I never thought I’d be a Particular – a person particular about foods. Particulars are called many other things: health crusaders, fad dieters, a ‘bleeding heart’, greenies, ‘a gosh damn nuisance’. Particulars cut out food groups or many for health or ethical reasons. With the rise of obesity and conflicting amount of nutritional information available I don’t blame Particulars with their trollies full of gluten-free/sugar-free/raw/low carb/high protein/completely vegan products. Health is important but we all know you can’t trust a person who won’t eat cake. Of course, that was before I became a Particular myself.
It started with a book, Sweet Poison by David Gillespie and among other things a realisation that I’m addicted to sugar. It’s compared to crack for a reason, although without the back alley dealings and conveniently sold in every store. If I didn’t get my two hourly sugar hit I would start to feel like a car running out of fuel, edgy and irritable before locating a muesli bar and finding the strength, courage and reason to go on.
I don’t want to go all preachy and science-y on you because I’m trying to avoid being one of those Particulars trying to convert others as there’s a fair bit of that going on. Sometime in the not too distant future raw food advocates or vegans will probably stand on the corner of Flinders Street with a portable microphone spouting out theories for the betterment of human kind.
You could say the sugar-free propaganda got me in. But mostly it’s that I don’t want to be addicted to unnecessary foods, especially something so high on the food pyramid. So, I haven’t had sugar in over a week. It may sound easy to you but I am an ice-cream lover, chocolate admirer and a yes-please-I’ll-have-a-second-piece-of-cake kind of person. And yes, the photo above is the second Cadbury factory I’ve visited. In the past I’ve also written to Cadbury asking them if they could employ me as a chocolate sampler. Alright, alright that was less than six months ago..
Maybe it was Cadbury’s impersonal rejection letter that has led me down the sugar-free path. Led me to give up cold turkey. Coming off sugar was weird. I had headaches for the first few days and felt really shaky. I was no Ozzy Osborne but it did give me some sympathy for other addicts trying to break their habits. The most surprising thing was foods that I thought were fine but are full of sugar. I have had to say goodbye to sweet yogurt, pre-made marinades, sauces and milo. Oh milo, why must you be so bad for me?
Being a Particular isn’t so bad when you’re eating at home but when you go out and socialise you became that person. The person who needs to constantly explain their strange eating habits: ‘why are you giving up sugar?’ The person who has to decline politely when a packet of Malteasers are passed around. The freak. But the worst thing of all is being the person who has to ask the waitress about the ingredients in the food. The nuisance.
I never thought I’d be a Particular and who knows maybe it won’t last. I may relapse. I may end up raiding a confectionary store in a moment of weakness. But it’s a week in and I’m feeling great for breaking the habit, I’ve got more energy and am not over-eating. I also made some pretty decent sugar-free banana muffins yesterday. But to be honest I could still really go some mud chocolate cake.