I’m really starting to consider what it means for my life if we quit sugar forever. Obviously we’ll come in contact with some every now and then when we’re out because it’s almost impossible not to. Tyler and I are really thinking we won’t have any around the house though, and I’ll keep cooking and exploring life without it.
My biggest question and reservation right now is, “What if I don’t want cake on my birthday?”
I know it sounds silly, but it’s a legitimate concern. For my whole entire life, all 28.5 years, I’ve had some type of cake on my birthday. We are letting Ethan have cake on his birthday coming up in a few weeks, and we’re both really interested to see how all of our stomachs handle it or not. But what if in January, when it comes time for me to turn 29, I don’t even enjoy sugary cake anymore? What does that mean for my life and for me as a person? How am I going to blow out my candles?
Really, it sounds trivial, but birthday cake is a huge tradition. I asked Tyler about it the other day, and he quite frankly said, “That’s probably what will happen if we keep on the no-sugar diet.”
Since then, I’ve been racking my brain to figure out what we’ll replace it with. A favorite meal? A fun excursion? A nice glass of red wine? A sugar-free, fruit-based dessert? A date night? I honestly have no clue.
What does it look like for my life to exclude sugar? It’s a huge forever change to make, and I was even a pretty “healthy” eater before we started this whole trek.
But really, it’s not the sugar I’m afraid to lose, it’s the nostalgia.
There are so many positive memories associated with consuming sugar. I think that’s where the sugar industry targets us, especially children. For example, you smell or taste something that’s linked to a memory, and suddenly you are back to being 4-years-old licking the icing off the beaters of your mom’s Kitchen Aid. Those memories mean so much, and we experience them even more vividly because of taste or smell. So thinking of living a life without that thing is kind of scary in some ways. The key will be to build positive memories without sugar that can make me nostalgic. It will just take time.
I never thought something like sweets could spark such strong emotion, but I shouldn’t be surprised. Something like sugar consumption, which is so ingrained in our culture, traditions, and even daily foods, would be a hard thing to rip out of our lives entirely. We eat it when we’re tired, bored, lonely, PMSing, stressed, joyful, celebrating, etc. The list goes on. It seems like any emotion we have can somehow be linked to a memory of or desire for sweet consumption.
It may be a daunting task, but we’re going to try and replace all of those emotions and memories with something other than sugar. It doesn’t have to have sugar to make you happy. Just realizing that fact shows how much we relied on it in the past. Maybe on our birthdays we’ll want sugar, and maybe it will make us sick, but maybe we’ll be happy eating something else instead or spending time together with family and friends.
I don’t know yet, but I’m willing to find out. I’m a skeptic, but I like adventures.
Photo by LaCross Photography of Evan, my sweet nephew, on his first birthday enjoying delicious cupcakes.