumped the rest down the drain and rinsed away the evidence.