How Sweet It Is

I just drove four hours through lashing rain and blowing debris. At times, the car shook and even slid on the windy intestine that is Hwy. 128 East from Booneville to Cloverdale, California.

It was a rough day. I’m on Day 5 of reducing my sugar intake and so far, I have no tangible signs of change–but I’m sticking with it.

Last week, I watched That Sugar Film, which, much in the style of Super Size Me, is intended to confront the viewer with fact and provide an object example as the narrator transforms from healthy to unhealthy person by eating a diet of a forbidden food.

The most shocking example in the entire movie was of a seventeen-year-old boy who was scheduled to have 26 teeth removed. Raised in an area of Kentucky where Mountain Dew is consumed in large quantities, he had such severe tooth decay that he was about to be given dentures. I can’t help but curse the soda manufacturers. Their greed created his pointless suffering.

From there, I read Fat Chance by Robert Lustig M.D. This remarkable book by a leading expert in childhood obesity (he works at UCSF) is a comprehensive guide to what is actually known about sugar and weight loss from the scientific research. Written in 2013, this book has earned 827 mostly glowing Amazon reviews. Delineating everything which is actually known from the research, Dr. Lustig explains why all sugars are essentially the same, how sugar NOT fat is the root cause of obesity, and how special interests prevent Americans from receiving accurate information about food, how others rush in with more information to exploit the exploited just a little bit more.

What became clear to me is that in lieu of Power to the People, we have a nearly endless amount of Poison to the People–poison primarily in the form of sugar.

Dr. Lustig’s book had me well prepared for change and I’m writhing in discomfort breaking this dependancy. I’ve gone through the 1) binge on other carbs phase; 2) stay busy, really, really, really busy phase; and just arrived at phase 3) the prayer and human sacrifice phase;  4) the indulge in small pleasures phase.

Today’s small pleasure as I drove through the rain fighting fatigue and eyestrain was this…


It doesn’t look like much nor does it look dangerous, but it can be. This tiny crutch ran through my mind as I ate a real food dinner, as I listened to Diane Setterfield’s The Thirteenth Tale, even as I took a phone call.

I know I am obsessing about sweetness, but in that obsession, the evidence is clear how much sugar has played a major role in my life.

When we arrived home, I bustled the dog and a couple of bags into the house, climbed up the stairs and went straight to my “jewel” where I’d left it on Friday. I opened it up, slowly, like we were on a hot date.


I sat down at my chair and studied its glossy beauty. Because there’s just one candy, it seems like a rare delight.


I popped it in my mouth and began to type, finally happy for the first time today. Objectively, today was a fine day, it’s just that my nuerotransmitters were having a fit.

Here is a moment where I must thank the Catholic Church for sharing the concept of Lent. Attending a Catholic convent school in Ireland, lenten suffering was a badge of honor, like climbing Croagh Patrick in County Mayo, a type of pilgrimage located at an ancient pagan site where St. Patrick is said to have fasted for forty nights during the 5th century, the Irish are a strong people. I think back to how lucky St. Patrick was that he didn’t have sugar to abstain from, just desolate places and sharp rocks underfoot on a mountain called the Reek far out in the Irish countryside.

My candy is about to disappear, thinned to a wafer such as it is. I never would have imagined that such a tiny thing would give such enormous pleasure, but it has. I’m one day closer to sugar free.

3 Replies to “How Sweet It Is”

  1. Hahahahaha! DYing at the slow tease strip of pictures…it IS such a glossy, sweet beauty. Hahaha! But I TOtally understand. I’ve had a few Lents in my past where even the deep inhale of the smell of something sweet was satisfaction in and of itself. Glad you made (and are making) it home safely through the storm.

  2. I’ve been where you are in the sugar-free stage. If I learned one thing from whole 30, it is that fat is not the bad guy, sugar is. I applaud your efforts. I hope things are going well at home.

    1. It’s going pretty well. I think I missed the whole 30. Fat is not the bad guy at all. I find if protein doesn’t hit the cravings break for me, fat will. Thanks for reading and commenting.

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