I’ve never had a sweet tooth.
And by never, I mean never.
I can remember going with my sister and grandparents to visit my cousins who lived about on hour away. Every Wednesday, we would pack up the car, head to their house, and somewhere midpoint, my grandpa would stop at a Dunkin Donuts for a dozen donuts. My two cousins and sister would scarf them down and I could barley finish one. It just wasn’t my thing.
Even now, sugar just doesn’t do it for me.
I’m sure most of you are thinking “lucky you!” as most people respond with, but not so much. I compensate with my natural cravings for savory things. I can put a bag of chips away like a champion. I’ll take salty and savory over sweet any day.
But something weird happened while I was in Europe…
Granted, I wasn’t keeping too close of an eye on what I was eating as far as micronutrients go..
but from what I do know, I definitely was NOT getting the amount of protein that my body is used to.
On a normal day, I’ll eat some eggs, probably some Greek yogurt or cottage cheese, some nuts, peanut butter, etc etc etc.
I’ll also eat a crap ton of fruits and vegetables at every single meal and even in between.
In Europe, however, that wasn’t the case.
Breakfast was included at all of our hostels. I mean, free food is free food, right?
Free breakfast consisted of different shaped breads (most claiming to be croissants, but they really were just fancy shaped pieces of white bread), room temperature milk, and corn flakes. I shudder just thinking about it…
There was coffee every morning though, so caffeine-withdrawal induced headaches were nonexistent, and for this I am thankful.
The food was awful. The first few days I was able to get down an entire roll with some jam on it…and a few dry corn flakes, but it really just wasn’t cutting it for me. I’m not a fan of white bread and I am definitely not a fan of cow’s milk..ESPECIALLY room temperature cow’s milk (which has nothing to do with ethics, but seriously it’s gross.)
Lunch was usually better. For the most part, lunch was something native to where ever we were at the time. In Germany one day I ate potato soup. Another day in Germany I ate a salad for lunch. I had a vegetarian sandwich my first afternoon in Amsterdam. I had pizza and pasta in Italy (duh). Things like that. I could make due.
We never really had time to snack. I had brought some Larabars with me which got me through the first few days of the trip, but since I’m used to eating every few hours, I was ready to eat my foot by the time dinner rolled around.
Dinner was usually fantastic. Pasta and pizza and Italy (never got old). White fish and rice with an incredible sauce that I still have dreams about in France. Vegetarian Kebaps in Switzerland. Lots of salads. (Yes, Kebap, not kebob.)
Somewhere in the middle of the trip, I started to crave sugar. It was really weird and out of nowhere, but I saw a chocolate bar at a gas station and almost ate it right then and there. I bought it and split it with Jessie and it was the most glorious thing I had ever eaten (this was before my meal in France). And it was all down hill from there. Italy just made it worse, with its bakeries at every turn. Have you ever had an authentic, fresh Cannoli? If you already love sugar and sweet treats, don’t even go near one- you just won’t be able to stop. Authentic Italian Gelato? Same story, kid.
To make a long, boring story about the wonderful sweet things there are to eat in Europe short, I developed a raging sweet tooth.
There’s been a lot of buzz on the news lately about whether or not “sugar addiction” is real. About whether or not being obese is actually an epidemic or just some fluff made up by the health industries to make money. I’ll have to write more about all of that riffraff later, but just as a quick note: the obesity epidemic is very real. Sugar addiction, however, was only something that I had heard about, read about, and taken classes about, until now..
The more sugar I ate, the more sugar I wanted. Even after I had come back from Europe, I found myself wanting something sweet when I woke up in the morning. Good thing my family likes sweets, because chocolate truffles and chocolate marble cake were greeting me on the kitchen counter every morning.
Oh, why aren’t they sitting on the kitchen counter greeting me anymore, you ask?
BECAUSE I ATE IT ALL.
Over the course of 4 mornings, I ate all of the cake and all of the truffles. (This is sort of a lie, because I live with three other people who also crave such things, so I had some help.)
I NEVER EAT CAKE. OR TRUFFLES. I DON’T EVEN LIKE CHOCOLATE!! I really do not.
Something had to give.
I moved back into my apartment down at school today which means that I can finally settle back into a workout routine, grocery shop, and cook for myself, which is just what I needed.
I got my usual grocery items and prepared most of my meals for the week already.
I made some protein bars that will last me through the week, baked some sweet potatoes, grilled some tilapia, and made some quinoa that should all last me through Thursday (I go back home on the weekends so I only need to cook for 4 days at a time).
I was feeling a little hungry when I got out of the shower and I could feel that my first instinct was to reach for something sweet. Since I have nothing sweet in my apartment (thank god or I would have scarfed it down by now) I opened the bag of baby carrots and it has happily taken my hunger and craving for sugar away… for now.
My point is that sugar is a sneaky little bitch. I could go into the physiology behind it all, but just know that becoming dependent on sugar is real. For the first time ever, I have had a breakout on my face. I’ve never had an acne problem, ever, and for the first time in my life I have multiple pimples on my face. I’m not saying that all acne problems are directly related to sugar intake, but I do know that some acne problems are correlated with diet.
The more sugar I ate, the more sugar my body wanted. It became the sole source of fuel that my body craved. Instead of craving fruits and veggies and protein like it was used to, it started to crave refined sugars, and all in less than two weeks! I’m also completely blown away by the superficial effects that it was having on me… which obviously means that there are more things going on inside of me from the increase in sugar intake. I don’t even want to get near a scale… but my pants still fit, so we’re okay, right?
I’m just glad I was able to recognize it before it turned into an actual issue.
For any of you that love your sugar, just try to become aware of it and maybe replace some of your cravings with something else that’s tasty like carrots, apple slices, grapes, etc. One step at a time!
I have a run scheduled before class tomorrow as well as my first weight lifting session in about a month!
I’M SUPER EXCITED!!!!