The 2019 Sugar Resolution — Part I

Sasha here, once again, on assignment from Alpha Mom who is sleeping.

Again.

Here I am, away from my desk.

She’s been doing that alot the past few days and finally told me to just go “write something about sugar.”

“I’m going off sugar.” 

Alpha Mom has been saying that for months, well, weeks anyway. She picked January 1 because, well, why not, I guess. And she told anyone within ear shot. She said it was to “increase peer pressure,” whatever that means.

The more folks who know my plan, the more I’ll be held accountable.

Oh.

 

In the run up to sugar-divorce land, she made three batches of Christmas cookies and a few batches of date and nut bread over the holidays. She’s never done that before. I won’t mention what she did with the entire package of baklava that came from Ohio a few days later.

You do know you just mentioned the baklava, don’t you? 

And then there was New Year’s Eve.

The choices were vast.

She settled on these three — a lemon square, a piece of flourless chocolate cake, and a coconut macaroon — as her last meal dessert.  She grabbed them at 7:30 and downed the last bite at about 10:00. One per hour.

The decision to load up on sweets, was, in hindsight, a terrible one. What was I thinking?  

Who’s writing this post? You’re supposed to be sleeping.

Sorry; continue. I’m going back to sleep. Will you tell them about the dark chocolate covered cashews I keep in the china cabinet? And don’t forget JAMA.

I know nothing about chocolate covered anything. I stay away from chocolate. It’s very bad for me. Just as, it turns out, sugar is bad for humans. Very bad. But everyone knows why sugar is bad. What many don’t know is revealed in this article from the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) that came out in 2016.

The way Camila Domonoske at National Public Radio put it, “the authors of this new article say that for the past five decades, the sugar industry has been attempting to influence the scientific debate over the relative risks of sugar and fat.”

As a result, as Low-Fat and No-Fat became the norm, the food industry began adding sugar. To EVERYTHING, at least everything that’s processed. Sugar is ubiquitous.

Sugar is also addictive. That’s why going off it can be so difficult.

But what, really, does “going off sugar” mean? 

Processed, refined, white sugar is easy to spot. It’s the stuff that shows up in cookies and pies and yummy little homemade things that people bring to various gatherings.  That’s what most people cut out when they do one of these sugar-free diets.

But fruit, bread, potatoes and lots of other stuff all break down into sugar once in the body and Alpha Mom was afraid eating any of them would make this going off sugar thing harder. She wanted to detox from it all. Except, she wasn’t sure what that meant.

Should she abstain from the honey she puts in her tea each morning? What about potatoes? (Bread was easy). Condiments? Fruit?

Alpha Mom decided, to tough it out for the first three days two weeks, then decide how to best proceed. That means no honey, potatoes, and certainly none of those chocolate bites, no matter how small.

Be sure to mention Adelle Davis. 

Back in the 1970s, Alpha Mom read Adelle Davis, the whole foods proponent of the 1940s and ’50s, who held that not only is individual wellbeing impacted adversely by unregulated sugar, entire civilizations have risen and fallen because of it.

She’s the one who wrote that Germany defeated France in World War II because German black bread and beer were nutritionally superior to French white bread and wine. And, she warned that Russians ate much less of the “illness‐breeding refined foods” than do Americans.

Alpha Mom has this political bent, you know, and I think this appealed to her inner political hack.

Adelle Davis was my socially acceptable revolutionary. 

Alpha mom also has this “keep it simple” motto, and, since she’d adopted the addiction model, going cold turkey made the best sense.

IDIOM ALERT: going “cold turkey” means all at one time;
it’s the opposite of doing something gradually.

Here’s something she wrote before she wussed out and asked me to do it.

My problem with sugar is different than most folks. I don’t get a “sugar buzz;” I don’t go “high;” I go low. Very low. I get fuzzy headed, foggy to the point of falling asleep. Long ago I learned that if I wanted pancakes or waffles or french toast (so many good things serve as a vehicle for maple syrup), I have them for dinner, at the end of the day. Then I just go to sleep.  If I ingest flour and maple syrup in the morning, my day is shot, long before lunch.

And may I just add here, “wussed” is not a real word. I have a terrible headache so just do your job. 

See what I have to endure?

I’m thinking she just needs another week. Everything I’m learning as I write this post (for her) says the first two weeks are the hardest. And I know she was sideswiped by the Day Four headache.

Don’t forget to tell them about dopamine. It’s why I’m addicted. 

I don’t care about dopamine. I want to know when you’ll be back to normal. I don’t like it when you sleep all day. We haven’t had a good hike in . . .  too long.

I could have the flu. Leave me alone.  

You don’t have the flu and you know it. Your body is just getting readjusted to not getting its fix of sucrose and glucose and fructose and lactose. Go back to sleep.

I wonder why milk sugar isn’t called luctose?

Ask them if they’ve ever gone cold turkey on anything? 

Alpha Mom will be back next week, I think hope, and in a much better mood. Stay tuned. In the meantime, I think she could use a little support.  If nuzzling her under her chin (she likes that when I do it) isn’t your thing, maybe just a few words of encouragement.

 

44 Responses

  1. Marian Beaman
    | Reply

    Just a few words of support: More power to you, Janet!

    By the way, what is your goal? feeling healthier? Weight loss? Something else?

    Now I’m going back to sleep. Then I’ll take my sugar in blueberries over breakfast Cheerios.
    Marian Beaman recently posted…Matryoshka Dolls and Your Great-GrandmotherMy Profile

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Good morning Marian. Thanks. As for my goal? Just looking to feel less groggy headed. I’m in my second week; my body’s still pretty pissed off. It’s a journey.
      Janet Givens recently posted…The 2019 Sugar Resolution — Part IMy Profile

  2. Merril D. Smith
    | Reply

    Good luck, Janet. Hope you feel better soon.
    Merril D. Smith recently posted…Grey January BluesMy Profile

  3. Linda Hoye
    | Reply

    Cheering you on from up here in Canada, Janet.

  4. Annika McCann
    | Reply

    Power through, Janet! It will get easier soon, and be so worth it.

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Thanks Annika. That’s become my mantra. 🙂

  5. Nancy
    | Reply

    You are, indeed, single-minded, and that I admire. Moderation is more my thing, when I can shift modes, and timing—I think you have an understanding of that, with the evening meal. I consider myself fortunate to not be interested in sugary things that much. Hot, buttered homemade bread, now there’s a bitch…

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Thanks Nancy. If I could do sugar in moderation I’d be a happy camper; I envy you. Hot, fresh bread dipped in garlic-laced olive oil: the stuff my dreams are made of. Don’t get me started; there are a lot of dreamy things out there. Thanks for stopping by.
      Janet Givens recently posted…The 2019 Sugar Resolution — Part IMy Profile

  6. Tim Fearnside
    | Reply

    Janet, I’ll be curious to know the long term effects of your switch. Hopefully, you can circle back around with us and let us know what you experience once you pop out on the other side. In the meantime, stay strong, feel better, and best of luck! – T

  7. Laurie Buchanan
    | Reply

    Janet — I’ve always loved it when you give Sasha the keyboard and this post is no exception. I “cut the crap” (Caffeine, Refined sugar, Alcohol, Processed food (except pasta noodles)) on Dec 7, 2018, so I know from whence you speak. It’ll get better very, Very, VERY soon.
    Laurie Buchanan recently posted…Perfect HideawayMy Profile

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Ah pasta: it’s what I missed the most when Woody went cold turkey 2 1/2 years ago. (He does the cooking). Any chance you wrote about your “cut the crap” journey, Laurie? (Love the moniker). I know the lessons were woven into your books, Note to Self, and The Business of Being.

      Consider Sasha’s tail wagged in your direction. And thank you for your support. It’s already better. Pesto with celery is my current go to.
      Janet Givens recently posted…The 2019 Sugar Resolution — Part IMy Profile

  8. Clive Pilcher
    | Reply

    You have a very talented dog! Good luck with the sugar detox, I hope it goes well for you.
    Clive Pilcher recently posted…2018: They Think It’s All Over…..My Profile

  9. Shannon
    | Reply

    Good luck, Janet. Sugar is a beast, I say. It does get better with time! It is nice once when you get used to things not having to be sweetened and you crave healthy things instead. And it is winter, we are supposed to sleep more. At least that is what I read somewhere… 🙂

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      It is a beast and if it were an ugly beast, it’d be easier to fight. But it’s so seductive. One of the sugar-free FB groups I’m now in keeps recommending eating dates to help off set the cravings. If I did that I’d continue to have cravings and probably wind up putting the entire package of dates away in no time. So, for now, I’ve eliminated all sources of sweetness (except Sasha and my hubs) in the belief it’ll (eventually) be easier. And this week is easier than last, already. We’ll see.

      Thanks for your support, Shannon.
      Janet Givens recently posted…The 2019 Sugar Resolution — Part IMy Profile

  10. Joan
    | Reply

    You go, Janet! You can do it! You will feel so much better just a week or so down the road and you’ll be asking yourself why you didn’t do this earlier.

    Thanks Sasha for your great go-between work!!

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Thanks Joan. Did you know Woody went off all sugars, including most carbs, when he got his diabetes diagnosis two years ++ ago. He’s now off all his glucose meds (and down about 50 lbs). The doctor is impressed. So, having him off them has made it easier for me in many ways. Now I’m noticing how pervasive sugar is in the society at large. Not just snuck into salad dressings and condiments et al, but offered at almost every social gathering. Sugar (IMHO) is becoming what tobacco was in the 1960s. People knew it was bad for you, but it was still such a big part of the culture, it was hard to give it up.

      I guess that makes us pioneers?
      Janet Givens recently posted…The 2019 Sugar Resolution — Part IMy Profile

  11. Terry Bryan
    | Reply

    You are not alone. I’m giving up anything white. That seems to take care of a number of culprits and I lost 23 pounds before Christmas. Back at it now. Good luck!

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      That’s funny, Terry. “Anything white.” But it also makes sense. Reminds me of the diet I often turned to years ago. Anything that began with a B. (butter, bread, beer were the biggies). I could drop five pounds in less than a week that way. Then.

      Good luck with the no-white route. Keep me posted.
      Janet Givens recently posted…The 2019 Sugar Resolution — Part IMy Profile

  12. Pamela
    | Reply

    Good luck with that. You are a braver, stronger woman than I. I’ll have a good time reading about your progress…. or lack thereof. Now that was mean of me. But I haven’t had any sugar since I made a new recipe of peanut butter chocolate chip cookies last night. Whoops. Sorreeeee.
    Pamela recently posted…Swimming Upstream Through the PagesMy Profile

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      I love your honesty, Pam. It’s fun, not mean.

      I’m focused this week on how much my well-being is connected to what I eat. Just hearing the words peanut butter chocolate chips makes my head go fuzzy. Though they do make a great combination.
      Janet Givens recently posted…The 2019 Sugar Resolution — Part IMy Profile

  13. Debbie
    | Reply

    I’m in support of you Janet, as I too have withdrawn from sugar in the last few months and it’s all good now. To be honest i didn’t have too much trouble and have loved the benefits of weight loss and clearer thinking. I wish you luck and I enjoyed your post as told by Sasha, one very smart cookie (sorry for that slip of the sugar).

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Thanks very much, Deb. It’s good to meet a fellow traveler. It’s the clearer thinking I’m after. Interesting to me how much my food intake effects more than just my digestive system.
      Janet Givens recently posted…The 2019 Sugar Resolution — Part IMy Profile

  14. Chronically Hopeful Char
    | Reply

    First time visitor I think. Such a great post, Janet! Love this writing style. Going off sugar has done wonders for me too. I went Keto 2 years ago when bedridden and now I can move around the house daily and chronic pain levels very low most of the time. Incredible what harm sugar can do.

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Hello Char, and welcome. It is incredible the harm that sugar has wrought. I read once that sugar was about to be regulated, like alcohol and tobacco were even then, but Teddy Roosevelt stopped it; something about the cookies he liked so much. But in writing this post, I couldn’t find any reference to that. I’ll pass along your good words to Sasha. 🙂 I’m doing a “week two” wrap up this Wednesday; I hope you’ll return.
      Janet Givens recently posted…The 2019 Sugar Resolution — Part IMy Profile

  15. Jean | Delightful Repast
    | Reply

    Janet, it’s been several years now since I decided to never have more than 6 teaspoons of sugar in a day. As an excellent baker (and comfort food blogger), I’ve noticed people find it surprising that I would take such a stand. I posted about it 2 1/2 years ago. https://www.delightfulrepast.com/2016/09/sugar-toxin-or-treat.html It eliminates all cravings. I don’t eat a lot of processed foods, so I don’t worry about occasionally having bread or pasta, I just don’t overdo it and I consider that my sugar allowance for the day. Doesn’t matter what the special occasion is and how many wonderful desserts are on display, I *never* make an exception. That way, cravings are never stirred up. I can truly “take it or leave it,” and on many days don’t have any sugar at all. If someone can give up sugar completely, that is wonderful; but I know that isn’t realistic for me, and I wanted a plan I could live with for the rest of my life.
    Jean | Delightful Repast recently posted…Magical Coconut Pie – A Quick and Easy Retro DessertMy Profile

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      I envy you your moderation, Jean. I wish I could “just have one.” I am very curious though, how do you tell how much sugar is in a restaurant muffin or the cookie offered at the office? When something has no label, how do you judge the content? Thanks for weighing in here with us. Your magical coconut pie looks delicious.
      Janet Givens recently posted…The 2019 Sugar Resolution — Part IMy Profile

      • Jean | Delightful Repast
        | Reply

        Janet, I rarely eat the restaurant muffin or the cookie offered at the office. It has to be veryveryvery good to tempt me! But if it is something wonderful, I know that will be my sugar allowance for the day. I calculate it as having twice the sugar content of my homemade version and so have half the amount I would have of my version.
        Jean | Delightful Repast recently posted…Pressure Cooker Beef Stew – Instant PotMy Profile

  16. It isn’t easy but from the comments you have a great support network Janet. As you mentioned, it is easy to see the processed refined sugar but the hidden sugars in ‘low fat’ foods aren’t as easy to spot. Good luck and I look forward to reading your progress. Great to connect with you through Senior Salon and have a great week!

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Thanks, Sue. I’m past week two as of today and all seems to be going well enough except I’m finding I’m tipping into reformed-sinner mode. I can’t shop anywhere and not be bombarded with sugar laden goodies all around. The power of the sugar lobby is now on my radar. Stay tuned. And welcome.
      Janet Givens recently posted…The 2019 Sugar Resolution — Part IMy Profile

  17. Carol Taylor
    | Reply

    I’m with you 100% on the olive oil and bread…Good luck with the sugar I did that years ago and it does change your taste buds eventually…You can do it!
    Carol Taylor recently posted…The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peels PieMy Profile

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Yes, I believe that’s why I can’t just turn to artificial sweeteners. I have to forget that “sweet” taste; it’s seductive. And, now on Day 16, life is settling down again. I am waking up awake, fully. That’s part of what I was after. Thanks for stopping by Carol. I appreciate it. A lot.
      Janet Givens recently posted…My 2019 Sugar Resolution — Part IIMy Profile

  18. […] THE 2019 SUGAR RESOLUTION — PART I :|: Janet […]

  19. Cheryl
    | Reply

    Hi Janet, just finished reading this, now I’m off to part 2. I’ve cut back incredibly since our departure from Russia, but I’m still eating fruit and other foods that create sugar inside our bodies. And I just bought a jar of honey, because I’m trying to get my body into a very healthy condition, and honey is good for that. So, I guess I could honestly say that I’m cutting out ‘refined’ sugar for now. I’ll focus on the rest later, when life is a bit more balanced. 🙂 x
    Cheryl recently posted…Introducing CheburashkaMy Profile

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Hey Cheryl, Thanks so much for reading this post. I must say, I’ve had my ups and my downs since this posted a bit over a year ago. And it was my chocolate covered cashews that did me in. I kept hearing a voice saying, “Life is short. Why deprive yourself?” And the first few weeks, I’d just pop one or two in. They soon grew to four or five. Then, I just cashed it all in and bought some chocolate ice cream. This addiction stuff is a bear.
      Janet Givens recently posted…Suffering on the SofaMy Profile

      • Cheryl
        | Reply

        Oh, yes, life is short! I also struggle with ‘why deprive yourself?’. But, as I get older and realise that our health is all we’ve got, I’ve realised that I have to be kinder to my body. And watching videos about liver disease is also enough to put you off sugar! And cancer videos! Sugar isn’t our friend at all! My tactic right now is just not to buy either sweets or chocolate when we go shopping. Lord knows we need all the health we can get right now! 🙂 x

        • Janet Givens
          | Reply

          Not having it handy, that is the trick. Thanks again. I’ve turned to a pitted date (with a walnut) when I get a sugar craving. Serves me well.
          Janet Givens recently posted…Suffering on the SofaMy Profile

  20. Cheryl
    | Reply

    Hi again, Janet. I really love this topic, can’t stop thinking about it. Actually, all I can think about is sugar these last few days. A sign of addiction, that’s for sure. At least being locked down has made me aware of how addicted I was (am), and prompted me to do something about it. I also get sugar lows, never highs, I go into a coma sometimes, literally. I got tested for diabetes because I was afraid of this reaction, but no diabetes – so far. Dates are brilliant for sugar cravings, I absolutely agree with you! Sorry to go on and on about it, but your posts have inspired me to do something about my addiction to refined sugar. Take care. Cheryl

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      The addiction part of it is the real kicker. I’m addicted; I knew it when I began this journey a year and a half ago (1/1/19) and I’ve only been reminded as I look back on where I went awry. Since we’ve been corresponding here on this old post, my chocolate covered cashews have been easier to resist. So, I thank you.
      Janet Givens recently posted…Suffering on the SofaMy Profile

  21. Cheryl
    | Reply

    My dear Janet, in this difficult time, I think sugar addiction is the least of our worries. But, I have tears knowing that we’ve made a connection because of this evil drug. Please, try hard to resist, and I will too. Health is number 1 at our age. Let’s do the best we can to support each other. Much love. xxx
    Cheryl recently posted…Bucharest – 24th – 28th MarchMy Profile

  22. […] during that first week, I serendipitously found myself reading this blog post by Janet Givens (there’s also a part 2, look for it), and it was enough to give me the motivation […]

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