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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Getting the Sugar Monkey Off My Back

What three little words in any language mean so much to you? Three precious words that strike a chord, have resonance in one's soul, make your knees go weak and wobbly? Yep, you're right: No Added Sugar.


They do it for me. It's 36 hours now, and I've not had so much as a grain.


Headache, sweaty, a tad feverish, definitely snappish and -- can I say this in a family newspaper -- downright shirty.


To crave is to ask for punishment, and when you've given up seriously large quantities of sugar in your diet overnight, you discover that it hasn't given up you.


I detour on my way to work. There is the direct scenic walk that's good for my fragile just-up-in-the-morning soul -- scenic architectural merit is a mural that never fails to please -- or the one past the bakers, with the cloying aroma of sugar clinging to the air


The detour takes time, and I arrive at work in a fair state of distress.


Compounded, of course, by the mirth of coworkers who believe any attempt at denial demands denigration and scorn.


They are unrepentant sugarholics with levels that would send most normal people off to Finland for immediate tests.


I have been taunted and tempted, and the tally of treats that has been tossed at me is utterly demoralizing and would try the patience of a saint.


Even just today, I resisted the sensible biscuits and the playful new flavor of quince jam on toast. I even passed up a proffered chocolate eclair, for heaven's sake.


Can't remember the last time I did that.


Well actually I do.


Fourteen years ago as part of a diabolical science experiment in my college in Denmark.


There were 50 of us, and we all lived in a captive audience, if you will. We were perfect guinea pigs for the psychology department's plan. The dining room was divided in two -- half the students were to be deprived of sugar for two weeks, the other half not.


And curse my luck, I scored the sugar-free zone.


But I promise that I won't delve into the depths of depravity here. Let's leave it at this -- it was not a pretty sight.


Oddly, after all the tantrums, withdrawal symptoms and general hellish behavior, we became perfect people in record time.


Up early for the first time in ages, rooms tidy, essays written before deadlines, civil conversations and piercing perceptions and insights.


I had a sharp and wonderful vision of a new me. I was the child my parents may have wished for if the tooth fairy really existed. Rather sickening really.


And what became of those 25 wonder kids who were free of the taint of addictive sugar for good? Well, naturally, we had to throw a party to celebrate the end of our sweet tooth incarceration.


All that good work undone in minutes.


I remember the first piece of Turkish delight -- it melted on the tongue with unctuous ease -- and then the mini Mars bars and then it was all downhill from there.


Fourteen years later, I can freebase Cadbury's Fruit and Nut with the best of them.


But just once again, I'd like to try that state of peace that a normal diet and a smug attitude toward food can engender.


And if any of you so much as glance in my direction with a plate of pastries or a candy, please forgive my snarl and vicious kicks. It's just an addict coming off her high.


Get thee behind me Satan, for at least a week it's savory all the way.





Smoked Trout Pate


300 grams smoked trout


150 mls smetana or sour cream


1 small tub of cottage or ricotta cheese


Juice of one large lemon


Salt and pepper


Pinch of cayenne pepper


3 tablespoons butter, melted





In a food processor or blender, combine the smoked fish, sour cream, cheese and blend until smooth. Add seasoning, cayenne and lemon, and pulse for a few seconds more.


Pack the pate into small ceramic ramekin dishes, smooth off the top.


Melt the butter and pour over the tops to stop a crust from forming.


Cool and serve within two or three days on hot crusty toast.


If, like me, you never let food dangle around in the fridge for a few days, omit the melted butter and just cover with plastic wrap, allow to chill for one hour and devour.