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From: Craig ( -
Subject: A Wistful Wish For Sugar...Any Ideas?
Date: November 24, 2006 at 11:46 pm PST

It always happens--the first steps are the easiest. When I decided to
become vegetarian some years ago, it wasn't so hard. I found a new
enjoyment in cooking and in kinds of food that had been an
undiscovered country to me before, and it was easy to give up meat.

Of course, as I found out more and more about nutrition, I realized
that that really wasn't enough. Finally I became what I had furrowed
my brow over before, vegan. The Dr. Campbell video that had been
available here was the final argument that convinced me to take this
glad, fatal step. Fatal because it is a serious step that shapes an
entire life.

It was a good and right step, and I find myself enjoying the vegan
life even more than I did the ovo-lacto one, but I have a problem.
After Dr Neal Barnard's video on addicting food, I decided that I
needed to cut out as much sugar as I can. I've done pretty well, but...

It really IS addicting, isn't it? I've tried non-nutritive sweeteners,
I've tried going without, I've tried convincing myself that I will get
over it, but if I try to go through an entire day without any sugar at
all--or at least very little, the amount that I will find in a small
glass of soy milk, for example--

By the way, does ANYONE make a nonsweetened soy milk? How about one
without added calcium? Anyone at all?

--I feel, well, empty. Vaguely unsatisfied. I have this wish to end my
meal with just one Fig Newton (or one of its fruit clones). Just a
little sugar, a little refined sin. Please?

I remember as a child hearing a former smoker describe the struggle he
had with quitting, how he would wish for a cigarette, just one, and
become nervous and irritable until he had one. Just one, then he would
be content, at least for a while.

I feel like that, and it irritates me. Just one Fig Newton, one little
slice of chocolate cake, h'm? No harm there, right, so why not? I'd
really like to be able to dispense with it entirely (oh, right. Here
in America, no sugar? What a dreamer), but so far, I have this
presistent wish for it, a wish that, while not overwhelming, simply
will not go away.

This isn't earth-shaking, I realize. It's not like I'm in danger of
becoming Mr. Hyde and roaming the darkened streets, ripping 5-pound
bags of sugar from the grocery sacks of little old ladies, stabbing
them open and, cackling, devouring handfuls of white grains in an
alley corner.

But at the same time, I do not like the idea of not being quite in
control of my dietary desires. I'd like to eat sugar only when I want
to--which isn't often--and not have this constant low-level pressure
to snack on empty calories, yet there it is.

A silly little addiction in the light of all the real ones (a friend
of mine is a policeman, and yesterday he told me of a drug deal gone
bad, resulting in one man shot and gone to the hospital trauma center.
I don't think that I will ever understand the criminal mind. Thank
heaven), but I just want to do all I can to be as healthy as I can.
I'd like to teach my grand- and great-grandchildren what it was like
in the old days (the Sixties and Seventies, if we can remember back
that far. "Gee, Grampa, do you remember the Civil War?"), but even
more, I'd just like to be in control of my dietary life.

Has anyone else labored over such a little work? Am I obsessing over a
gnat? Is there a way that you have found to tame this Boston terrier
hanging onto my pant-leg? Or am I doomed to rock my self to sleep at
night, weeping into my pillow knowing that I am a vegan failure and my
life is pointless because today I had--again!--a Fig Newton?

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