Food Diary: A Weekend Without Sugar

Is that even a weekend? I don’t know.

02.02.17
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When I was 23, I practically lived on Sancerre and candy corn; today I had lentils for lunch of my own volition.

I’ve come a pretty long way where healthy eating is concerned. I quit 16 Handles. I know where my greens are grown and my almonds sprouted. I cut Sancerre completely. I’m down to a single caffeinated beverage per day, but incidentally, it’s not enough. Now the evil leaders of the health food movement are doubling down on the nasty side effects (like DEATH) associated with not just processed sugar, but all of it. Naturally occurring sugar, too.

Bananas are practically Snickers according to some nutrition bloggers. If I eat any genus of fruit past 2 p.m., I may as well resolve to coat my lungs in milk chocolate. And smoothies? Smoothies are straight up frozen yogurt dressed in a fitness outfit.

So you can do one of two things right now. Request the short cut* or take the long, windy road down a photographic food diary chronicling a weekend of eating care of my digestive system (and iPhone), nary a sugar cube in sight.

Friday, 1/27:

Meal #1: By 7:45 a.m. I have completed my 10-minute Headspace journey for the day and recited two chapters of David’s psalms. (What? They relax me.) My next call time is 10 a.m., we’re conducting a shoot, and following that shoot, I’m going to yoga (to complete the 30-day challenge, you know), so I should load up this morning.

I would love to eat this cookie — it’s a great way to wake up.

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But nooooo, in spite of the otherwise innocuous nutrition facts, there are eight grams of sugar. (Did I call the supplier to ask how many of these grams are added vs. naturally occurring? Yes. One gram is added. One gram too many.)

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So instead, I go for:

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A cocktail of water, coffee and a sorry-ass smoothie that is more like a bunch of powders mixed into water than anything else. The coffee, sipped out of a mug boasting my high school’s name, is actually a cocktail of cacao powder (no sugar), Elite coffee (Israeli, practically fake), ground cayenne pepper (try it!) and unsweetened almond milk. It’s a small but impactful way to cheat the system.

Meal #2: Moving on! We wrapped the shoot around 11:15 a.m. and I was hungry, so I scarfed down a plate of lentils and avocado from a restaurant at the Mondrian. I acted the part of an annoying millennial and asked, “is there any sugar in this?” The answer was an eye roll and a no.

Meal #3: Cut to 2 p.m. Hungry again, I walk over to Egg Shop, order two poached eggs on a bed of quinoa but request that they hold the miso and I am fed.

By 6 p.m., when I get uptown for Friday night (Shabbat) dinner, it occurs to me that I can’t eat the challah rolls I made with my own two hands on the account of the full cup of sugar that is required from the recipe.

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Meal #4: Instead, I eat three pieces of chicken and like, two plates of salad. I am floored at how many of the dishes that my mother cooks require sugar. (I’d add a list but it’s extensive, so let me just say that I was robbed of my propensity for her cabbage salad, okra, peas, meatballs and lima beans).

Saturday, 1/28:

Meal #1: I wake up at 8:40 a.m. and inaugurate the sun being out for the first time since June with two slices of Ezekiel toast — there is no g-dang sugar in Ezekiel toast.

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That matcha isn’t mine and I’m not done spreading seven-nut butter onto the toast, but hey! Do you like my plates?

Meal #2: Immediately following a Pilates class, I go to Sant Ambroeus.

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This omelet contains Fontina cheese (no sugar, yes hormones), mushrooms and egg whites. The dressing on the side salad is a cocktail of like, mayonnaise and whole-grain mustard. It’s 11:30 a.m., btw.

Meal #3: At 11:50, I am still hungry.

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Which brings me to this avocado toast. I can’t eat the underlying bread, which is arguably the best part of this toast (it’s grilled and there is a sunflower crust), but the avocado smash and poached eggs are fine.

By 3 p.m., I am really hungry again.

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All I want to do is eat these cookies, but I know I can’t do that, so…

Meal #4:

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A very sad plate of dates that are stuffed with walnuts.

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Only Abie ate one, so I had to settle for a solo date plus a handful of cashews.

Meal #5: At 5:15 p.m., we see The Founder (a movie about the McDonald’s story), which should have been better. Following the movie, we get sushi. I forgot to photograph it, but I ate two pieces of salmon sashimi, one piece of salmon sushi aburi-style and a roll that contained salmon and avocado. I had to request all rice be rendered in brown, which made me feel like a wondrous, macrobiotic Gwyneth Paltrow, if only for a moment.

Meal #6, which I had to opt out of:

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Stracciatella ice cream.

Sunday, 1/29:

Of course, I couldn’t stop thinking about ice cream from the moment I woke up on Sunday, so I did the next best thing and attempted to eat an apple. This in spite of the fact that I am supposed to be abandoning all sugar.

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Apparently that date I ate the preceding day wasn’t all that good for me either.

Meal #2: After eating one slice of apple, my teeth got really sensitive, so I gave it to my husband and moved on to:

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Fiber crackers x almond butter x a couple of blueberries.

Here’s what’s in this morning’s coffee concoction:

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This weekend was annoying because I had to geographically limit my caffeine intake to home. All the almond milks used at coffee shops are basically sugar water. Yum!

Meal #3: We met Emily (Weiss) and her husband for lunch at a new restaurant on 6th Avenue and King Street, aptly called King. We were served a tasting menu.

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Mind you, it was awesome. I also had burrata:

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And fried Jerusalem artichoke.

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What? I said nothing about oil, which I am sure the health oligarchs will remember to re-criminalize soon.

Meal #4: Purple yam puree.

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Meal #5: Dinner was kind of sorry-ass, I had kidney bean soup.

And that concludes this boring weekend!

Conclusion: If you requested the short cut, I technically still made you take the windy road, but only ironically because the conclusion is the shortcut.

Confused? It’s not important.

*The point is that we all have an achilles heel. One person’s soft spot for gluten is another person’s emotionally charged relationship with cheese is my dependence on sugar. Yeah, I feel better when I’m avoiding it. I don’t drink and am frankly comforted by the boundaries I must set for my food options. But it’s so boring. Not fun at all! And I will never be one of those people who eat to live, not live to eat. So let me live.

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Feature photo by Krista Anna Lewis.

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