Last week, I got a box of 12 doughnuts to share between me and the kids (my wife has this amazing condition which means she is indifferent to doughnuts). 朝食に, we each had one doughnut. それで, throughout the morning, I popped into the kitchen a couple of times while I was working and helped myself to one. これまでのところ, so enjoyable.
A little later, I walked into the kitchen to be greeted by an intervention. The concerned party, which comprised the rest of my family, informed me that they went to get a doughnut and saw that I had in fact eaten six of them. Before lunch! They were horrified.
Immediately I knew two things: 1) I have a problem and 2) I definitely shouldn’t tell them that I was going to the kitchen to get a seventh doughnut.
I decided I needed to give up sugar. I realise this seems extreme, but I had read somewhere that if you stop eating sugar for a few weeks, the next time you eat a tangerine it will taste like a meringue. Or something. Basically, I wanted to reset my tastebuds. Some scientists have claimed sugar is as addictive as cocaine, and the more of it you get used to having, the more you need.
I grew up in a house, and a time, where the true evils of sugar had not been realised. 代わりに, parents marvelled at sugar’s incredible power to get children to eat stuff. We put it on cereal, we put it on fruit, we put it on bread and had sugar sandwiches. My mum saw it as a miracle ingredient.
We used to have a fizzy drinks man who would come round and deliver various bottles, pretending not to notice how increasingly obese the kids of the house were getting every week.
So I have always been aware that I eat too much sugar. But it took the Day Of Six (With Intent For Seven) Doughnuts to really shake me into taking action. I sought advice from a friend who told me he had given up through sheer willpower and a desire to get healthier. I asked him how he had managed to cut out cakes and biscuits, and he told me he still ate them all the time; he just meant he’d stopped having sugar in coffee and tea. I realised he was a fraud who was wasting my time.
Hardcore sugar abstainers give up not just sugar, but simple carbs, which turn into sugar, as well as processed food that has added sugar. They also immediately spit out anything that they start to enjoy, because that probably means it has sugar in it, あまりにも.
I went for a more intermediate option: to avoid any added sugar, and to not have white bread, pasta or rice. My strategy was to keep it up for 10 days and then tuck into a piece of toast that would by then taste like gateau.
Apparently, people attempting to restrict sugar need to drink lots of water, something that I am particularly bad at. I will often reach the end of the day and have a wee that looks fairly close to marmalade, before declaring to my wife that I have no idea why I don’t feel in top nick.
I started my day with water, chopped banana and porridge with no sugar (I usually add a half-litre of agave). Absolutely disgusting. For a mid-morning snack I had a sliced apple with some chilli powder (sounds crazy, but it’s incredible) before a lunch of fairly plain vegetables. By late afternoon, I was absolutely battered. My head was thumping and I felt completely exhausted.
My wife suggested I just cut down rather than go cold turkey. She offered me an Oreo. I ate it. あなたに約束します, it was like a magic potion. My headache disappeared, I felt energised and my mood improved. A warning of how strong my addiction is? Or a sign that I should never try to give up again? I know which way I’m going.