No sweet, no wheat, only duct tape

My daughter had lost 36 pounds and I needed to do the same. But, over Christmas vacation with cookies, fudge and specialty foods? Chain me up, tie my hands behind my back, duct tape my mouth shut; it would take it all to stop the fudge from touching my lips.
I squirreled away a bag of comfort food and ate it before the plane landed just to hedge any hunger pangs. I was traveling in comfort and was taking all my comforts with me. I packed my Greek book and downloaded all my projects on a flash stick, threw in an electric blanket, slip-on shoes without laces and Christmas gifts.
Then the fear that I feared came upon me. Our daughter, excited over a food plan, asked me if I was serious about changing my lifestyle and I told her yes.
“This is what you can eat. Sweet potatoes smothered with chili made from pumpkin, noodles made from zucchini, all vegetables, fruit and proteins. No cheese, no milk, no sugar, no grain.”
“No sweets? What about sugarless candy?” I asked knowing I had a suitcase packed with these harmless items.
“No, we are going to reset your taste buds.” My daughter rolled her eyes at me. “It’s going to be harder than I thought.”
Instead of visions of sugar plums dancing in my head, weird foods were whirling in my mind. I thought life as I knew it was about to end.
Hands on hips, my daughter said, “They’re just vegetables. You have to learn to eat healthier foods and read the labels. You will find that everything has sugar in it. You can no longer have sugar. Absolutely no sugar.”
“Well, I do love sweet potatoes. I’ve never eaten one without brown sugar and butter, but I will try.” After tasting a sweet potato without all the sweet stuff added, I learned that a sweet potato is actually sweet. This was news to me.
I felt like the old man in the commercial years ago, sitting on the front porch of his southern home. He drank ice tea and was bewildered. “For 50 years I’ve been drinking Lipton tea and believed there was nothing else. Now I have discovered Louisiana sweet tea. Wonders will never cease.”
I understood completely. I have learned something new at this late age of life. By the end of our vacation, I was sold. I perused labels on everything, copied recipes and made wise choices at restaurants. I was surprised that I didn’t cheat. Only at the communion table did I eat a little cracker, but believed I was under grace. After 10 days without sugar, in the midst of our vacation, which seemed like three months, I was ready to confess, “I am a sweet-aholic.”
So what is comfort? I brought all my comfort with me, extra pounds, tight pants and moved like an old woman in and out of the airport. Pantyhose was out of the question, left those at home. I did bring my Sweet Al to help me out of low chairs and tie my shoes. I couldn’t reach them without losing my breath.
It has been a long time coming in resetting my idea of comfort. I blamed it on my genes. My people are stout people. Just look at our grandsons. We produce football players.
On the way home, I packed cashews, bananas and tangerines. I reminded myself not to fall for the peanuts on the plane even if they fell into my lap. It’s a new year and I am determined to eat right. It doesn’t sound exciting, but living in a younger way makes good sense.
Final brushstroke: I can actually live without sugar. I dropped 10 pounds over my Christmas vacation. Sometimes it takes courage to move out of one’s comfort to experience new things, like date paste, naked sweet potatoes and eggs cooked in coconut oil. Maybe one day I might even indulge in a game of Twister if the grandchildren asked me.
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This story was posted on January 18, 2018.