Did you receive a box of chocolates for Valentines Day? If you are really lucky, perhaps it was a two-pound box of See’s dark chocolate assortment.
No chocolate for us this year – Junior’s doctor has put her on a no-sugar diet. I am doing it along with her as a show of support. We’re to give it a three week test run, after which the three of us will get together and talk about next steps.
Lots of medical type folks have recently agreed that sugar’s not much good for anyone, and even celebrities are jumping on the bandwagon. But I’ve never been one to listen to experts or particularly inclined to do what’s good for me. Given Junior’s reaction to going cold turkey on her Eggo Chocolate-chip waffles, I’d say it’s going to be a tough sell for her as well.
Still, we’re giving it our best shot.
I was frankly astonished to discover how many of my favorite foods were hiding sinister amounts of sugar within them. I mean, whose idea was it to shovel it into the spaghetti sauce? The orange juice? The peanut butter? C’mon, is nothing safe to eat?
I went grumpily to the grocery to stock up on items from the one aisle of the store I had sworn I’d never, ever frequent. You know the one…with those horrible faux potato chips, “fruit leathers” with pictures of happy kids on them (sure, you try giving your kid something that looks like it was a byproduct of a salamander skinning and see how happy he is about it), and macaroni-and-cheese that doesn’t come with a single smidge of the orange stuff. I bought a variety of organic, sugar-free, preservative-free, fun-free “snacks,” lined them up on the counter and then Junior and I stared at it all skeptically for a while, our dejected tummies rumbling.
But we Littlefields are a crafty, determined bunch. It wasn’t long before we’d figured out how to game the system. Turns out a whole bunch of yummy things are A-okay – – we just had to be resourceful. Smokehouse almonds, for instance. Cambazola (sighhhh!!!) Steel-cut oatmeal with cinnamon and cream…popcorn made on the stove the old-fashioned way…gooey grilled cheese sandwiches…and damned if we’re ever going to give up our precious salt-and-pepper kettle chips!
Thriller writer Carla Buckley said this to me the other day: “If a researcher analyzed my blood, they’d see it’s fifty percent french fries and potato chips, fifty percent chocolate.”
Oh sister, I hear ya. I’m one of those who just can’t work without a little somethin’ at hand, usually Ghiradelli Bittersweet chocolate chips or Walker’s shortbread. But I have to say that a plate full of Carr’s cracked pepper water crackers slathered with boursault does the trick. That researcher of yours might discover that my blood is saturated with triple-creme…but at least I don’t miss the sugar much.
PS When I’m out and about, I miss my stops at the AM/PM for tootsie roll pops and rolls of SweetTarts, but I’ve found something almost as good…I’m an absolute fiend for the Tazo Passion Tea at Starbucks. Tart, luscious, and with the added benefit that you can kind of give yourself a little mini-facial if you get a Venti with two tea bags and carefully take a nap in your car with the cup propped up on a hardback book in your lap while you wait for a) your kids to deign to acknowledge your existence and detach themselves from their after-school peer clusters and b) your tea to cool down below the eight thousand degrees fahrenheit at which they serve it.
What about you guys? Have you ever had to give up a beloved food, and if so, how did you cope? I’ve got a lovely little $15 Starbucks card for a randomly-selected commenter, so you can go try that Passion Tea for yourself!