Hump Day: Staying clear of sugary treats at Christmas no easy task

Hump Day
By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2016
Moncton Times & Transcript

I’ve known for a number of years that sugar is the enemy in the North American diet – not fat – but that never stopped me from being a sugar addict. Everyone who smokes knows it’s bad for you. Well, everyone who eats a ton of sugar knows the same thing.

In November, I watched a few sugar industry documentaries and reacquainted myself with the issue. To say the least, I was shocked at much of what I re-learned. How anyone could go near candy, cake or pie after watching those is beyond me.

The point of my story, though, is not to give dietary advice, but to say that I decided to remove refined sugar and artificial sweeteners from my diet in late November. The results so far have been quite positive. I’m also avoiding grains, such as breads, baked goods, etc. Now, that’s all well and good and you may find me skipping down Parlee Beach in my Speedo next summer, but dramatically changing how you eat right before Christmas is an extra challenge.

Let’s face it, Christmas is the season of sugar – candy canes, sugar plums, etc. The lure of traditional Christmas goodies is very strong. Not partaking in traditional holiday food can certainly seem nearly impossible, but I’m determined. I do have two exceptions though. I will get one of my mother’s meat pies (the bad part is the thick biscuit-like crust) and I will eat one poutine râpée (with stevia instead of sugar). Other than at, I’m sticking to my plan.

Now, I’m sure I’ll be hearing a lot of, “It’s Christmas! Eat! Eat!” Oh trust me, people. I have “Eat!” down pat. I have a PhD in “Eat!” Being a complete and hopeless sugar addict, though, means having to put your foot down somewhere. The one meat pie and one poutine are the exceptions, but there’ll be no candy for me this Christmas.

Actually, that sounds like the title of a sad country song, doesn’t it? “There’ll be no candy for me this Christmas! Me and my sweet tooth have to go our separate ways. My little Tommy and Suzie will spend the holidays eating spinach and kale. And then they’ll kill me in my sleep.” Hey, I said it was sad! Just put my Grammy award in the mail.

I’ve already resolutely committed to being very strict except for those two previously mentioned items, but I know I’m going to have to be firm with some people who’ll be trying to shovel candy into me. If you know an alcoholic who’s newly sober, do you tell them to let loose and go on a bender at Christmas? Well, maybe you do, but you shouldn’t.

I think Baby Jesus would rather see me in church, feeding poor people or helping seniors cross a busy street at Christmas rather than eating candy. “My child, you did not eat an entire box of chocolates on Christmas morning. Verily, you have vexed me and will walk the burning streets of hell for all eternity.” Something tells me that isn’t the way it works. If it does work that way, then the sugar industry is a heck of a lot more powerful than I thought it was!

Yeah, most people can let loose a little bit during the holidays and then hop right back on the train afterwards. I’m not one of those people, though. If I eat one chocolate, I’ll disappear and the authorities will find me naked and covered in sprinkles and caramel in a ditch a week later after a sugar bender.

If you’ve started a new eating regime that’s working for you, I would encourage you to try and stick with it as much as possible during the holidays. Pigging out and going off kilter isn’t going to help anyone – and I doubt any church services are going to be recognizing people who’ve gone off the deep end in order to celebrate Christmas.

“We’d like to thank Becky for helping out at the soup kitchen. And then there’s Bob who helped a man learn to read. And Phyllis who delivered meals to shut-ins. Oh – and then there’s Brian who scarfed down six fruitcakes. He is truly a hero among us. Bow to him! Honour him! Kiss his ring!” Again, pretty sure that’s not how it works.

Some people can handle a bit of cheating. Others can’t. Having to say “No!” – even firmly – to well-intended offers from people this Christmas may be awkward, but it may save you from waking up naked in a ditch a month from now wondering what happened. And with that, Merry Christmas! Eat well.

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