One Week Sugar Free (Again)


I won’t give up trying! If you’re a faithful reader of this blog (thank you!), you know I’ve written about sugar in the past. Something that tastes so good but is so, so bad. Yes, me, the woman who has written a trilogy of books with the word chocolate in the titles. I’m smart, but I didn’t always get it. (Actually, it’s not the chocolate that’s hurting you, it’s the sugar.)

After watching the documentary Sugar Coated, I was convinced, once and for all, that sugar is harming me more than any other substance. More than salt (which I don’t consume in large quantities, especially having cut out a lot of processed food), way more than (good) fat. Eggs don’t cause heart attackssugar does. Sugar causes obesity and diabetes, too. And the reason we’re at epidemic stage is because sugar has been added to just about every food that’s manufactured. 80% of the foods in your typical supermarket have added sugar.

Panko bread crumbs, ketchup, peanut butter. Jarred pasta sauce, salsa, flavored yogurt. Canned soup, salad dressing, granola bars. Anything purported to be low-fat or fat-free (remember those Snackwells?)

So I’m making a determined effort to stop, even forgoing stevia in my coffee and tea. No maple syrup on my oatmeal. And after a week, I do feel better. My taste buds are adjusting. But I’m still learning.

For the past year, I’ve been using PLNT brand plant-based protein powder in my morning shake. It only has 1g of sugar per scoop, but until today, I hadn’t looked closely at the ingredients. The label advises: Dairy Free, Fish Free, Gluten Free, Soy Free, Wheat Free, Yeast Free, non-GMO, kosher and vegetarian.

PLNT back

Here are some of the ingredients listed: inulin, chocolate, cocoa, stevia, xanthan gum, natural vanilla, silica, glycine, and maltodextrin.

It was eye-opening for me! All those polysaccharides! I’ll be switching to a new recipe….

Anyway, I’m one week sugar-free and still okay. Our refrigerator is full of vegetables and fruit and unsweetened almond milk. The cupboard shelves hold chia, hemp seeds, bee pollen, and cinnamon.


Tempeh and Seitan

Thursday was one of those days where I convinced my husband to take a break. It’s important (to me, at least) that he have one day where he’s not caring for elderly and/or dying people. Weekends at Hospice, weekdays for his father. The guy needs a day off! And this week it was Thursday.

Korean tacos
Korean tacos

He slept. He read the newspaper. He took his dog for a romp in the park. And later in the day, we went to the Garden Grille Café. No, we’re not vegans (I was for eleven days in 2010) or vegetarians, but this restaurant is just so good! We started out sharing the Korean Tacos. Every time I’m inside this place, I order the Korean Tacos. They’re made with tempeh, cabbage, sweet chili sauce, Sriracha mayo, guacamole, and salsa, wrapped in a small flour tortilla. Just perfect. I followed that with a seitan and mushroom burger that was out of this world! If you’re ever in or near Pawtucket, you have to go to the Garden Grille. You’ll thank me later. I could do vegetarian if their chef made my meals.

4 Things in the Refrigerator

 Kenyon’s Johnny Cake corn meal from Kenyon’s Grist Mill in Usquepaugh, Rhode Island.  Have you never had johnny cakes?  According to Kenyon’s, to make an acceptable Rhode Island Johnny Cake, begin with Stone Ground White Corn Meal.  The liquid added to the meal may be hot or cold – water or milk.  That’s it – cornmeal mixed with a liquid to form a batter that is then cooked on a griddle so the little cakes become easily handled during travel.  In other words, they are named a “Travel Cake” or “Journey Cake.”  The colonists’ pronunciation would have been closer to “Jar-ney Cake.”   When the “r” sound was dropped with time, the name “Jonnycake” or “Johnny Cake” became popular.

My mother made johnny cakes when we had leftover lamb (once a year), and I was familiar with johnny cakes as a side dish, drizzled with dark, rich lamb gravy.  It wasn’t until I was older that I realized a lot of people ate them with butter and maple syrup, like pancakes.  Either way, they’re a Rhode Island tradition.  Come to this year’s Johnny Cake Festival at Kenyon’s – October 20-21, 2012!

Trader Joe’s cashew butter.  The first time I ever tried cashew butter was during my sophomore year of college.  I traveled with my roommate to her family’s home in Somerville, New Jersey, and we spent a day in New Hope, Pennsylvania.  At the time, we drove past a lot of farmland, and we loved the hippie feel of funky New Hope.  We found cashew butter at a local grocery, and I fell in love.  It’s fabulous on toast, celery, or your index finger.


A few years ago, we switched from regular milk to soy milk.  I wanted something other than cow’s milk and I knew my husband had problems digesting milk.  According to some research, almond milk is higher in fat content than soy milk.  It’s also much less starchy. Unsweetened almond milk (pictured here) contains 40 calories per cup (soy is about 80).  Both are good for you.

I use this unsweetened almond milk as the basis for my morning shake (sorry, I don’t use that “-ie” word).  Almond milk, banana, a scoop of Trader Joe’s Super Red Drink Powder (loaded with antioxidants), chia seeds, and a bit of frozen blueberries or frozen pineapple chunks.  Super!


I’m not vegan.  Some days I wish I were, because I’m keenly aware of the benefits of a plant-based diet.  I try instead to live “plant-strong.”  But eggs, especially local eggs, are one of the best things you can keep in the refrigerator, in my opinion.  We always buy local eggs (remember the jingle “brown eggs are local eggs and local eggs are fresh!”? – there it is on the carton).  According to the Mayo Clinic, eating four egg yolks or fewer on a weekly basis hasn’t been found to increase your risk of heart disease.

Of course, not everyone likes eggs.  Some are positively squeamish at the sight of a soft-boiled egg, pierced and runny.  I can’t be without them.