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

Robyn Openshaw - Apr 05, 2012 - This Post May Contain Affiliate Links

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.

Posted in: Lifestyle, Whole Food

13 thoughts on “A sad update on the Sugar Bet….part 1 of 2”

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  1. Anonymous says:

    As you said it, you are human after all. We all have our own kryptonite, and all of us struggle with these issues. Mine, sadly, is Coke. I can go weeks or months without it, but if I have just one McDonalds Coke, I’m done and the wheels have fallen off the wagon and I’m stopping to get a large McDonalds Coke every day. There’s something about the carbonation they use or the mix, or they but crack in it.

    What’s more important, at least in my eyes, is the fact that you kept your integrity and you are not trying to hide the fact that this happened. Sometimes that’s all we have is our integrity. To be honest with others, and to be honest with ourselves, is what helps us keep going on. You obviously regret that moment, but you didn’t hide it, and you’re not letting the wheels come completely off. I can admire that.

    I haven’t moved over to a full GSG lifestyle yet, but am trying to move into it little by little. You, and your readers/followers are a huge inspiration to me. My wife and I saw you in Dallas last year when you came through, and it got her inspired too. We hope to move to a more plant based diet in the near future, and I’m getting ready to do a juice fast, just like Joe Cross did in “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead”.

    Keep inspiring us, keep inspiring others, and keep your chin up!

    We Support You!

    Steve W. in Dallas

    1. Robyn Openshaw says:

      Ahhhhh, thank you all, my friends, from the bottom of my heart. (It’s okay to laugh at me, too. After I had a good cry, and after Matthew extended me some mercy—more tomorrow on how I did get right back on the wagon and I WILL finish a year—I have had some laughs at my own expense too.)

      It is what it is. I live in the real world, as do you. I have nothing but compassion for anyone trying to buck pop culture to live a different way.

      Like I always say, wherever you are on the path, incremental improvement IS improvement.

      Much gratitude from GSG today for the compassion and laughs and support!! Cheers,


  2. How timely your post is for me! First, thank you for your honesty. Second, yes you are human…not super woman who never “steps off the wagon” of nutrition.

    Why is this post so timely for me you may ask? Well, my friend from Actual Organics encouraged folks to watch 60 Minutes this past Sunday. She also expanded on the nastiness of sugar on her her blog Dr. Gupta on 60 minutes had a 14 minute piece on the toxicity of sugar. And for once the media didn’t skew things too far away from the truth. It was an emotional time for me as I have recently given up Dr. Pepper’s (finally!!!!) but had secretly been replacing my sugar fix with cake and cupcakes and candy, etc. UGH!!!!! So as I was watching I was being faced with my addiction. Yep I am addicted to sugar…really, it’s possible and it isn’t easy to stop. It is way more than a “will-power” situation.

    So, by YOU-Green Smoothie Girl, the person that I have gone to for much information over the past 4+ years says she lost the sugar bet 6 months in…well that reminds me that we are all human…no matter where we are in our health journey. AND that it wasn’t easy for you because you are the Green Smoothie Girl; because when I first read about the bet I figured it would be easy-peasy for you. I should know better than to make such assumptions, because of course you will get cravings for your “kryptonite ” just as we each have our own “kryptonite” cravings.

    So I thank you again for your honesty and the encouragement you give all your readers.



  3. I’m sorry I’m laughing. I knew that bet would go down in flames. First of all, it was a small amount – in six months. I can’t even make it a week. Second of all, please remember that you are human. Craving/eating chocolate doesn’t mean you aren’t healthy. It is how you do it.

    Remember Robyn, chocolate is a powerful friend – it makes me happy, comforts me, and I love it back.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Good job Robyn! I’m impressed that you ARE human and do have a conscience. Funny how very little control we have-when brownies are visually insight!!!

  5. Anonymous says:

    You lasted six MONTHS?! Sorry, I see no lesser humanity lurking in there – that is still super hero level to me >: ). I really contemplated trying this after your first post and I just laughed at myself. If I went a day, it would be a miracle. So you ‘only’ made it to Marine, instead of Navy Seal. Tuesday I had a perfect day of nutrition and exercise. Was feeling all centered and focused and will of iron-like. Yesterday I came across a plate of Snickerdoodles. I needn’t tell you what happened…

    But each day is new, and 9 out of 10 of my nutritional decisions these days are miles ahead of what they used to be. We are ever a work in progess.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Oh, I am so sorry to hear this only because I can imagine how disappointed you were in yourself. I have totally been there– in fact, I think we all can relate. We do the best we can and we all fall down sometimes. I know I fell down a LOT this past month and have not been pleased with myself. My husband offered to let me work at his office one night and left me a box of Girl Scout cookies in the drawer. Before I knew it the box was gone. I was so upset at myself! The worst part about this story is after I ate them the next day I was going crazy for sugar and the next two times I was at his office I did it AGAIN even though I swore I wouldn’t it. Darn those little girl scouts who begged him to buy 3 boxes from him. 🙂

    I’ve finally got it under control but it did go straight to my stomach. Ugh, it is such a journey….the most important thing to remember is to keep moving forward and never give up. For me, making sure I fill up on the good stuff keeps me from the bad stuff. Even though I’m not able to do that everyday, that is always my intent and I keep working at it.

  7. Anonymous says:

    That’s why it’s “Green Smoothie Girl” not “Green Smoothie Goddess” 🙂 Thanks for keepin’ real.

  8. Anonymous says:

    OMG, a $10,000 brownie, are you crazy?!! 🙂

  9. Sounds great. But will it do any good for a 72-year old whose eating habits have been TERRIBLE most of her life?

    1. Robyn Openshaw says:

      Hi Betty….eating right helps everyone—2 year olds and 72 year olds. 🙂


  10. Anonymous says:

    Hey Robyn! Did you have some Luau pork with the brownie? I know how much you love food combining theories. That combination sounds divine!. lol Hope this experience did not leave a bad taste in your mouth about Hawaii. ;o)

  11. Good job Robyn! I’m impressed that you ARE human and do have a conscience. Funny how very little control we have-when brownies are visually insight!!!

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