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A sad update on the Sugar Bet….part 1 of 2

It’s shameful that I’ve been delaying writing this post. You might know that on Sept. 11, I swore off all refined sugar, for a year. My friend Matthew Flinders and I put $10,000 on that bet.

I haven’t eaten much sugar in recent years. A tiny fraction of what most Americans eat, for sure. I don’t cook with it. 80 percent of my diet is raw plant foods. I don’t serve any dead animals in my home. (I have a Junior PETA member who lives here, to keep me honest!) I don’t eat fried foods, or fast food. I drink nothing sugared, ever.

Nothing about that paragraph I just wrote is really making me feel any better than what I’m about to tell you.

Occasionally, at a social event or in a restaurant, I ate dessert. Usually chocolate. When I was younger, I ate a LOT of sugar. A shameful amount. I think I would look 10 years younger if I’d figured out earlier, to avoid the white stuff. It ages you faster than anything.

Well, here’s the deal. After a little over six months, I lost the bet. I’m not proud of this story. I think you’re going to get a sense of how human I really am. First of all, you should know that brownies are my kryptonite. (Superman was strong…..but kryptonite weakened and nearly destroyed him.)

I was doing great. I didn’t have cravings for chocolate very often. I hadn’t really noticed any big differences in my health from not eating sugar. I assumed that was because I didn’t eat much of it in the first place.

I was in Hawaii. Debbie, a GSG reader, set the whole trip up, and she and I were shopping in a little beach town. We stopped for lunch. You should know that Debbie follows a lot of 12 Steps to Whole Foods, and she’s recently implemented more of the program. The biggest difference for her was that the GSG way of life taught her the value of eating her vegetables RAW rather than cooked. She says she’s noticed a huge upward shift in her energy from that change alone.

But Debbie, oh my goodness I love this lady….and she loves her chocolate. She loves Chocolate Beet Cake (Ch. 11), and she has a Chocolate Bean Cake. (We’ve posted the recipe here on the blog in the past.) And dark-chocolate candy bars from the health food store. She’s gotta have her fix every day.

Anyway, I’d had a salad for breakfast, and I’d just finished a salad for lunch. I was in Hawaii toting half a dozen bikinis, after all.

I was still hungry after my salad. Debbie said, “Would it be okay if I got dessert?” No problem, I said! Actually, I was hungry and craving something yummy and sweet. But I figured it’d be fine. I did have the thought to go wait for her outside in the sunshine—but that seemed rude. No big deal. I’ve been with friends many times in the past six months while they eat dessert.

Well, what they delivered to Debbie was a fabulous-looking brownie, with hot fudge….and vanilla ice cream. And whipped cream. KRYPTONITE.

Suddenly I remembered Matthew’s caveat: “You can’t lose the bet if you didn’t KNOW it had sugar in it.” In the moment, it seemed like my “out.” I said to Debbie, “Well, we ARE in Hawaii. It could be coconut sugar in that brownie, right?” (Coconut sugar is legal for Matthew and me. Although I’ve never had any in the past 6 months.)

And in just a few seconds, it was over. I’d reached over and taken a bite of her brownie. A few bites.

It settled over me that day….very quickly, in fact….that my integrity would not allow me to lie to myself like that. Let alone to Matthew, who, I assume, has faithfully and studiously avoided all sugar. He says he’s read more labels since September than in his entire life put together.

The rest of the story…..tomorrow.

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