Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Giving up the Poison Doesn't Mean Giving up the Vodka

"Sugar-free" is a misnomer as applied to Elizabeth and I, because we aren't actually going "sugar-free".  The term "fructose-free" better describes our goal here.  According to our research (which is largely based on information provided by and, its all about how your body processes the different kinds of the sweet stuff that matters.   And, the human body just doesn't do all that well with fructose.  I'm not going to list all the negative effects that fructose has on the body . . . not today.  But, what you need to know is 

You probably don't care all that much about the sciencey stuff, anyway.  If you are reading this, you probably just want to skip ahead to the part where I talk about how whacked out and emotionally unstable the lack of sugar is making me or how deprivation resulted in me accidentally putting my cat in the oven . . . but I'm not there yet.  Stay tuned though.  Things may change.

As I was researching, two facts kept jumping out at me: 
  1. When we eat, our bodies generate appetite suppressing hormones that tell us when we are full.  This makes us higher beings than, say, the horse that will eat itself to death.  However, when we eat sugar, our bodies do not operate this way and do not tell us that we are full. This explains why, even when my cheeks are still full of cakeballs, my hand reflexively extends and grabs another one for my pocket . . . and another one for my purse.   It also explains why I can't don't supress the urge to immediately shove those little balls of wonder in my cake hole, and I end up eating them faster than my eight year old can say, "A moment on the lips is forever on the hips." [And, yes, I recognize that he may need therapy one day to deprogram him but I figure that his dad and I are giving him plenty of reasons to seek therapy.  He might as well get his money's worth.]

  2. The body's reaction to fructose is to convert it directly to fat.  This is true even for "natural" and "healthy" sugars such as those found in honey and maple syrup.  

Well, crap on a cracker, I thought.  It may just be that the fruit that I choose over donuts and the honey that I choose over jelly may be the culprit for my muffin top. 

There are probably hundreds of programs for quitting sugar.  Both Sarah Wilson and the 21-Day Sugar Detox have their own.   I find Sarah White's program to be a lot less rigid and less whiplash inducing.  I like that she emphasizes that this should be treated as "an experiment," and that it doesn't have to last forever unless you want it to.   Additionally, she doesn't completely outlaw all complex carbs (rice and whole grain crackers, whole grain bread, brown rice, etc.), and she encourages dairy.   Because I dig her stuff so much and because she looks like this,

I'm going to refer to her as the Sugar Goddess, which I recognize is also a misnomer since sugar never passes her perfectly-shaped, goddess-like lips. 

In contrast, even the beginner's version of the 21-Day Sugar Detox prohibits all refined carbs, a lengthy list of vegetables, legumes, and beans.  That is why I will refer to them as the Sugar Nazis.   In all honest, their program looks great, but I can't imagine doing it for more than 21 days.  Lent is something like 40 days long.  If I give all that up, I'm going to be completely unbearable to live with.  Ask my family, and they'll tell you that I'm not always that much fun anyway.  Just tonight, my husband (who thought it would be cool to be given a nickname on here and will be referred to as the Grouch) told me, "You need to stop coming at me.  I'm a nice guy."  Imagine what a sweetheart I would be if I gave up all carbs that aren't green and leafy.  And chickpeas.  I can't give up chickpeas.

So, what exactly does a person have to give up when going fructose free?  This is what I pulled out of my cabinets and refrigerator:

All prohibited items.  "Holy Hell," you may say.  "Is that Fruit?!?," you may ask.   Yep. "But Fruit and vegetables are 'au natural."  Oh, yes, they certainly are natural, but the Sugar Goddess says that fructose is fructose . . . no matter the source.  She also says that I can add these things back into my diet in about 3-4 weeks . . . God bless her.  But for now, we are quitsville. Adios blueberries . . . you little balls of muffin-top making lard.

Some of my favorite things are also in the mix of prohibited foods.  For example, my beloved Honey Roasted Peter Pan and my Advocare Spark.

Peanut butter and I have a love affair gone bad.  It slaps me around like a battered house wife.   I can clean out a jar of this creamy goodness in 2 days.  Faster if I don't care about the people around me and that I might clear out a room.   My ability to eat peanut butter is only rivaled by my ability to eat popcorn.  Right now, this separation has me weeping. 

Spark is an energy drink that is offered by Advocare.  I'm not sure if its even possible to be an abuser, but I'm not one even though I love the stuff.  I only drink 1/2 a serving every morning before I run or go to the gym.  But, even in a small quantity, it's not fructose free.  The Sugar Goddess says its out and that artificial sweeteners, in general, are bad news.  Look, I even threw my Splenda in the trash.

Now, here is what Elizabeth pulled out of her kitchen:
Elizabeth definitely has a sweet tooth.  She even thought that Funfetti deserved its own picture.

I like Funfetti as much as the next girl, but the first thing that I said after I saw Elizabeth's pictures was:

 "Vodka?!?  Are you kidding?  Who said that I am giving up Vodka." 

Elizabeth had a lapse in judgment and decided to go with the strictest plan that she could find.  The result was a dedication to giving up everything that gives me the will to live.   I've talked her off that ledge.  The Sugar Goddess says that liquor is okay and that a glass of wine per day is also fine.  In contrast, the Sugar nazi says that no alcohol is permitted,  which is what put the final nail in the Sugar Nazi's coffin for me.  Still, I'm pulling info from both sources, and I guess you could say that we are doing a bastardized version of both plans.  We've decided that we aren't giving up popcorn and liquor and we are on the fence about Sriracha.

I was going to post pictures of what I actually ate today, but, frankly, I think we can all agree that this post is too long already. I'll just tell you that I had eggs and veggies for breakfast, and the Grouch thought it was weird.  I had cottage cheese, deli turkey, and veggies for lunch, and my dinner was a very unsavory piece of Walmart salmon that is not even worthy of a picture (and, of course, veggies).

All in all, I would say today has been great.  I don't feel icky or deprived yet.  But, enough is enough.  I'm going to go pour myself a glass of wine.



  1. Are you crazy girls making your kids do this crazy crap??? Way to ruin their childhood Elizabeth! Do not worry when Ramsey visits me, we will only eat sugar, possibly hook him up to a main line sugar pump, just to make sure he is getting enough. Fun dips for breakfast, follwed by Krispy Kreme! WTF! I thought I raised you better than that! We are NO longer sisters!!! Come visit me when you are off the wagon!

    1. Ummm, no. Of course not. We are not inflicing this crazy crap upon our kids. This morning my kids had pancakes with high fructose syrup. However, we are hoping that as our kids see us making wiser choices they may also see the value in not treating your body like a dump.