13684975164_750b118771_oTwo months ago I declared war on sugar, on Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Gobstoppers, on orange juice and molasses-sweetened bread. In the comments section of that post, you generously shared with me tips and tricks from your own battles with sugar, many of which I’ve called upon over the last several weeks.

So did I win? Did I vanquish sugar for life?

Here’s a dispatch from the field:

1. I’m eating far fewer cracker-y treats than I used to. Instead of swiping my kids’ Goldfish or Annie’s bunnies mid-afternoon, I’ve been following Lisa‘s advice to grab something with protein instead. I love nuts – I’m downright nuts for them! – and a handful of nuts or trail mix has become my go-to snack. I’ve also been mindful of eating some protein at breakfast, usually some cheese or a spoonful of peanut butter. (Have I mentioned I really like nuts?) This seems to help keep my sugar cravings at bay.

2. I’ve realized the fundamental truth of Milka‘s comment, linking lack of quality sleep to sugar cravings and encouraging me to focus on sleeping better if I want to reduce my yen for sugar. Over the past two months, I have seen strong evidence this connection. I make much better eating choices on days when I’ve slept well the night before. On days after I’ve, say, stayed up way too late watching not one but TWO UConn basketball teams bring home national championships and then all of the post-game interviews that followed, I’ve been far more likely to succumb to sugar’s siren song.

3. Taking a page from Andrea‘s book, I’ve become more of a “dessert snob.” I’ve tried to be very mindful of not eating sweets that I don’t even like (hey, Peeps up there, I’m looking at you) just because they’ve come home in a goody bag from a child’s birthday party. I’m still eating desserts, but trying hard not to consume what Michael Pollan would call ”edible foodlike substances.”

4. I’m also working to eliminate artificial sweeteners, and with pretty good success so far. I’ve been reading more about the way that sugar substitutes trick our brains into not associating sweetness with calories, often making us crave more sweetness to scratch that sugar itch, and have been phasing them out in order to help reset my palate.

As for my beloved Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups? They’re still around.

Are they the world’s healthiest treat? Not by a long shot, but, as far as processed food goes, they’re not the worst offenders either. And I really, really like them. So I’ve decided that they can stay. For now at least.

Whether your week brings you Easter candy, Passover macaroons, or none of the above, may all of your days be sweet ones.

Image: Peeps by Mike Mozart via Flickr under a Creative Commons license.

{ 12 comments }

This Is Childhood cover

Hi friends! Brain, Child magazine posted an interview I gave for launch of our new book, This Is Childhood. I’d love for you to check it out. Thanks!

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

My Writing Process

Apr 07

Fascinated as I am by the work habits and routines of fellow writers, I’ve been greatly enjoying the “My Writing Process” meme that’s making its way around the blogosphere. So I was delighted when the very talented Andrea Lani invited me to join in and talk a little bit about my writing. Like so many of us here, […]

22 comments Read the full article →

On Flexibility

Apr 02

Anyone who follows me on Twitter knows that I’m a big fan of KJ Dell’Antonia’s Motherlode blog at the New York Times. And it was with particular interest that I read last week’s post in which she addressed a reader’s question asking her whether, in hindsight, she would advise a new mom to stay at […]

30 comments Read the full article →

All Joy and No Fun: A Review at Brain, Child

Mar 28

Nearly four years ago, journalist Jennifer Senior wrote a piece for New York Magazine that examined “why parents are no happier than nonparents, and in certain cases are considerably less happy.” The article, called “All Joy and No Fun” and provocatively subtitled “Why parents hate parenting,” went viral, inviting comments from parents and the childless alike. In her new book,  All […]

Read the full article →

“How We Spend Our Days Is How We Spend Our Lives”

Mar 26

As I told you last week, Annie Dillard’s The Writing Life is one of my essential books on writing. Among my favorite parts are Dillard’s reflections on time and, what Maria Popova of Brain Pickings calls, “the tradeoffs between presence and productivity.” Before sharing tales of some of history’s most disciplined writers, Dillard reminds us […]

23 comments Read the full article →

6 Essential Books on Writing

Mar 19

If you’re anything like me, you have perfected multiple methods of procrastination you employ when you know it’s really time to write. Among my favorites are organizing my desk and catching up on my favorite blogs, not to mention this one employed by Liz Gilbert: Sometimes you can’t start writing for the day until you […]

23 comments Read the full article →

He’s a Poet and He Doesn’t Know It?

Mar 12

A few weeks ago my husband saved me from myself, from acting too much like the kind of parent that I do not want to be. Our oldest son came home from kindergarten with an enrichment assignment from the school librarian: write a poem to celebrate your love of books in honor of Read Across […]

39 comments Read the full article →

On Putting the Laptop Away

Mar 05

Even though it’s already March, I’ve got them once again: the February doldrums. Like so many of us, I’m greeted each morning by a grey landscape where there is barely a difference in tone between the overcast sky and the crunchy snow on the ground, sullied as it is now by dirt and sand from […]

32 comments Read the full article →

Are Blogs the Letters of the 21st Century?

Feb 26

When was the last time you received a letter in the mail? A good, old-fashioned, honest-to-goodness, hand-written letter? Not just a birthday card, with a short personal message scribbled on it. Or a “We need to catch up soon!” jotted at the bottom of a canned Christmas letter. A letter – on onion-skin stationery or […]

12 comments Read the full article →