Team Online's Oyster King slips up, but not too badly
The month has come to an end and brings with it an end to my self-imposed ban on sugar. I cannot call the month a success but I am not ready to call it a failure either. I had one early slip up, one conscious decision to overrule my ban and indulge that was more-or-less isolated, and one total collapse towards the end of the month. Let's talk about all three and then my overall thoughts.
The Slip Up (dun dun dunnnn)
It sounds sinister. (It wasn't). Let's just say that after 100 odd oysters. I wasn't quite thinking straight and ordered myself an innocent apple juice. Oh no! Thankfully (?!) my better half Puneet was there and I had barely finished my first sip before she reminded me of my monthly sacrifice. Alas, one Mr. Danny McDonagh was all too quick to claim the now up-for-grabs drink. Surprising -- given the lack of alcohol in it -- but in his defense he was high into the double digit oyster count himself and there was a strange allure about apple juice at the point in time. Alright, so a simple slip-up. Almost a non-story in and of itself which had no really impact on the month as a whole but i'll take any chance to pimp my oyster eating prowess.
About ten days into the month I found myself with a dilemma. I had been doing so well with the month and was feeling fantastic having banished the sugar out of my life.. but here I was at one of the best restaurants in Australia having ordered the degustation menu which included (an already paid for) chocolate fondant for dessert. To indulge, or not to indulge? I thought about why I was doing the month without sugar and decided that it wasn't to punish myself but rather to "experiment" with it and notice the results. My thinking was that I had learned a lot and noticed considerably change already and that I would continue to do so after today -- and that there was no point to be wasteful. So I indulged at Vue de Monde. And it was fantastic. And I have no regrets. And I did go back to no-sugar for the next two weeks, and all was well.
Things went from bad to worse to disaster-mode very very quickly all towards the end of the month. Nothing much to say about it except that life got a bit stressful and my resolve went out the door and I had some chocolate. Then I had some cookies and ice cream. Then it escalated. And only now am I starting to reel myself back in again.
So I would like to call the month a success - but I can't really do that. I'll give myself a partial pass. What did I learn?
The hardest part about eliminating sugar is the first few days. After a week the urges and temptations subside. After two weeks they are almost nonexistent.
My energy levels rose significantly without sugar in my diet.
I ate more fruit and veg. When I did crave something sweet an apple became a highly appealing prospect.
My teeth felt better and oral hygiene improved. I wasn't anticipating this one - but it seems straightforward looking back at it. The dentist is always talking about how bad sweets are for your teeth - so I'm sure I was saving them from cavities but beyond that they just simply felt cleaner. I'm someone who gets that "furry" feeling on their teeth after eating sweet things (is that normal? either way, I hate it) and that went away. So that was cool.
Life without sugar is a bit lame. Sure, all that stuff I just mentioned is great. But so is chocolate. Freshly baked scones with jam & cream? Yes, please. A mug of hot chocolate on a cold winter day? Hell yes. There's not much better than a really delicious dessert when you've been craving it for a while. So, what to do?
I've decided that while a life without sugar is still worth living - it's not a life that I want. That said the benefits without sugar were really tremendous and I felt fantastic without it and want to get those back. The solution seems easy to me - let's just see how easy it is to implement and stick to: I feel like most if not all of the benefits will still be seen with a significant reduction in sugar, with the occasional indulgence allowed. And that's all I want really. I'm going to cut out the daily tim tams and stop having a half-full tub of mint-chocolate chip ice cream on hand in the freezer. And I will certainly continue to steer clear of soft drink and sweet juices. But as Jerry Seinfeld famously said: "If I want a cookie, I'll have a cookie":
It's halfway through October already and I never decided what to give up this month. I've had a hectic and unusual past few weeks and it wasn't a high priority. So I'll take my partial pass and use this month as a minor setback and re-start the challenge with new found vigor come November.
Roy Bhasin is a member of Team Online