I did zero people a favor and read this article about how certain sugars are killing us all. After talking to a friend who had given up sugar — my first reaction was ‘But how do you survive?’ — I decided to try it for a month. I figured it couldn’t hurt, and I was ready to reevaluate my food intake.
Let it be known I was wrong in a way that people point and openly laugh at in public. I was extremely wrong-headed; I was wronger than wrong. Newborn babies were more ready for living in the forest with only their wits to survive than I was for one sugar-free month.
“Pretend you’re diabetic,” said one friend helpfully. ‘But I’m already sporting this,’ I replied, waving a hand around my blubbery midsection. “I’m Type 2 diabetes waiting to happen. I’m the guy on TV with a black bar over his face during reports about the rise of obesity in America.”
She laughed and said, “Why are you always a man in these scenarios?”
I ignored her. “Besides, pretending to have a disease seems like ominous motivation towards a healthier outlook and lifestyle,” I said pointedly. ‘I should use this condom for protection’ is different from ‘Let’s pretend I have AIDS to make sure the condom is used.’ Same results, sure, but pretending to have AIDS to prevent AIDS seems a little fucking weird. Ditto the diabetes.
I do, however, need a sugar reduction in my diet like nobody’s business; from this short experiment, that much was evident. Instead of human blood, Pixi Stix powder runs through these varicose veins, ably-assisted by chocolate frosting and a bottomless well of french fries. Monitoring my sugar intake led to a look at my sodium intake, which is much, much higher, like Charlie Sheen high. It’s embarrassing how much Top Ramen I eat when there’s nothing in the cupboard. Top Ramen + Mexican Coke = The Breakfast of Champions. And if I could still eat bologna without comments about “lips and assholes,” I so totally would.
But first I would fry it in butter. After that, I’d cover it with an unnaturally yellow, rubbery slice of Kraft American cheese. Then I would trap that between two pieces of Wonder Bread slathered with mayonnaise. (Somewhere – everywhere – Martha Stewart is weeping.)
My text: So I’m going to try this sugar-free thing for a month, and what I need to know from you is: AM I GOING TO DIE?!
Her text: No, but orange juice will taste better than a milkshake, which is awesome.
She was absolutely right. Juice tastes like liquid jelly beans now, and fruit might as well be laced with crack and the naturally-sweetened essence of The Teletubbies. After only four sugar-free days, I took a swig of Mexican Coke and felt like I’d done four lines of meth chased with 18 Red Bull vodkas. My veins were a-buzz with sugary life, with the promise of more zing! more artificial greatness! more pointed arrows of addictive deliciousness! I could successfully Parkour, win a knitting competition, wrangle a herd of rhinos, and paint all the houses in our city pink! ONE NATION, UNDER SUGAR, WITH LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL.
(And I used to drink one of these at lunch every day?)
All things in moderation, as one of my best friends said. I’m definitely a fan of cutting out the crap, but all-or-nothing sugar scenarios will drive one to Seppuku. So I’m starting out a bit slower than just jumping off a cliff. There are things I’m cutting out for a while — with weight loss and training in mind — and others I’m forsaking out of pure curiosity. After 72 hours of being sugar-free, I came close to maiming my boyfriend in several different areas, though his battered brain probably absorbed most of the damage. Surely that kind of reaction to a lack of carbohydrates is worth further exploration — at least for my unprotected loved ones?
Slow and steady wins the race. Not the Rat Race or an actual marathon, but the kind of internal race — for tortoises, or people who watch Oprah — that no one really cares about.