Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Sugar Fast

For the month of January for the last couple of years my sister Camilla has done a sugar fast with whomever will join her. This year, feeling the effects of a two week Christmas vacation that included cookies, ice-cream, donuts, and candy, candy, candy, every day of those two weeks, I agreed to join her. I even got Avram to do it with me, since I told him I couldn't do it alone, and I needed his peer support.

I'm not really on a sugar fast, where I avoid all refined sugar in every product, including bread and condiments. I'm more on a sweets and candy fast. I still have jam on sandwiches, and have even on a couple of occasions had maple syrup on pancakes. Since I set out knowing that I did not intend on giving up raspberry jam and maple syrup, I don't feel guilty for all of the sideways sugar I'm imbibing.

However, just abstaining from official sugary foods has been enough for me. I don't consider myself as having a huge sweet tooth - we do not routinely buy candy or chocolates, and only have it in the house for holidays like Halloween or Easter. I do like making desserts, and for the past year have been slowly working on improving my dessert repertoire, since traditionally I have embrace cooking for its savory aspects more than its sweet ones. I find myself as the days pass, and I'm on day eighteen of the fast (I started one day late, since that's when we went home from Christmas Vacation), I long more and more for really yummy desserts. Tender cakes with a fine crumb and a fluffy frosting. Dense, chocolately brownies offset by a light chocolate frosting. Warm chocolate chip cookies with the chocolate chips still gooey. These are the building blocks for daydreams, my phantasmagorical castles (fashioned after the style of Candyland and Hansel and Gretal) in the sky.

Despite my inner longings for sweets, I have been a fortress of self control on the outside. Whether in public occasions, where there was birthday cake or cookies for the taking, or at home, where in the top shelf of my kitchen cupboard I have hidden away two almost full packages of Andes mints - Christmas spoil - that I had been saving until I was home again, I have stood firm. Mostly because I have realized that as nice as the chocolate frosted cake smelt, it was only a box cake, with store bought frosting. Yummy, to be sure, but as Mr. Darcy says, "[The dessert] is tolerable, but not handsome enough to tempt me." The cookies were snickerdoodles and chocolate with white chocolate chips - good, but Mr. Darcy came swimming into my mind again. (Which makes me think of his impromptu swim on his estate in the A&E Pride and Prejudice movie, which in turn has nothing in common with this post except for the drool factor induced by both Mr. Darcy and sugar.) I feel the same way about the Andes mints just feet below where I sit writing.

Not that there was anything wrong with these desserts, and if I weren't trying to detox from eating candy like it was about to be outlawed I would have enjoyed them with no qualms whatsoever. I just realized that if I was going to fall off the wagon and break my own commitment, it had better be for something like homemade cheesecake with chocolate sauce and raspberries, or a molten chocolate lava cake with whipped cream (not that I've ever actually had one, but I am 100% sure I would love one if I did). The picture of the homemade cheesecake is me, nine months pregnant with Lydia, in our old Provo Apartment. Good times.

In a Man for All Seasons Sir Thomas More says, "...It profits a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world... but for Wales?" Avram and I always use this phrase, and here I think, "it profits me nothing to break my agreement for all the homemade cheesecakes...but for cheap, store-bought chocolate?" Apparently no sugar brings out the movie quoting side of myself.

I'm not doing this to lose weight (hah! I'm pregnant. I've been gaining weight steadily this month), nor to adopt a lifelong stance against processed sugar. I'm already planning to make a delicious dessert on February First to celebrate a return to the sweetened world. I may even eat desserts when I go to an overnight Women's Retreat a sister from my ward is doing this coming weekend, since I've been planning on going and eating them most of January. This way it doesn't count as an impulse, weak-willed moment, but rather a planned digression from the norm.

The whole purpose of the fast, to reduce the amount of sugar I am used to eating, has certainly succeeded. I had a bite of a graham cracker that Elisheva was eating several days ago, and it tasted like a cookie. I think next year I'll do it again, but reduce the time to two weeks, since I feel sufficiently detoxed now, but still want to finish out the month just to prove I can.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Yum. Now I need to go eat a super-sweet carrot.

  3. what? you fell off the wagon because of lack of comments? :) so how did you feel? better?