Thursday, May 01, 2008


You really don’t know what you’ve got can’t have it anymore. A naturopath prescribed an anti-inflammatory diet for my recent onset of “digestive issues,” and it’s been a mess of cravings ever since. I have a fairly healthy diet, I think—mostly organic, mostly whole foods, little processed or packaged foods, and a decent amount of fresh produce. Little did I know, that somewhere in between the lines of my healthy diatribes, I had become a sugar junkie.

Yep, now that I can’t have sugar (in it’s true form, or corn syrup or artificial sweeteners), I try to get my fix in anyway that I can. I think about sweet stuff all the time. I can’t wait for my morning oatmeal with maple syrup (the amount that I pour on is surely not allowed in the diet, but I have to give myself some slack somewhere, right?). I squeeze honey over my almond butter smeared on crackers, order the poached pear salad at work every other day, and have been eating more fresh fruit than ever before. I’m about to go online to see if there’s a recipe for sugar-free macaroons (stevia anyone?), if those even exist.

But sweets aren’t even the worst. The worst craving is for golden-outside, soft and chewy inside, warm-and-waiting-for-butter baked goods. The desire that I feel for croissants, muffins, bagels, ciabatta bread, foccacia and even whole wheat toast, is overwhelming. Especially, when I see them, round and ready, in glass pastry cases just about everywhere I go. Rarely have I ever really thought about these things as special, or lusted over the many varieties of sandwich bread. As bread is such a standard element of the American diet, I had never even thought about what life would be like without it, or the emotional comfort that it provides. When it’s cold outside, and you’re tired and hungry, home late after a nine hour shift at work, not being able to throw a piece of toast into the toaster and eat it warm with butter is almost painful.

I was inspired to note this as I’m sitting in the coffee shop at Powell’s bookstore, sipping on my caffeine-free rooiboos chai (which probably contains some form of sugar, hopefully honey, but really, I don’t care), after to summoning every element of willpower I possess in order to suppress the compulsion to give in and buy one of the glistening pastries in the case at the register (is it just me, or are the double-wheel cinnamon rolls there the best looking ones you’ve ever seen?).

Walking in here, I stopped at the cookbook aisle and flipped through one of the Moosewood cookbooks, reading through recipes. As I really got into the details of one of the pancake recipes (envisioning them warm and brown and...), I almost dropped the book. My body tripped for just a second as I got lost in the idea of those delicious treats, and, just like a strength test at the chiropractor’s office, my weakness was pin-pointed.

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