I had a relatively sugar-free childhood. My mother served us Kool-Aid without sugar, unsweetened iced tea, and water. I recall a few sippies of Diet Coke too. I have zero memories of having desserts other than homemade sugar-free Kool-Aid popsicles made in ice trays with toothpick sticks. I know desserts existed because I have photos of my brothers and me blowing out candles atop birthday cakes, but those were probably made with oats, whole grains, and sugar-free Kool-Aid.
Needless to say, when I got older and had more freedom from my mother's hatred of sugar, I binged on the stuff. In high school, I spent my lunch money on a bag of purple Skittles and a Dr. Pepper. I ate candy and soda for lunch everyday for 3 years and it was awesome. My mom never knew. Until now. Hi, Mom. I got a few cavities but blamed it on my ancestry and my lack of flossing. No one needed to know about my little sugar affair I was having 5 days a week in the halls of education.
When I got to college and moved out of my mother's house, things really got out of control. I could actually buy and store candy in my own living space without my mom discovering it and throwing it away. So I bought tons and tons and tons and tons and tons and tons and tons and tons and tons and tons and tons and tons and tons and tons and tons and tons and tons of candy. Brach gummy bears were my favorite. I would eat an entire bag during my college algebra class 4 nights a week. Most of my freshman 15 can be attributed to Brach's gummy bears. I was, in fact, turning into a gelatinous bear myself.
Once I began working, I kept canisters (plural) of a variety of candies on my desk. I loved Hot Tamales, Jelly Bellies, Starbursts, purple Skittles, and Twizzlers that had a tart, lemony filling. Those were awesome.
After several years of eating a diet of mostly candy, my teeth began falling out of my head. Not really. But I had hundreds of thousands of cavities. My teeth hurt. I was fat. It was not working out anymore. But I had a major sugar addiction. I tried giving it up cold turkey, but I would get the shakes at night because I needed/wanted something sweet so badly. I resorted to eating jam by the spoonful. I thought that would just take the edge off. I ended up eating the whole jar in 2 nights. Not good.
It got to the point that my dentist told me I had to stop eating so much sugar. The enamel on my teeth was eroded, I had cavities on top of cavities, and I had trouble chewing because my teeth were so sensitive. About this time, I had a major revelation on my health and took up running while giving up sweets. I got healthy, but I never got over my love of sugar. I learned that eating sweets in moderation wouldn't kill me. And that moderation meant a few times a month, not smaller amounts per day. My teeth got better and I finally kicked my addiction to needing sugar after every meal.
Then I got pregnant. Did you know that one of the side effects of pregnancy is poor dental health? Apparently, your tiny fetus needs the nutrients in your teeth too so all of the tooth vigor you once knew will be extirpated for the sake of your growing baby. And it doesn't get better with flossing. Since having Beatrice, I have 2 abscessed teeth, cavities, and a molar with enamel erosion so bad, my root is exposed. And none of it can be repaired until I quit breast feeding. So basically, I have a mouth full of rotten teeth. Maybe that's why JD doesn't want to play the kissing game anymore.
What does all of this mean? Why am I writing about teeth and sugar???? Because I cannot eat any sweets at all anymore. Not even in moderation. It. Is. TORTURE. Especially at Christmas. I make really good goodies like toffee graham crackers and white peppermint bark. I haven't bothered making anything because I can't eat it. That exposed root makes for searing pain when it encounters sugar. I can't even drink sweet tea. This is probably a blessing in disguise. Especially after yesterday's post. But I can't help be a little bitter (the opposite of sweet, how fitting) at the fact that I can't enjoy my grandmother's jam cake this year. Or my mom's chocolate dipped pretzels. What the heck, mom? You never made those when we were kids. I will sip my water and eat my vegetables while you all indulge in my most favorite thing of all: sugar.
Here is a picture of JD and me with our wedding cake. Look at my face. I'm not kidding, I am serious about sugar.