It's been two weeks now since I formally engaged battle with processed sugar in my diet.
I had expected it to be hard. After all, I used to eat a LOT of sugar. We've been over this.
What I had not expected was that the difficulty would lie in finding sugar-free but NOT artificially sweetened foods even if I avoided store-bought breads and stayed out of the center of the grocery store where all the packaged stuff is.
Since I hadn't stocked up on home made soups (and am not so good at making them myself), I'd hoped that I could have some canned soups for lunch. Alas, lots of those have sugar in them. (Who puts sugar in clam chowder? Progresso does...). Okay, I figured I'd run into this sort of thing, so I wasn't that disappointed. So I thought I'd go for the lunch meat route. How risky can turkey or roast beef be?
Golf Pro, in his wonderful way, supported me in my craziness. I asked for lunch meat, he provided. I was excited. I'd gotten my mind all wrapped around some nice turkey. Until I pulled the package from the deli out of the refrigerator and saw the label.
The label had an awfully long ingredient list for turkey.
Yeah, sugar. SIGH. (Ialso maltodextrin, and dextrose, which are also forms of sugar).
So I reached for the roast beef, and found the same thing. Who needs six lines to list the ingredients in a slice of roast beef?? Evidenly, our store's deli.
And again, sugar. Plus it's also rubbed with sugar and dextrose...(and other things I can't define). So I poked around and discovered that they use sugar in processing meat. A lot of sugar. They use it as a preservative. (Though I'm told that there IS a brand of deli meats that do not have all the stuff in them, I've not confirmed this yet).
Yes, I'd read The End of Overeating. And thus, yes, I knew that fast food restaurants have been putting sugar in places you least expected it (at one time anyway, many chains sprayed their fries lightly with sugar water before frying to give them their nice even color). I knew that America has been super sweetening its diet for years, in part because the food manufacturers know that when you layer salt, sugar, and fats into foods, people will crave more of them. (And if you process them so they're easy to chew, we eat even more). As Kessler says, "Food scientists have discovered what's called a "bliss point" — the point at which consumers get the greatest pleasure from combinations of sugar, fat, and salt. When the mix of these three elements is just right, food becomes more stimulating. Eating foods high in sugar, fat, and salt makes us eat more foods high in sugar, fat, and salt." But I hadn't realized it had gone so far that you couldn't trust the deli not to layer your sandwich meats. (I guess I figured they'd know we'd be layering them ourselves, with sugar in the bread and mayo and catsup, and salt in the meat, and fats in the meat and mayo etc. etc.).
Suddenly, I'm afraid of the foods in restaurants that I had thought were safe.
I've gotten to the point where I can have my coffee with about 1/2 tsp of honey (some of which actually hangs out in the bottom of the cup) instead of two teaspoons of sugar. But I miss going out for ice cream. True, it was as much about the going, and enjoying with my family as it was about the ice cream, but I miss ice cream enough that the McDonald's bill boards are tempting me.
I wonder, is it easier or harder to do this because I know that at every step it truly is a choice. I know people who are allergic to cane sugar. For them, it's NOT a choice. For me, I make the choice every time ... but if I miss that there's sugar in something, I don't suffer much from the mistake.