Tag Archives: refined sugar

Gimme Some Sugar!

So, I started Project 40 Monday morning at about 4:00. (Hey, I work third shift; I have bizarre sleeping hours even on my days off.) By 7:30 I was already having sugar withdrawals. I knew they would be coming, but that didn’t make them any easier.


While I wasn’t blogging for awhile, I was eating. And I was eating all the stuff I know is bad for me – processed foods with refined sugar. I even fell off the vegetarian wagon for several days and ate shepherd’s pie that I had made with some ground lamb that my father had left here and that I had thawed in error. (While the shepherd’s pie was tasty, my stomach issues over those days weren’t really worth it.) In general, my system has been in absolute chaos! It was anarchy, I tell you!

And, as it is with anarchy, when I tried to restore order, my efforts were met with stiff resistance – particularly from the sugar junkie cells. As you no doubt know, sugar activates the pleasure centers of the brain in ways very similar to both cocaine and heroine. Still, sugars, both naturally occurring and added, are in nearly everything. We can’t totally avoid it; but, what should we limit ourselves to?

That’s tricky because there are no USDA guidelines like there are for nutrients since sugar isn’t a nutrient. So, it depends on who you ask as to how much is the right amount. I recently found an article on the American Heart Association’s site which recommends no more than nine teaspoons of sugar per day for men and no more than six teaspoons for women. (The World Health Organization uses similar guidelines.) To translate it into units on nutritional labels, that’s 36 grams for men and 20 grams for women. Okay, that still doesn’t have much meaning for me; so, let’s look at the sugar content of some things I’ve been eating:

So Delicious Cashew Milk Salted Caramel Cluster frozen dessert (yum) – 18 grams per serving  – 4 servings per pint and, really, who doesn’t just eat the whole pint at once? So that’s 72 grams. Yikes!
Zero candy bar – 31 grams
Bojangles sweet potato pie – 28 grams
Hershey’s with Almonds – 19 grams
Kettle Chips Backyard Barbeque flavor – 1 gram per 13 chips (13 chips?! Get real!)

In the past month, I’m pretty sure that I’ve eaten three years worth of my sugar allowance. Now my brain has gotten used to it and weaning the grey cells off the white stuff is going to be a battle, any way I look at it. Still, it’s a battle I’ve won before and I won it with apples.

So, my kitchen is well-stocked with apples and for the next week or so, I won’t worry about my daily sugar intake as I reach for an apple when the cravings hit really hard. If Project 40 works like the Great Reduction, I won’t have to reach for the apples for very long. The Sugar Monster will slumber once more and all will be peaceful in the kingdom.

Well, kinda.

‘Tis the Season

…the fundraising season, that is.

School is back in session and you know what that means! Yep. Cookie dough, popcorn, doughnut, candy and cookie sales. This weekend at the grocery store, I was approached by the cutest little con man to ever wear a Cub Scout uniform. In no time at all, he had separated me from my money and I was the proud  owner of a bag of caramel corn – premium caramel corn, no less. With pecans, almonds and stuff. As I walked away from the adorable huckster with the bag of popcorn coated with more refined sugar than I’ve eaten in two months, I lamented that I didn’t just give him five bucks and run like hell.

That’s what I do for the Girl Scouts. I give them money for their troops, but I don’t take the cookies. As I mentioned some time ago, I cannot be trusted with a box of Tagalongs; so, I make a donation directly to the troop instead. Normally, the troop gets some piddling little percentage of the sale. If I give them a five, they get 100% of that five and I don’t end up with tight pants. Plus, my five amounts to a whole lot more than they’d get from me buying three or ten boxes of cookies. Did I say ten? I meant four. Three or four boxes of cookies.

school-fundraisersPTA, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, Band, Science Club, you name it – everyone seems to be raising money for something and they all seem to be selling refined sugar to do it. Whatever happened to selling candles and wrapping paper? I suppose fundraising is easier to do year over year if you sell something quickly consumed and we consume sugar a whole lot faster than we do candles and wrapping paper. In fact, until Katrina, I think I may have had wrapping paper I’d bought from a coworker’s child ten years before! Hey, it was pretty and I bought a lot. But, I just proved my own point. There’s no way on earth I’d have ten year old World’s Finest Chocolate covered almonds. It’s a minor miracle if I have ten minute old World’s Finest Chocolate covered almonds.

I truly sympathize with the clubs and organizations that have to raise funds. My mother was the leader of my sister’s Girl Scout troop from the time they were Brownies until they graduated from high school. Everything they did, I did. Plus, I was a member of a troop of girls my own age. I was a cookie seller times two! My sister’s troop planned a trip to Europe and we raised money for almost three years to make that happen. We had tag sales, bake sales, and car washes. We raked leaves, babysat, ran the city’s public pool in summer, worked as janitors at a church, and had fund-raising dinners. (Until that time when we gave the town food poisoning. Looking back, if we’d had a toilet paper sale in conjunction with the dinner, we’d have made a fortune! Missed a great opportunity.) In the end, we raised enough money for the troop to go to Europe on a six week tour. That was some serious fund raising, let me tell you. So, when I say that I get the pain of fundraising, I really do.

I get their pain and I support their efforts; however, after consuming that sugar-laden bag of popcorn and dealing with the wreckage that was my entire system afterwards, I’ll revert to my previous plan:

Give ’em five bucks and run like hell.