There is much in the media these days about sugar as addiction and as an enemy of the body’s immune system. My endocrinologist has asked all her patients to avoid it. If I am any indication, it isn’t going well.
I don’t recall a time when I didn’t love cookies, candies, and desserts. Although we rarely had dessert growing up, my mother’s preference was for gooey. Fruit was not a dessert; cream pies were. I recall my dad enjoying sweets, too, hiding candies in what we called the ice box. Ice cream was a favorite. Black cows (root beer floats) were a summer regular offered by my dad in the hot evenings, served in ice-cold metal cups.
It seems that most people have a preference: sweet or salty. I like to combine those into salty caramels. Or Chicago mix popcorn (caramel corn and cheese popcorn). Any cookies call me: they can be award-winning homemade or cheap store-bought. Doesn’t matter; I love them all and resist having them in the house.
Other than cookies, I am particular about my sweets. Absolutely no hard candies. Chocolate must be of high quality except an occasional Mounds bar. And cake: no boxed nonsense for me. I have learned that good quality results in constrained consumption. A single spoonful of excellent ice cream satisfies unlike a large bowl of low-fat make-believe. Good chocolates can remain in my refrigerator for months as I appreciate them in small amounts.
But there are those times: like the holidays. There is so much available to consume in celebration or frustration. My recent travels and the irregular holiday schedule have resulted in poor dietary choices. The relationship between sugar and the immune system is even more sensitive as I age: when I increase my sugar intake (and thus decrease my intake of healthier foods), I tend to come down with a virus. I understand enough science to know that at the same time my diet is poor, I am pushing my sleep schedule so I cannot blame it all on the diet.
Sure enough, today I awoke with the premonition of a virus. I popped a zinc and vowed to avoid excessive sugar. I will try to hold out for an hour or so. Eggnog is calling me.