Friday, January 21, 2011

Descending The Big Rock Candy Mountain

Image found here. 

John's mom has always had a special drawer in her kitchen.

The drawer houses her potholders and trivets and.............candy bars. Usually only three or four of them, but if you take one out, another one magically arrives to take it's place, which is pretty amazing when you consider the number of people that routinely check out the magic drawer.

Every now and then my potholder drawer contains a candy bar or two. Or three or four, depending on how BICJ is behaving herself. This month, she's been out of control, to say the least. Yes, my Bratty Inner Child Julia was unleashed from the moment we broke out the first candy cane of the Christmas season and still is on a sugar high....sigh. So there's been a fair amount of Snickers bars nestled in among the pot holders on a regular basis lately.

Last night, I slid the drawer open and rummaged around in there but came up candy bar-less. I rummaged again, this time bending over and peering closely inside. Sugar free gum, breath mints, two year old jelly beans......Hm. No candy bars. I stood up frowning. I knew there was a bunch of them in there just the day before.

"Oh, hey, Babe." John popped his head up over his newspaper from his recliner across the room.

"I knew you're trying to cut down on that stuff, so I ate 'em." He grinned. "Yep, I threw myself on that grenade just for you, hon."


I grabbed a banana instead. What a guy.

Actually, he's probably right about my trying to cut down on all the goodies. Every year I moan and groan and whine about how much candy and sugar I eat over the holidays, and then begin the painful process of weaning myself off all the sweets that I've become accustomed to eating.

In years past, I have relied on artificial sweeteners to help me down from the big rock candy mountain, but I'm reluctant this year to substitute my sugar rush with a Nutrasweet and caffeine high, for lots and lots of reasons. One being, of course, that artificial sweeteners are probably not good for most of us, but also that one of the leading theories regarding autoimmune causative factors may include hereditary tendencies, a viral or bacterial infection, AND unknown environmental factors triggering the disease. You can read more about autoimmune disease causes here.

Are artificial sweeteners and the other components of the chemical sea that we routinely swim through some of those environmental factors causing autoimmune disease?

That's a bigger issue than I'm willing to tackle today. I'm still cranky that my Snickers bars are gone from the potholder drawer, after all....but still, I'm hesitant to start slugging down cases of Diet Coke to keep me out of the WalMart candy aisle.

For now, I'm trying to substitute fruit when a sugar craving hits. Anyone have other suggestions? I really want to get down from this mountain.


kate said...

Dried fruit - cherries, apricot. Watch the calorie count, as they are very packed with sugar.

Also, and this sounds terrible - just a teaspoon of sugar. Here's what I do, I've bought some nifty raw cane sugar that has a nice molasses taste, and big crumbly grain at Trader Joes. Really craving sweet - ok, open bag (do not put it in a bowl or you will eat more!!!!) and have one heaping teaspoon. It really feels like a lot of candy.

Sorbet, fruit juice pops, etc. Plus they feel good in the mouth.

Julia Oleinik said...

I love organic raw cane sugar.....this might have possibilities. The trick would be to quickly close the bag before I dump the whole thing in my mouth........

kate said...

I'm really getting into the "portion control by packaging". Even though those little cheese wedges have a lot of packaging for a piece of cheese, it really slows me down, and I only eat one or two, not a big chunk of cheese. Cheese is one of my "devour" problems.

Maybe there's some clever way you could package a "serving" of sugar for yourself. Make it fancy, so you get a real treat! Cellophane, and a ribbon?

BTW, I'm another Sjoggie, and a regular reader. I actually have brought your posts to a therapist and friends to give them insights into how this feels.

Julia Oleinik said...

Hi Kate! Thanks for dropping by! I'd love to hear more about how your are dealing with your Sjogren's symptoms.

Anonymous said...

My sugar alternative is xylitol, sold under the trade name Ideal in our
grocery store here in Ohio. I first heard about it from a herbal-expert,
natural food freak friend of mine. I was skeptical at first, but gave it a
try. I especially love it to sweeten my tea. Haven't used it in cooking
yet; it's kinda expensive, but they sell it in larger bags for those who
use larger quantities. It's quite excellent and supposed to be "natural"
since it's derived from fruit rather than chemicals. I highly recommend
you give it a try.