All because of a crepecake that I tackled to give a French twist to the inexorable Thanksgiving turkey.
I adopted my most unphased expression, and made two hundred and fifty crêpes in three minutes, letting the guests look at me with wide eyes (I flip the crêpes very, very high, making them turn over themselves three times, all while acting as blasé as Karl Lagerfeld waving after a Chanel show (“Yes, evidently my ease makes an impression on you – but I do not care one second about impressing you.”), black sunglasses lacking.
Then, I naturally auto-convinced myself, in the sluggish spirit of Thanksgiving, that making my own whipped cream just wasn’t necessary. So I bought a can of whipped cream and bam!!! We made the crepe tower all together.
Oh, come on now guys, I never said that I was Gwyneth Paltrow…
We devoured the thing in three seconds, it was delicious, especially with all the applause from the guests public, and then, suddenly, I felt like I was dying.
It was as if crepecake sugar was attacking me.
First of all, I felt really, really thirsty.
Then, I was too hot, it was as if I had vertigo.
Then, I really, really, really felt like going to bed. It was 4 o’clock in the afternoon.
And that’s exactly what I did, not without slimy, diabetic nightmares. F#$@%ing whipped cream from the supermarket. Seriously. Gross.
I got up, finger raised in the air, announcing to anyone who wanted to listen:
“This week, I’m off sugar” No one dared to contradict me.
This isn’t a mystery for anyone who knows me; I have always been a bit hooked on sugar. I love chocolates, caramels, cookies, and I contracted the habit (totally stupid habit) of telling myself that a meal “can’t be complete without a sugary touch! No? Shall we share a dessert?” < —- = If you eat at a restaurant with me.
I’ve always thought that one day I would have to calm down. We know today the damages that refined sugar causes, to our metabolism, our skin, our teeth and especially the incredible power it has over us. It seems as though sugar is like a drug.
So – whether it’s true or not, after this attack, it was time to do a check-up with myself to see if I could go without the taste of sugar. It wasn’t a question of going on a diet, not even get rid of all carbs. No, the idea was just to see my degree of dependence to the taste of sugar.
Here is a small review of my week (or rather as you guessed because I absolutely didn’t stick to it), of my five days without sugar.
Sunday, December 1st
Pshh, so easy!
I replace my jam tartines with plain oatmeal (gross), my piece of chocolate at the end of lunch with a plain yogurt (pshh depression) and I allow myself to have a tiny glass of wine at dinner (—> pure sugar passes directly into the bloodstream, but we said that I was going to concentrate on the taste of sugar for the moment.)
And we’re all in agreement that a good glass of red wine isn’t sweet, but is really actually enough to make the chocolate craving go away (that’s called compensation, right there, Gaga).
Went to bed early, because the evening is when I get the munchies for sweets.
A book (The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, have you read it?) and then to bed. What a glamorous life, seriously.
Conclusion Day #1: Easy, breezy, beautiful.
Monday, December 2nd
Pshhh, so eas… Help!!!!
Plain oatmeal for breakfast tastes like cardboard; it makes me want to cry. I go back to my tartines on whole wheat bread – organic peanut butter (= not filled with sugar), this makes me happy because I love peanut butter more than anything, yes, sometimes even more than chocolate.
Ok, and I also eat pasta for lunch, that’s a lot of slow burning carbs, but remember, we decided that was okay. I slightly overindulge in coffee, which is the only savior at the end of my lunch to send the message to my brain that my lunch IS FINISHED AND THAT THE PIECE OF CHOCOLATE IS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN.
Two coffees later, I get up from my desk in sleepwalking mode to walk to the kitchen. When I finally realize that my habits have taken over my willpower, I have one hand in the “cupboard of wonders”, yes, we all have one, you know, the one where you find the chocolate.
I stop myself right on time, but it’s super difficult – especially since my three million coffees have made me restless. Bad move with the coffee. I miss sugar until the evening.
Conclusion Day #2: Ah yes, Ok. I really am addicted to sugar, in fact. It wasn’t just a joke.
Tuesday, December 3rd
“Baaaaah, actually, it’s super easy to live without sugar!”
I explain at the Studio, swallowing a ladle of peanut butter. I start to take up other bad habits to compensate. It’s a bit stupid, but when I speak to Scott, he explains that it’s not that bad to overcompensate sometimes.
“Ok,” I say to him, reopening the container of peanut butter. “Can you buy a bottle of red when you come home tonight?”
At 11am I decide to drink a latte (my half shot) from Starbucks.
For the first time, I realize that their latte, even plain, feels super sweet.
And I don’t put sugar inside, huh. It’s just their milk – their milk has a sweet taste. Weird.
At the same time, that doesn’t surprise me: everything is sweetened in the U.S. For example, if you want soymilk, you can’t simply choose “soy milk”: it’s filled with sugar.
You have to choose soymilk marked “Unsweetened.” This is just one example, everything else is like that too.
Here, normal means sweetened. Unsweetened is an option. Not always available. Enough to make you paranoid, no?
Conclusion Day #3: The world is cruel. At each street corner is a sugar dealer.
Wednesday, December 4th
I feel like devouring everything, and during a meeting in the middle of the afternoon, I order a plate of babaganoush at Pain Quotidien because “when you don’t eat sugar, it’s extremely difficult to find a snack when you’re hungry.” Oh well, at that level, I’m ready to say whatever comes to my mind to justify myself.
Someone told me that avoiding sugar stops the munchies: not true for the time being.
I experience some bizarre moments. I feel the psychological result more strongly (I miss sugar and that makes me angry!) than the physical (that’s normal since I keep eating carbs, pastas, wine…)
I go back to eating fruit because I miss the taste of sugar and it seems like fruit doesn’t count. Mmmmmm yeah right.
Conclusion Day #4: Mmmmm yeah right.
Thursday, December 5th
Meeeh, she cried.
The day goes by more easily, I start to get used to it, in fact. I become more confident. I start to eat in a more balanced way; I miss the taste of sugar less. Yes! What assurance. So much confidence that the same evening, on the way home after getting drinks, I buy a container of Ben & Jerry’s Karamel Sutra ice cream.
I eat the first spoonful. It’s good, icy and sugary – they say coldness freezes your taste buds, which is why ice cream never seems too sweet. Nevertheless, after three spoonfuls I’ve had enough. It makes me feel nauseous.
Conclusion #5: Restriction = caving in? Classic.
Friday, December 6th
Ok, I didn’t make it a week, but I’m not the biggest loser.
Nevermind, it was only a test. I hadn’t wanted to demonize sugar or punish myself, just see where I stood with it. I saw that I couldn’t make it a week, which is interesting. Now could I have a bite of a ginger cookie, please?
… And that brownie there, what’s it doing all alone? Ah, the joys of life at the office – always a sweet hanging around. Around here, brownies.
Eeeeeek! After the first bite, I almost feel like spitting it out, it’s so sugary. It’s strange: my brain, trained to like sweet things, at first sends signals of comfort of habit “Ahhhhh, cooooooookie.” But in fact, if I try to really discern the taste of it…
It’s just not good at all.
Everyone around me loves it. I put down the brownie, and drink some tea to make the taste go away.
Conclusion Day #6: Is it by chance that my “sugar” curse could be set straight? I have the impression that these days without eating sugar have allowed me to realize the extent to which the things we eat are normally filled with sugar. But it’s still a bit too early to conclude.
Saturday, December 7th
“Joyeux anniiiiiiversugar! Joyeux anniveeeersugar!!!”
I’m back to my old habits, with my jam in the morning, even though I wouldn’t be against replacing it with something else less sugary.
That evening the same kind of thing happens. At the birthday party of a friend there’s a sumptuous cake that everyone loves. I eat a bite, but can’t eat more than that: it’s way, way too sweet.
Well, on the other hand, trust me, I thoroughly celebrated the cheese plate :)
Conclusion of conclusions
Before, I wasn’t very conscious of living in a world where everything was too sugary, and I had already been shoked by the bad taste of certain things, but not being paranoid or a control freak, I haden’t made it a huge deal.
The good part about my break – aside from mountains of peanut butter – was that it allowed me to reeducate my palate a tiny bit – it had become pretty insensitive to the taste of super sweet things. Seriously, it’s crazy for me not to finish a slice of cake – that literally never happens to me.
So to stop eating a brownie after one bit – that’s something completely new.
And it pleases me a lot – so I’m going to continue in this direction.
And while waiting… I will learn how to make brownies that aren’t sugary… And to make crepecakes with homemade whipped cream. What’s up Karl.
Where do you stand with sugar? What’s your average and what’s your limit? I’d be curious to see if I’m the only sugar addict (but in remission) around here…