Monday, January 25, 2010

In which kStyle notes that marscapone cheese is really, really good

So. I gave it up again. The smack. The white stuff. The pale fairy.

White sugar.

It was pretty obvious what I needed to do post-holiday-cookies. During the days before and after Christmas, I was surfing sugar highs and lows. I had stopped attending Weight Warblers* meetings around November, and, sometime in December, I'd ditched tracking what I ate. I found I was frustrated with suggestions that low-calorie "foods" like sugar-free vanilla pudding mix prepared with nonfat yogurt were a good idea. Or that they were even FOOD. I was super-tired of eating only high-fiber bread. Bread with extra fiber? Tastes like it's been injected with extra fiber. Most of all, the system was not really working for me anymore. It was too rigid and too riddled with the mythology that egg whites cooked in the microwave/cottage cheese/skim milk are not utterly appalling even to contemplate. I stopped losing weight because the plan became unsustainable for me. (Also...personally, I don't respond well to an outside-in solution. WW is all about imposing a structured system on one's eating. I do better with an inside-out solution, and I'm finding this book incredibly useful as a result.)

But I digress.

It was actually The Husband's idea for me to ditch the refined sugar. He was direct: "2009 is shot. But starting January 1, I think you should give up sugar again."

So I did. Coincidentally, a friend who also struggles with sweet teeth gave up sugar at the same time. We formed an instant, two-person support group. We place money in a jar for each day without sugar, she saving for a massage and I for Wii Sports Resort. We remove a little money every day we slip. We allow eating sugar for one day each week.

Three weeks in, I feel wonderful. More energy! More joie de vivre! I also find that I can react very, very poorly to my one sugar day. Last Saturday, I made the most of my free day by consuming a liberal volume of hot cocoa. The next day, I experienced what can only be described as a sugar hangover. I was hungover. I had not drunk any alcohol. It was miserable.

But then--miracle of miracles--a friend who trained at CIA (cooking, not spying) and supports local, healthful, sustainable food, educated me about agave nectar, a natural, low-glycemic index sweetener. Agave tastes great in cocoa and does not give me a hangover.

The strangest part is that refined sugar now tastes way too sweet to me. Yesterday I made the rookie error of grocery shopping hungry, which led to accepting sugary food samples. They were painfully sweet.

On the flip side, while The Husband and I prepared dinner this evening, I bit into a chickpea and declared my surprise at how sweet it was! Were chickpeas this sweet? It was so sweet! Delightfully so! I'm not sure that Husband tasted this incredible chickpea sweetness, which makes me believe it's another palate change courtesy of eschewing my personal smack.

And marscapone cheese! Oh dear, it is sweet and creamy and wonderful! Does everyone know about this?

*Fictitious name, because one cannot be too careful.