html xmlns="" xml:lang="en" lang="en"> From the archives: Just like The Secret.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Just like The Secret.

Every now and then I give up sugar for the month. I am embarrassed I do this, because is it such a cliche among my people. But I like the way it resets my sweet tooth much lower, and I feel calmer when I don't eat sugar, and I like the simple decision rule (um, no cane sugar). 'No sugar this month' is the only way to handle December, for example*. A few days into 'No sugar', I don't miss it, stop wanting it at all.

Unless I eat sugar by mistake. If I get a little sugar, the desire for more comes flooding back; I want cake and cookies and other kinds of cookies, with some ice cream too. My friend who has been off sugar for years says that that is the primary way he knows when he got some (in otherwise savory sauces, for example), that he all of a sudden craves dessert again. I decided that sugar calls to sugar.

I'm also deciding that anger calls to anger. This is obvious, and one mechanism for why commenters look like the blogger, and something we see all the time. It surprises me, like many obvious things do, because lots of times I encounter anger, register it as anger and don't have any strong reaction to that at all. ('Cause, like, I'm secure about whatever that issue was.) But here it is. I felt anger, and wrote it up. People who are angry found it and got triggered by that and not the rest of the stuff I write here. They returned it and more, listing old anger trigger points.

But it is ever true. What you put out is what you get back. This works in reverse, too. This is fine. It is better than fine when you are putting out love and acceptance. But the flood of angry comments is inevitable when you're working with people who aren't practiced in recognizing and stepping outside that cycle. I'll likely still do it, if I think the content aside from anger is interesting. But I need to remember how people react and decide that experiencing that response is worth it.

*Should December offer me a rare treat (like good marzipan with good dark chocolate), I take it, using Mel's rule: when you make exceptions, don't make excuses.


Blogger JRoth said...

So would a tomato sauce with a 1/2 tsp of sugar set you off? That's crazy.

I'm sorry, were you trying to make some larger point?

1:42 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Larger point? Not really. I'm as interested in the sugar.

Dunno whether a half teaspoon of sugar in (how much?) sauce would set me off. The whole thing sounds a trifle over sensitive until you try it. If you have had the subjective experience of suddenly craving sugar again, after you haven't for days and tracing that back to the sauce, it starts to be the plausible explanation.

1:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm seriously, genuinely suspicious of the character of people who don't crave sugar. Anyone who's that far removed from the kid they used to be is someone you should keep an eye on.

David J. Balan

2:45 PM  
Blogger JRoth said...

The 1/2t would probably be in ~14 oz. of crushed tomatoes, or two servings. So let's say 1/4t on your personal plate of (whole wheat, organic) spaghetti.

I'm not at all trying to mock you or your tribe's customs, but I learned about 10 years ago that random food puritanism/asceticism is pointless (totally setting aside ethical stands along vegan lines). I dropped salt from my own cooking in late HS, reasoning that I get more than enough from foods that I don't cook, plus foods I cook often include salt in sources like cheese. Then a friend cooked some fajitas at my house and salted the raw chicken, and it was a damn explosion of flavor, from just a sprinkling (1/4t/lb, if that). And I realized that I'd been a fool.

I still salt things lightly, and am happy to have recalibrated myself away from the American standard for saltiness, but I don't place excess value on cutting a fundamental flavor from my diet.

Again, I'm not trying to crap on your month-long vacation from sugar, but my experience leans very heavily towards "enough! or too much," in Blake's words.

PS - Will we ever get a longer BM post? My sister has gone for 5 or so years now, but I'm really curious to get another VP on it.

3:41 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Dude, I love salt, and since my blood pressure is usually something like 90/60, I salt everything with abandon.

I get how you're reacting to the sugar asceticism. Like I said, I feel silly about it. (And I totally mock the no-wheat people. Until one day I try it. That day will not be soon.) But doing it is a noticeable enough shift in taste and temperament that it is occasionally the better choice.

I don't know if I can come up with a good Burning Man post. There are tons of Burning Man blogs and pictures, and I don't think I can add much value to them. I'd love to talk about it with you or anyone, but there is too much to write down without veering into the usual Burning Man pron-type prose.

4:00 PM  
Blogger JRoth said...

Well the thing is, I'm interested in a BM post from someone I already have an understanding of. My sister is too close, and while I'm not even a daily reader here (bidaily? semidaily?), your bureaucratic/geeky/hippie heart speaks to me, and I'm really curious what it was for you. But I also understand why you're reticent. Which, in turn, piques my curiosity.

4:07 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Hmmm. Prompt me with some questions?

4:25 PM  
Blogger dgm said...

Magnesium supplements, which I started taking because my calcium/magnesium balance was off, has done wonders for me in many ways, the most surprising of which was to practically eliminate sugar cravings. I noticed this last year after Halloween, facing two full bags of my children's loot and thinking, "Nah, nothing here interests me. It all seems too sweet."

FWIW, magnesium also helps me get a nice uninterrupted night of sleep, relaxes the muscles, and helps take the PMS edge off. Whether it can prevent anger from facing anger, however, I cannot say.

5:04 PM  
Blogger Jacqueline said...

I need to go on a sugar fast too. They keep buying candy at my office and I'm getting Office Ass from succumbing to sweet temptation too often. :(

5:36 PM  
Blogger billo said...

Could you do a post on dark chocolate?..I'm starving.

9:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One data point in favor of Megan's sugar theory. I once did 4 month's with no refined sugar. No honey, molasses, maple syrup,etc. either. Fairly limited carbs - no white breads, no wheat pasta, not much in the way of dark bread or rice. A few pieces of fruit daily was as close as I came to a sugar hit for months. Logistics were harder than willpower. It required preparing nearly 100% of what we ate.

Anyway... We were making a knock off of Derby Pie at work, and it wasn't setting up properly. (Chocolate, nuts, sugar & Bourbon- yum) Unthikingly I took a bite to determine what was wrong. They had to lay me out in a booth because I was too dizzy to stand. The bourbon had long since given up most of the alcohol, and I'm not diabetic - that means the unaccustomed sugar hit of one forkful of pie left me needing a ride home.

And no - my diet in no way resembles that these days, although I'm not much of a fan of very sweet desserts.


6:13 PM  
Blogger matt said...

It's not just sugar, though, I think it's most foods. I gave up cilantro for a month once, just out of curiosity. All it took was a couple of flakes in a pasta sauce, and I knew the rest of my food was missing something.

Crazy how sensitive our palates can be when we get past our usual desensitized tastes...

and I second that request for more about Burning Man...

7:18 AM  
Anonymous doctorpat said...

I've just started a diet (called ABCDE) which involves going very light on calories for 2 weeks off, and then two weeks full on eating.

My too weeks off will largely consist of no sugar, no simple carbs. So no sugar, no chocolate (sob) no chocolate cake, no caramel slices, no muffins, no pasta, no bread, croissants, potatoes, noodles, softdrinks, milk, flavoured milk, chai lattes etc (just to name the things that I have available for free at work).

So far, no problems, but of course, I do much the same thing every lent.

And yes, sometimes a sweet pear or orange can make me lightheaded after a few weeks of such a diet.

8:25 PM  
Anonymous doctorpat said...

See how we all prefer to talk about sugar than hate.

We must be lovely people.

8:27 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

That's OK. The part about anger was an admission of my faults. I'm just as happy that we're talking about sugar instead.

11:19 AM  

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