Sugar Free Chef

The announcement from the doctor that my health was in serious decline was not unexpected. I had been tip-toeing around the truth of the matter for years. Avoiding doctors’ offices and annual physicals with the hope that I would get into a daily routine that would reverse my poor health. Truth of the matter was, however, that I hadn’t been physically active and nutritionally sound in over a decade.

Once upon a time I was working out six days a week, I was on the ice six to seven times a week between teaching skating classes, coaching, working as an ice monitor, and playing hockey, and I was eating a plant based diet and maintaining a healthy weight. Like I said, the diagnosis wasn’t a surprise it was more of a disappointment. A myriad of health problems run deep into the gene pool of my family. Ailments like diabetes – my father has it, his mother and several of his siblings had it, my maternal grandmother has it – High blood pressure, high cholesterol, and others meant that I was practically fated to be diagnosed soon myself but the lifestyle of my twenties was a hope that I would be the one to break the mold.

However, at the time of the announcement I had, I believed, one thing in my favor – my education. I had taken a number of nutrition classes through college and not only did I have a Bachelors of Science in Nutrition and Food Science with an emphasis in Culinary Arts and Food Service Management but I was a catering chef for a large private university and had years of practice cooking for special dietary needs including diabetics, celiacs, vegetarians, vegans, and more.

So the first decision was to switch to a sugar free lifestyle. This proved more difficult than I had anticipated. Using advice from various sources I began a fourteen day sugar detox. I eliminated all added sugar and simple carbohydrates from my diet. In his book, No Flour, No Sugar Dr. Gott says this, “As an added bonus, you may find you’ll automatically reduce the amount of fat you eat. Without bread and jelly, for instance, what fun is high-fat peanut butter? No flour means no cheesy pizza, no pasta in cream sauce, and no buttery cookies. Eliminating sugar means no more fat-laden ice cream or cake with buttercream frosting.” I am certain that he meant that to some how be inspiring but it wasn’t. Not for someone who as a youth did not see the problem with ordering biscuits as a side for pancakes.

If you have never had to suffer through trying to quit an addictive substance like nicotine, alcohol, or drugs try quitting sugar. You will soon get a taste of what these people go through. I experienced headaches, irritability, cravings and withdrawal and four days later it was back to the drawing board. In addition to that sugar, in one form or another, is in EVERYTHING. I dare you to start reading your food labels. Look for sugar, high fructose corn syrup, molasses, brown sugar, etc. Food manufacturers will put sugar in anything.

My mission is clear. I need to find, adapt, or develop recipes satisfying and full of flavor that will not leave me longing for bowls of pasta, stacks of bread, and mountains of rice. And so begins my journey to becoming a sugar-free chef. I hope you will come back from time to time, subscribe to the RSS feed (do I even have and RSS feed?), and leave a comment or two when the urge strikes you. But fair warning must be given I am still a chef and I still love the magic of great food. Which means not everything I post, write, create, or enjoy will be sugar-free, low in fat, carb free, or any other extreme dietary label. But since the stability of my children’s lifestyle is at stake there will be an undeniably healthier slant to my food in the coming months and hopefully years.

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~ by Mel's Boy on Thursday, 11 June 2009.

2 Responses to “Sugar Free Chef”

  1. That’s quite a mission you’ve set yourself. As you said there is sugar in just about everything, in one form or another.

    It’s doable though. When my wife had a birthday in between dentists visits, had an exposed nerve and was absolutely forbidden to eat sugar, I managed to create five different deserts without any.

    I’ll come back and read with interest.

  2. Thanks John. One thing I’ve found increasingly difficult is determining what is a suitable substitute. I’ve decided I’m not a big fan of the Nutrasweets and Splendas. So I’m looking at more natural non-sugar alternatives. Please do come back I think it’s going to be an interesting ride.

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