1) When I was young, I often stopped by a bakery on the way to school to pick up some apple strudel. After school, I would sit and eat about three bowls of King Vitamin cereal. My family had no qualms about sweets. Early on, my Virginia grandparents exposed me to the pleasures of ginger ale, petit fours, and tomato aspic made with lemon jello. I would watch as grandfather poured extra sugar on his already quite sugary stewed tomatoes during dinner. Since I was athletic, none of this mattered much at first, but more recently I began trying out some various techniques to slim up a bit. None of them worked all that well, and then I tried a very low sugar diet.
2) I kicked sugar about two weeks ago, and it's interesting to see how my view of the stuff has changed, with much imagery of 1988's They Live coming to mind. When I see a billboard on I-95 advertising McDonald's McCafe Frappe Mocha and a Cherry Berry Chiller, I think "drug delivery system." A sign promoting ice cream sandwiches at a convenience store conveys "narcotic fix available here." At my workplace, nice ladies routinely hand out candy as a successful means of manipulating students. Shiny red bags of Jelly Belly jelly beans and Dove dark chocolate "promises" around the household suddenly resemble sinister bright Candyland-marketed bags of crack. The Sweet cupcake place in town strikes me as an egregious opium den of iniquity, selling pockets of addicted joy with much frosting for $2.50 a pop.
3) As time goes on, others hear about my new dietary habits, and they say it's okay as long as one can bring in sugar substitutes, but I'm not going for that either. Every day, the cravings hit me mostly after meals. How about some dessert at that Starbucks? I would think to ask for my significant other for a mint and then stop myself. Suddenly, coffee and tea no longer taste as compelling, now that I'm no longer following Mr. Winston Wolfe's example in Pulp Fiction, who says "Lots of cream, lots of sugar," when asked by Tarantino if he'd like something in his coffee.
4) One's taste for sweet things changes on this diet. Now, a grapefruit tastes very sweet without any sugary addition. I visited a Subway and found that their 9-grain wheat bread tastes like cake. Many of the things that I used to put on my sub (such as their honey mustard) would now make it taste like some sort of highly nutritional candy bar, so I stick to mustard, oil and vinegar. At night, I dream of accidentally eating a bowl of Breyer's Natural Vanilla ice cream in the midst of a crowded party, and realize with dread that all is lost. I even made a $1000 bet with my significant other that I will not sugar binge on anything until November, and that includes a simple bowl of Kellogg's Raisin Bran or a glass of Pepsi.
5) Thus far, I've not lost the bet, and I've lost weight and in general feel much better physically, but the sugar is everywhere, snuck into the most unexpected things--hamburger buns, fries, LemonZest nutrition bars. The cravings persist. "They" want you to consume it--the omnipresent drug.
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