Tag Archives: Sugar

Three Months Later and I’m Still Avoiding Dessert (and Sugar)

It’s been over three months since my post about cessation of dessert eating, so I thought I’d offer a bit of an update.

It was actually a lot easier than I thought it would be to stop eating sugar. I’m aware that this might be a result of my conviction to the matter and that some people can have a real hard time giving up sugar (because of habits, addiction, etc.). Since giving it up, I have hardly had any sugar (i.e. refined sugar), but there have been times when I’ve been out of the house and in a pinch, I reached for a chocolate bar instead of a piece of fruit. However, each time that I do that, I’m harshly reminded just how bad it is to eat a chocolate bar (for me). Minutes after finishing the chocolate bar, my stomach almost immediately feels terrible and I wish I hadn’t eaten it. That’s happened a couple of times, but like I said, each time that it does happen, I’m reminded just how terrible a choice it is for me to reach for a chocolate bar instead of a piece of fruit or nuts (or nothing!), even if I’m glad that I’m living in Canada, the land of Coffee Crisp.

There’s only been one time that I’ve eaten something sugary and haven’t regretted it — a piece of tiramisu at a wedding. Each bite was heavenly. With that being said, I should clarify that this one of only a couple of times that I’ve opted in for dessert. I don’t remember the other time, but I remember that it made me feel more like I did after the chocolate bars, so maybe my palate has developed such that I can only eat dessert that is of high quality? I realize that sounds a bit pretentious, but it’s not unheard of for one’s palate to change with age.

Even though I’ve dipped into the sugar pot here and there, it’s still my intention to avoid dessert (and sugar, in general). These experiences with sugar since my “decision of cessation” have taught me just how much sugar can have an effect on my body (including my brain).

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A few other things I wanted to mention. Did you know that there’s sugar in bacon? I certainly did not, but when I began reading the ingredients of things to see if there was sugar in them, I was shocked to find that there’s sugar in bacon. And it’s not just the ‘conventional’ bacon. I looked through a bunch of “organic” bacon packages and there was sugar in them, too. It was news to me.

Also along the lines of sugar in things that we wouldn’t expect: potato chips. I used to eat Miss Vickies Jalapeño chips as a kid and when I came across the Kettle Brand of Jalapeño chips, I would choose those instead. However, upon turning over the package, I was floored to find that sugar’s an ingredient. It’s not just the Kettle Brand of chips, either. I looked at a bunch of other “healthier” options of potato chips and, surprisingly, sugar is in them, too.

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Lastly, I wanted to close with something I said a few years ago, with regard to diet:

One could read and try thousands of diets from Alicia Silverstone’s to Suzanne Somers’ and still never find the perfect diet. I think that this is the case because there is no perfect diet for everyone.

 

Tyler Cowen Convinced Me to Stop Eating Dessert

It’s been a couple of months since my last post, but with the academic semester waning, I should have a bit more time to get a few things written and posted here in the next month. Several weeks ago, I came across a post from a colleague, Tyler Cowen, who wrote about desserts. From Cowen:

Let me stress there are two different propositions:

1. “I don’t like desserts.”

2. “I don’t like desserts (with economist’s hat on).”

I meant mainly the latter, although I do also find many desserts overrated.

In any case, the sugar and calories “shadow price” of most desserts is pretty high.  I’d rather consume my health sins in other ways, and so relative to their actual net prices I find few desserts are worth it.

The green pepper is a food which as a human I like a small amount but as an economist I like a great deal.

I read this post, as luck would have it, a few days before I got the flu. When I get sick, I usually eat ice cream. While I know that’s very counterintuitive and probably contraindicated, for me, so far in this life, eating ice cream has done the trick in making me feel better and nursing me back to health quickly. I suppose it also helps that I don’t often get sick and so the eating of ice cream when I’m sick doesn’t have much of an effect on my health (or at least I like to think that it doesn’t). So this time, upon falling ill, I decided I wasn’t going to eat ice cream and upon regaining my health, I kicked desserts altogether.

This was a big move for me as I’m known to have a sweet tooth for Ben & Jerry’s (coffee coffee buzz buzz buzz, in particular). On a side note, I wonder if this decision would have been harder if my favourite kind of ice cream were sold in Ottawa. The closest thing I can get to my favourite flavour of Ben & Jerry’s is Coffee Heath Toffee Bar Crunch. Anyway, so even though Cowen didn’t write a treatise on the matter, the simple yet eloquent argument about the negative effect that dessert has on a nation’s health and the effect that this can have in so many other areas, made me want to give up dessert.

It’s been over a month since I’ve given up dessert and while I’ve certainly thought about “cheating” and having something here or there, I’ve held strong to my conviction.

At this point, I should also add that I expanded my “no desserts” decision to sugar, in general. I’ve made a conscious decision to try and select foods that don’t have any (or very little!) sugar in them. For instance, did you know that some organic saltines (!) have sugar (evaporate cane juice, but still) in them? Or, some organic crackers, in general? A more obvious choice in cutting out sugar comes from trips to Starbucks. My drink of choice used to be vanilla lattes or caramel macchiato’s, but what do you think is in those flavour shots? Back to americano’s or cappuccino’s for me.

At some point, I do imagine that I will begin to eat “dessert” again, but there’s something that I’ll want to remember if/when I do decide to eat dessert again — just because I’m served a plate of dessert doesn’t mean I have to eat a plate of dessert.

There’s a story that I remember being told about Kate Hudson. I tried to find it just now, but Hudson recently mentioned something about a story in France that has similar keywords to the search I ran and so I’m not able to find it. It may or may not be true, but let’s just say that it is. When Hudson was young, her mother (Goldie Hawn), taught her an important lesson when it came to dessert: only take one bite. That is, when you’re served a piece of pie or a piece of cake, it’s not necessary to eat the entire piece. Instead, just take one bite of the dessert to “enjoy” the taste of the dessert and let that be it.

So, if/when I go back to eating dessert, my plan is to just take one bite and then push my plate forward.

Twenty Online Talks That Will Change Your Life, Part 2

Yesterday, I began going through one of The Guardian’s articles about 20 online talks that could change your life. We got through the first 10 talks yesterday. In this post, we’ll look at the last 10 talks.

11. Shaking Hands With Death – Terry Pratchett

12. The Voices in My Head – Eleanor Longden

If you have no experience with schizophrenia, Longden’s talk will certainly change that. It’s important to note, not everyone comes as ‘far’ as she did. Nonetheless, I hope her story fosters empathy within you.

13. Arithmetic, Population and Energy: Sustainability 101 – Albert Bartlett

I don’t remember when I first saw this lecture from Bartlett, but I know that it was probably one of the first lectures I watched on the internet (maybe 15 years ago?). If you’re captivated by headlines like “Crime Doubles in a Decade,” or you’re confused about inflation then you’ll learn a lot in the first half of the video. As someone who majored (second major) in sociology, I can certainly empathize with the idea of a Malthusian catastrophe. I suppose I’m putting stock in the fact that something will change before it gets to that. You may be tired of hearing that people of time X couldn’t have predicted what life would be like in time Y, but I’d say that this is a big factor in why I think we’re not hurtling toward the future that Bartlett explains. Of course, I could be wrong, but I really think that something will change before it comes to this.

14. The Coming Collapse of the Middle Class – Elizabeth Warren

15. The Secret Powers of Time – Philip Zimbardo

If you’ve ever taken PSYC 100, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of Zimbardo. If the name doesn’t sound familiar, his famous experiment will: the Stanford Prison Experiment. I remember watching the RSA Animate version of this talk a couple of years ago. Zimbardo shines a light where you might not have been looking: your relationship to time.

16. The secret to desire in a long-term relationship – Esther Perel

17. Printing a human kidney – Anthony Atala

In 2011 when this talk was given, the idea of 3D printing was brand new. To some, it may still be. I remember talking about it last year in the context of rapid technological change. If you’re still fuzzy on 3D printing, this is an enlightening place to start.

18. Do schools kill creativity? – Ken Robinson

If you’ve ever watched a TEDTalk, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of this one from Ken Robinson. As of this time last year, it was the most watched TEDTalk – ever – with almost 15,000,000 views. If you haven’t seen this one, spend the next 20 minutes doing just that.

19. Sugar: The Bitter Truth – Robert Lustig

20. Moral behavior in animals – Frans de Waal

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If you liked this paper/series, you might want to check out some of the other papers/series I’ve posted.