Sugar Log: 2022

sculpture of a man drowning in blue lights
drowning man Halloween decoration: Lambertville, NJ

Each year I choose to eat sweets during the three days between Halloween and my birthday. More recently that window has expanded a bit, and I’ve begun to indulge sooner than my Halloween start date. This year I had some candy at art openings in early October, and I also ate pizza. Below are my observations from my 2022 junk food window, and the outline for my 2023 sugar abstinence plan.

Guilty Feelings

Even though they likely didn’t notice, or could care less that I ate pizza and candy, I still felt the need to explain to people what it was that I was doing: “I eat whatever I want around Halloween. This year I’ve started a little early.”

Slippery Slope

I had a few sweets over the course of 2022. Whenever I ate junk food, the next day I’d have to fight the urge to have a little more, because a little leads to a lot.

Sugar Makes Me Feel Awful

It seems obvious that sugar would make me feel lousy, but the thought of indulging always seems appealing after having gone without sweets for a while. The idea that sugar is a treat has been drilled into us through advertising and social reinforcement. This year I forgot how negatively sugar impacts me, but I did remember to be weary around it. Still, I ate junk food and felt lame in 2022.

Sugar Addiction

Once an addict, always an addict. That’s what they say. Emotional eating is a behavior that’s easy to slip back into. Old habits don’t die, they just get replaced with new habits. You always have to make a choice, so choose wisely.

Frequent Urination

I have to pee more often when I eat sugar. It wakes me up in the middle of the night. When I drove ten minutes to the supermarket, I had to go again. Water tastes bland when compared to junk food, so I drank less. Thankfully I won’t drink soda ever again (gave that up in the 1990s). Drink more water and eat less junk.

Low Energy

My energy is steady when I eat well. When I eat sugar, my energy spikes and dips like a terrifying roller coaster. I fell asleep half way through the day yesterday.

Product Radar

When I abstain from eating junk food, I don’t notice ads for junk food. As soon as I open my junk food eating window, products instantly pop out at me. I felt like a kid in a candy store who wanted to have all the junk food products I could recall.

Not Like It Was

While looking at Halloween decorations one night, Lorraine and I reminisced about snacks from our childhood. A few days later, my wife came home with a Tasty Cake cupcake that Lorraine had kindly sent for me to have. I ate it. Either Tasty Cakes changed or I’ve changed, because it tasted like flavored plastic.

Corporate Chemicals

The large chocolate chip bakery cookies I got from ACME tasted like chemicals baked into a crunch. They made me feel awful after eating them, yet I ate ’em. The ice cream I had was bland, yet I had several helpings. What’s in there?

Produce vs. Prepackaged

When I indulge in sweets, prepackaged food becomes all I want to eat. Veggies fall off my radar, and pizza is more appealing. I considered buying a box of CheezIt snacks, but was wise enough to know that wouldn’t make me feel good.

Antisocial

Eating sweets had me up at night and exhausted in the morning. I found myself easily annoyed, angry, and full of angst. Then I just felt down and depressed.

Bad Influence

When I open my junk food eating window, my wife tends to eat more junk food. Part of it is that she knows it’s temporary, but it’s amazing how you can take the people you love down with you, because of your own self-destructive behaviors.

Am I Sick?

My throat felt weird from the sugar and dairy. Eating sugar made me more prone to illness, which is just a stupid move with COVID variants going around. Why negatively impact my health with immune system suppressing sugar?

Eaten in 2022

Ice cream (Tillamook mudslide, Tillamook ice cream sandwich, OwWowCow vegan ice cream sandwich, soft serve chocolate cone at 4H fair, Peace Pie), candy (KitKat, Snickers, M&Ms, 3 Musketeers, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups), ACME bakery chocolate chip cookies, Shoprite bakery chocolate chip cookies, Oreo cookies, Pillsbury cookies, birthday cake, cheese (pizza, tortellini, ravioli) and I made and ate “biscottas” in the way that my grandmother taught me.

My Sugar Abstinence Plan: 2023

Stronger Start

This time around I am going to use my birthday as my start day for the new year instead of using it as my end day from the previous year. I want my birthday to set the precedent for how I’ll eat in 2023 rather than ending 2022 with junk food.

Vegan Diet

I am challenging myself to eat all plant-based in 2023. Going vegan is obviously not a requirement to Stop Being Sweet, it’s just something I want to do again.

In the past, I’ve eaten sweets and meats so to not be an inconvenience. Folks don’t know what to cook when you don’t eat sugar or animals. Some people cannot fathom why anyone would want to avoid eating sugar and/or meat. Others get downright angry about it. I don’t want to eat that stuff, so I won’t. This will no doubt cause a challenge in certain situations, but it is what it is.

Joker Snack Conundrum

Every year I allow myself a joker snack (something sweet that can be eaten in limited amounts). McViddie’s Digestives have been my joker snack for the past few years. They’re not super sweet, nor very expensive, and they are kinda hard to find (Wegmans has ’em). I cannot / do not binge on them. What’s more, Digestives are vegan. However, I want to try something different this year.

In 2022, I baked biscotti (or “biscottas” as I called them when I was a kid) like how my grandmother taught me to make. They are delicious, low in sugar, and are the ultimate minimalist cookie. However, they’re not vegan.

My goal for 2023 is to figure out a vegan version, and drop McViddie’s Diegestives as my joker snack. Until I figure out how to do that, I’ll potentially eat biscottas with butter and eggs, because I want to move away from products and back to whole, home-made foods. Nothing is perfect! Besides, my grandma said biscottas are healthy enough to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Discipline is Healthy

In past years I’ve learned the most (about myself and others) when practicing a strict discipline based on a clear plan. My diet will be plant-based but for my joker snack, which is hand-made biscottas. That's it. Simple, plain, whole, natural foods. No preaching, no need to explain. Minimalist eating, maximum nutrition.

Accountability

Stop Being Sweet was offline for the past few years. During that time, I found it much easier to slip up and eat sweets. With the site back online—whether anyone reads it or not—I feel like people are counting on me to inspire them. You being here helps me, and I hope Stop Being Sweet helps you.