Monday, April 23, 2012

Easy Bake Ovens and Monsanto, or Sugar Sugar

I loved my Easy Bake Oven. Not because of the delicious cakes and cookies I could make in the tiny oven, but because of the batter. OMG. I loved that batter. I never baked one damn thing in that oven. Nada. Never. Nope. I ripped open the package containing the cake or cookie mix, poured the powder in the little red plastic bowl, added water, and stirred. I tried, I really did. "Just one little finger full," my young mind rationalized. In went the finger and out it came dripping with the delicious batter. One taste and I was sunk. I got a spoon and finished it off, lickety split.

My name is Barb B. and I am a sugar addict.

It is not my fault. I blame it on the Easy Bake Oven, red Jello with bananas, Pop Tarts, and Sweet Tarts. I blame it on Grandma Barton, who always took me to Dairy Queen for a parfait, and Grandma Aldrich, who made me cinnamon toast and hot, sweetened Lipton tea before bed. Oh, yes, and my Mother, who made the best cakes in the world - Watergate cake, carrot cake, chocolate cake. Geez, I almost forgot, I must mention Grandma Aldrich's cherry, butterscotch, and banana cream pies. And those glazed donuts Mom would take out of the box then fry in butter for breakfast were to die for!

I remember vividly a candy store that was located on a street directly in the line of travel from my childhood home to the school I walked to every day (miles of course). This little sweet shop was actually on the front porch of a neighbor's home. It was so exciting walking through her door. There were shelves and shelves of wax lips, pixie sticks, candy necklaces, little wax pop bottles, giant colorful suckers, bags of chocolate coins, Slo Pokes, I could go on and on. I would take my allowance, and whatever change I could snatch from my Mom and Dad's dresser, and race to that porch after school.

Tears are streaming down my cheeks right this very minute just thinking about it.

My beloved spent her childhood in South Korea and the Philippines. No candy stores, no Dairy Queen, no Watergate cake. Just fresh fish, rice, kimchi, eggs, and vegetables. She has naturally perfect teeth, a body so fit she looks half her age, beautiful skin, and a sparkle in her eye. She has lived a mostly sugar-free life for a tad over a half century, and it shows.

Sugar is really not good for us. Not at all. Oh it is scrumptiously delicious if you have a sweet tooth like I do, but it is the devil in disguise. Case in point...

I came across a book titled "Traditional Foods Are Your Best Medicine" by Naturopathic Doctor Ronald Schmid. Included in this book is a description of an anthropological study done by a dentist several decades ago. This dentist traveled to villages around the world looking at how traditional and non-traditional diets affected overall health and dentition. What he found was astounding. Those people who ate traditional diets (like my beloved did) had perfectly formed teeth and almost no incidence of diabetes, arthritis, and heart disease! Those who had sugar and processed foods introduced into their diet developed crooked teeth and disease. He took thousands of photographs of people's mouths to document his observations, and some of these photos are included in this book.

Wow. I thought everyone was born with crooked teeth. I had no idea the role diet plays in it. That kind of makes me mad. Why doesn't everyone know this? Why do we keep pushing sugar on our kids when we could simply give them good food while their little bodies are growing up? Perhaps it is in the best interest of certain corporations to have a society addicted to sugar, much like the tobacco industry, just saying.

Corn syrup is in almost everything we eat. Really. Check out the labels as you go shopping or are preparing your meals. We are a nation of sugar addicts and most of us don't even know it. Don't believe me? Try going three days with no sugar. NO SUGAR. That means you have to read every label and be sure there is not one gram of sugar in it, no fruit either. See how you feel. But please warn your family, friends, neighbors, co-workers. Put a sign on your back car window that says "Off Sugar" so that people give you lots of space. You won't be happy.

I have kicked my share of bad habits over the years, like biting my nails, smoking, and a few others I won't mention. But this one, this monster called sugar, is the hardest of all.

And yes, to answer your unspoken question, I started a diet. Is it that obvious?

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