It seemed like a good idea at the time, virtuous as well as very adult; to give my sugar intake a rest for awhile. I plunged forth fortified with a whole arsenal of information on the ill effects of sugar on body and mind. But rather aggressively, similar to the manner in which one clears out an overstuffed closet, I wholesale dumped other foods out of my diet as well. Kind of wondering what all the fuss was about gluten, I tossed out wheat and then gave dairy the boot since it too is a common allergen. A few weeks in- I hit the slightly erratic point of the clean out process. I decided to curb my enthusiasm for cussing, rid myself of the phrase “you guys” in my daily speech, and really if all of that weren’t enough, I thought the world would be a better place if we stopped complaining so much—so I tossed that habit upon my growing list of insanity. I can say with certitude, this little investigation hit deep, though not at first.
The provocateur in me baited for some reaction when I calmly waltzed through the first three weeks. I kept thinking that I would feel radically different; that my eyes would sparkle and my skin would glow or on the other spectrum that I might become completely unhinged. Nothing so obvious occurred; the biggest difference was that I consistently felt hungry. The kind of hunger that had me obsessing about drippy fully loaded cheeseburgers especially at night. It became apparent that the many innocent snatches of treat that I was used to: lovely nibbles and forbidden morsels translated to something more substantial over a week’s span. And without—oh drear, my diet haikued to foods straight out of a 70’s dietician handbook. Bland limp green beans, boiled kale, rough hewn tomatoes and cukes, and leathery chicken, over and over with little variation again. Along with the abstention of a few ingredients, also went the ability to cook and enjoy foods. Strange but true, but the flourishes of attention that make a meal fabulous simply walked out my door.
In sugar’s absence I was finally able to see its value a little more clearly. I set about this project from a health stand point assuming that the physical body would function optimally without sugar, a not so nice vice right? It became clear that I plunged forth without a clear understanding of what I was actually letting go of. I certainly didn’t think that anything needed to be added in as fair exchange and as a result -well I became quite lop sided. Roughly life without sugar translated into less emphasis around food and pleasure, which freed me up to work that much harder* thereby spending more time in my head and consequently sleeping less. As the weeks accrued, I observed this growing imbalance and became more aware of how food dissolves and occupies the soul, a sort of energetic signature. Generally acquainted with the macrobiotic principle of balancing expansive and contractive forces in cooking, this idea especially became clear. Sweets have an open, uplifting quality. As do simple carbohydrates, joy, and laughter. With the brute attack on my diet and eventually other ways of being, I settled into a seriously contracted place. Every rule and should-not added atop every indulgence departed, allowed the pattern of school marm consternation and rigidity to ripple through me, leaving me small, colorless and pinched. While it may be misleading to say that sugar is the lynch pin that makes my life run well, I’ll just conclude that bright open skies make good companion to the dark terrain below.
* Here is a link to my new ETSY shop named Wonder Room. The images that I create for this blog have really inspired me to continue creating more art. Thanks to all of you who come by to read and share!HUFFLEPUFF BLONDIES- adapted from White Bean Blondies at Healthy and Green Living: Eating the words in my dream was the first step. These blondies were the second. Blondies have sentimental value. I love the contrast between vanilla with a hint of butterscotch, against the chocolate. Moist, almost fudgy, but still utterly winsome. I thought these were interesting and wholesome in a balanced even slightly virtuous way. The right amount of expansion with contraction!
1 stick butter melted
1 ½ C pinto beans (basically a can drained and rinsed)
¼ C brown sugar
¼ C maple syrup
1 ½ tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. carob/coffee substitute (optional, I didn’t try this but suspect it would be great)
½ tsp. salt
¾ C oat flour (pulverize almost a cup of oats in a blender)
1 C millet flour (can substitute another flour)
1 C chocolate chips
½ C toasted walnuts
Directions: Deplorably easy. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in a pan and cool slightly. Toast walnuts and chop half the chips to give them a more unstandardized look, after all some “work” is needed. Then throw melted butter, beans, sweeteners, eggs, vanilla, and salt into the blender and whirl into a smooth consistency. In a medium bowl, place your dry ingredients. Gently mix the wet into the dry until just mixed. Grease up an equivalent to a 9inch round. I would have preferred this in a square pan, since I don’t care much for wedges but use what you have. Place in oven and bake until it comes out clean in the center when poked. I forgot the time, perhaps 35 minutes? Mine was in a little too long and I don’t think it suffered as much as typical brownies would, as the bean puree gives this definite moistitude. Cool and cut. I think the flavor develops better by the next day. Remember, one can embellish with the enthusiastic exclamation, ”HUFFLEPUFF! HUFFLEPUFF! HUFFLEPUFF!” Loosen girdle appropriately.