Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Diary of a Sugar Relapse

On Sunday night, my Long Haired Boy and I went out for a belated birthday dinner at Portofino's Takapuna. After a weekend binging on the honey we bought at the farmers market on Saturday, I resolved not to have any sugar. Courtney drank the glass of wine I was entitled to with the meal as well as his own, and I drank water.
Aside from the fact that there was a blade of grass in my rocket garnish, the meals were delicious. Seriously, grass? Anyway. I decided as we ate that since it was my birthday dinner, and I hadn't cheated all week, I would treat myself to dessert. 'Not cheating' was a technicality, I must admit. I am allowed honey since it is a whole sugar and can be processed easily by my body (it's also gone from something I hated to one of my favourite foods of all time, ever since I discovered raw unprocessed real honey, which is really good for you too). The thing is though, I'm allowed it in moderation and moderation and I did not get along from the moment that beautiful raw amber liquid and I set eyes on each other.

Back to Portofino's, where I ordered Tiramisu. Heaven sent Tiramisu although the cream on top tasted old. Not bad, but you could taste the refrigerator it had been sitting in. This was a shame because everyone knows the best part is scraping the piped cream garnish off the top ever so carefully and savouring it before you dive in. You didn't know that? Now you do.

Approximately 2 heaped tablespoons into the dessert, which we will call 1/5 of it, I sat back and said to the Long Haired Boy 'If I hadn't paid so much for this, I'd happily be done right now'. I can guarantee those words have never left my lips in relation to dessert before, at any point in my life, but they did on Sunday night. I just felt like I had indulged and I didn't need any more to achieve that sense of satisfaction. This is an entirely new concept to me.

Despite all of this, I had paid good money for this dessert, and damn it, I was going to eat it. For the next few spoons, I would (very un-romantically) feed Courtney a huge spoonful and then feed myself a much smaller one. I had a bite of the Brandy Snaps Courtney had ordered, but for the most part I was somewhat deceivingly ensuring he had the Lion's share of our desserts.
When I hit the half way mark on Mount Tiramisu, Courts excused himself to go to the bathroom and I sat back and stared at the dessert. Even now, thinking back, my mouth waters and the beautiful little dish of happiness calls to me. At that point in time however, I was quite annoyed with it, and we weren't on speaking terms. I couldn't bare to abandon my life long friend though, and so I had a couple more spoonfuls. Courtney returned and recommenced his assistance, but even then we left a good spoonful or two in the dish. I can't believe I didn't scrape the sides of that bowl with my finger. This is a once in a lifetime occurrence people. What a waste of dessert.

All in all, I'd say I ate half of the entire Tiramisu serving. As I sat back in my seat and stared at the leftovers in the centre of the table - no mans land, the furthest point from each of us that had pushed it away - I felt seriously ill. How could dessert, life long friend - soulmate - be doing this to me? I know I got annoyed at it, but it was really just a lover's tiff. Courts and I settled the bill and walked out to the bike.

In the time it took to cross the road, approximately 10 minutes after I finished eating, the Sugar High hit. Honestly, it felt like I was on a really bad herbal, the kind where you get really annoyed at the fact that you parted with money in order to feel a little bit hyper and talk really fast. Not that I would know anything about that. But honestly, I got the racing heart and the bright eyes, and everything became extremely important to say. Dearest readers, I had reverted to the children's-birthday-party instincts that had lay dormant in me for 20-odd years.

I wish I could say we rode off into the sunset, purely for romantic effect, but we didn't. We rode off into the biting wet air, narrowly avoiding getting drenched on the way home. 25 minutes into the 30 minute journey, I started slumping. My eyes were heavy and my brain function was slowing. When we got home however - hello, second wind.

Anyone following me on Twitter (if you're not, you should be - shame on you) can attest to the fact that when I got home, I was a little talkative. The random thought I had earlier in the day - that the only thing I want in life is to witness a flash mob - went up first. Seconds later, the world learnt of my grassy salad. Mere seconds after that, Tweet #3 went up. I recalled Courtney saying days earlier that he had never heard of Lionel Richie (after I was in the optometrists standing next to one of the Commodores - how cool is that) and everyone needed to know - because seriously, who hasn't heard of Lionel Richie?! Of course after 3 tweets in the space of 30 seconds, I needed a fourth one to explain my hyperactivity. Let's be honest, I'm just not good enough at Twitter for this sudden influx of activity to make sense without an explanation.

At 10pm at night (my usual bedtime) I started messing with widgets and code on the blog and at 11.30pm I finally went to sleep, both awake and exhausted at the same time. I slept well, but waking up was very difficult. I expected to wake up with a headache as I've done before after treats, but the headache was nowhere to be seen. I did however spend the day feeling very sluggish and unmotivated. Having forgotten snacks for the day, I drank milk to get me through to lunch and then milk again to get me through to dinner. I thought I would have my old cravings back overnight, but it was surprisingly easy to get through the day with only one point where I really wanted chocolate. This revelation is awesome because I had previously thought that after I cracked once, it would be all over.

So after all of this was said and done, am I still glad I'm sugar free? Hell yes. If half a dessert serving can give me the same reaction as a (legal) party pill and cause such physical reactions, what on earth was it doing to me when my body was so full of sugar it didn't register a change in state?

My friend Haakuturi from Is It Paleo found this for me today, it's worth a look.

You don't have to eliminate happiness and joy from your life when you eliminate sugar, like I've said, it's about substitution. And if sugar isn't your vice, you know what is. It's just so worth it to free your body from things it wasn't designed to cope with, even if you do it one tiny step at a time.