February-Eve, two nights ago, was a perfect example of why I need February to be… A Month of No Sugar. I lay awake in bed, my brain vibrating in my skull, until midnight. My insomnia could have been the result of many things, but half of a chocolate and sea salt candy bar, a slice of chocolate cake and two homemade cucumber sodas do spring to mind.
Self control is not a specialty of mine, but when it come to sugar, control of myself is not even an option. I can’t say no. A trigger occurs, say, getting in my car, and I need a latte. Sugar makes me happy, it gives me energy, it makes a great meal substitute. And all of that concerns me. In the last year I have given up meat and milk for a period of time without any fuss. I’ve gone without alcohol for the last eight months and while it was an intimidating project, worrying about it did not keep me awake at night.
But a month without sugar? My biggest fear. I am afraid I’ll be cranky. I’m afraid I’ll be sad. I’m afraid I’ll only see the world in black and white. (The weather yesterday was not helping with this last fear.)
So, I’m diving in head first and getting it over with, now, before I have a chance to postpone it any longer. February just happens to be the shortest month of the year. Pure coincidence. That has nothing to do with anything. Ahem.
More importantly, there are only four months remaining in my year of no drinking and I wanted to explore life without sugar while drinking was not an option. A rich, ripe glass of red wine would make an all-too-handy mood-enhancing substitute for something sugary. So, best to undertake this no sugar
masochism project before June 14th.
Here are the rules and regs:
February: A month of no sugar
No to added sugar, honey, stevia or artificial sweeteners. The point of this month is to rub up against my intense and near-constant craving for something sweet and to find out what happens on the other side of the door. The door I never step through, the door of denial.
No processed foods with added sugar. This shouldn’t be too much of a challenge, since I hardly use those sorts of products any more. My pantry shelves are stocked with homemade applesauce, tomato sauce, hot sauce and the like that I canned last fall. At restaurants, I won’t order anything sweet, but I’m not going to sweat whether their tomato sauce has added sugar.
No homemade jam, jelly, or highlight-of-my-day cranberry relish. This seems obvious, but it warrants it’s own subcategory because of the immense sacrifice that I am making. Boo hoo hoo.
No lattes. I hope the Bhakti Chai company is prepared for a serious drop in revenue. I suppose I could have a cambric without sugar. But what fun would that be?
Yes to fruit, including dried fruit and cooked-down fruit, like applesauce. I was on the fence about dried fruit. It has a lot of sugar concentrated in a tiny package. But as long as I don’t catch myself downing fistfuls of dried apricots (that has never happened before, I swear.), I’m going to to allow myself the occasional sprinkle of dried fruit in a salad, no cranberries or dried cherries with added sugar though. And no juice; without the fiber and structure of whole fruit, juice makes it too easy to imbibe copious amounts of sugar.
My lovely friend Elle has already given me one super helpful tip: frozen bananas, mashed up with cinnamon, to approximate ice cream. Does anyone else have any other ideas or survival tips for my month of no sugar?