Archive for the ‘sugar’ Category

What is the deal with sugar (and well intentioned gifters)?

Before I start pointing fingers, I am just as guilty as everyone else, so if you resemble any of the depictions in this post or if I actually cite you verbatim, don’t be offended. I’ve done it too. What I hope to do, by putting this in writing, is to stop doing it.

Let’s start at the beginning: a few weeks ago, my husband asked me why it is that people celebrate with things that they know are bad for them. In this case, I think this may have been on the eve of my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary, which was complete with cake (two cakes, actually, one of which was gluten-free [and gorgeous]), alcohol, bar-be-que and, generally, more food that you can shake a stick at.

However, it could have been in response to the Thanksgiving that most people in the U.S. celebrated just a few weeks before. Or it could have been in response to the literal trough of food that was brought into my office, starting in October, which involved cookies, candy, brownies, cakes, and chocolate. (I rue the day I told my administrator that I am gluten-intolerant, because now she makes gluten-free stuff that I actually feel compelled to eat – which is so totally messed up, it’s hard to go there….)

Regardless of the precipitating event, it’s a good question: why DO we stuff ourselves, not to mention those we love the most, with things that are bad for them? Namely, why in heaven’s name, did sugar become the celebratory drug of choice for most people?

It get’s better.

A few weeks ago, I was talking to a friend of mine and she was telling me about the Great Cookie Caper that she engages in every Christmas. Essentially, she loves to bake (which, I admit, I do to) and every year she makes cookies and mails them out to family and delivers them to friends. And I’m not talking the simple sugar cookies that I used to decorate every Christmas with my mom, but serious, gourmet cookies with pistachios, real chocolate, almonds, walnuts, and about 10 lbs – when all is said in done – of pure, unadulterated butter.

And let’s, of course, not forget corresponding 10 – 15 lbs of sugar.

As she was telling me about her upcoming cookie making weekend, she relayed to me how her mother – her own mother – told her not to send them to her. She didn’t want them. She didn’t even want them in the house. Do. Not. Send. Them.

(Ironically, I was thinking something similar, albeit with an odd twist: 1) Thank God I’m gluten-intolerant and 2) I want to bake some cookies! Sick, Kathryn. Sick.)

My friend’s response: tough, that’s just what I do.

A few days ago, my friend (the same one) was telling me that she had made 17 types of cookies. The process had extended to a week, eating up the majority of her vacation time, and it looked like she was going to be spending the last two days of 2012 sending out her wares.

I figure, that’s cool, she loves to make cookies. Go her.

And then she said it: “You know, I never eat that stuff. I don’t like it. I don’t like it in my body. I don’t like the way it makes me feel, but you know what, I’ve been eating it and now I’m like completely…..” She may have said wired, she may have said jittery, she may have said that she was over it. She may have said that she felt better than she ever had in her entire life.

I truly have no idea, because at that point my brain had fitzed out – not because of all of the sugar (I’d been sugar-free for about ten days at that point), but because I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.

She doesn’t want it. She doesn’t eat it. She doesn’t like the way it makes her feel….

Yet, she gives it to everyone she loves, out of love.

And as I was sitting there pointing my finger at her (covertly of course), not to mention all of the people who left bags of homemade almond rocca in in my box at work, I realized that I do it too.

I didn’t make, but I bought, everyone in my office dark chocolate caramels with sea salt or (truth be told) the best damn caramels I’ve ever had in my entire life. When I go to the store, I buy my husband cinnamon buns and ice-cream. I usually don’t do it unless he asks, but sometimes I just do it to “be nice.”

The conversation with my friend (shortly on the heels of that relatively off-the-cuff question from with my husband) was an eye opener. Everyone I know struggles with their weight or their digestion in some way shape or form. No one in my life actually goes out of their way to eat more sugar. Even my husband, who has quite the sweet tooth, is trying to cut back. But there I am, buying sweets. Sweets that I don’t eat. Sweets that, if I could actually eat them without having debilitating stomach pains and a migraine, I wouldn’t even want in the house…. Sound familiar?

Next year, no baking for me, unless of course, I figure out a way to reduce the sugar, or to eliminate it all together. And next time I go to the store? Let’s just say Michael J is on his own when it comes to sugary treats.

Does that mean no gift-giving?

No, it means learning to celebrate in ways that don’t put other people’s goals and desires at risk or put my own (to be seen as nice or for the simple act of baking) in front of theirs (to be healthy, happy, and sugar-free).

Because after all, I wouldn’t give alcohol to an alcoholic would I?