On Sugar

Like a playboy about to head into a monastery; like a drug addict about to spend hard months in rehab, I was a man about to (make a serious attempt to largely) give up sugar, and this was my last weekend of naturally flavored sweetened goodness. In theory.

I made a list of the things I was most going to miss, and with the help of my ever-willing accomplice (thanks, sweetheart!), I set about hunting them down.

Friday night, we sat outside at Starbucks, watching the world go by and enjoying our usual options: for me, a grande mocha, two pumps of raspberry. I call it the Anti-Toska. We talked about last year’s trip to the UK, and I marvelled once more at my wife’s ability to retain sharp, interesting details of our experiences, which I can then mine and re-present as my own in blog form.

Back at home, I searched Google: Best Cinnamon Rolls Austin. The first list I came to shared my own number one pick: The Upper Crust. This would be our first stop on a Saturday Sugar Tour…well, our second, as we needed to get yet another Anti-Toska before heading on our way…

The door to get into the Upper Crust seemed very badly designed, I thought, as I pushed on both sides and nothing moved. I had to grip a side of the door with my fingertips and pull really hard to get it open. I wasn’t going to let faulty design get between me and my cinnamon roll.

And yes, it was indeed the exit door; and yes there was indeed a clearly marked entrance door 10 feet further down, but no one was rude enough to mention it. This is your brain on sugar. They could recognize a middle-aged man on a probably doomed lost weekend of sugar, pastry, and raspberry pumps, and they turned the other way.

The intense young baker behind the counter handed over my pastry prize and pointed at my chest.

“En-joy,” he said, intensely. Here was a man who understood my quest.


Lunch was late, as the butter and sugar of breakfast weighed me down, but we made it to the Galaxy Cafe for burgers and sodas, sitting outside to allow more of the world to see our ever-perfect puppy.

As I sat, heavy as a rock, in the car heading home, I decided that I may have peaked too soon on my binge weekend, and that tomorrow was another day.

Sunday began, you’ll be unsurprised to learn, with one more Anti-Toska. And then my stomach staged a small but well-expressed revolt.

I was sugared up; I was over-sweetened; I was riding high on the sweet white crystals. I was full to overflowing.

My wife asked, “Is this the last day of sugar or the first day of no sugar?”

“It’s hard to know,” I mumbled as I steeled myself for the psychological internal crash, for the other sugar cube to drop.

“So should I bake some chocolate chip cookies?”

“Yes…yes, you should.”

So, we watched Zootopia on Netflix and ate my (not really) last ever cookies. It was a good (temporary) end to my run of 44 years of cakes, biscuits, desserts, and pancakes.

The next morning, Monday, 7.15am, I was on the treadmill. As a false start or a genuine turning over of a new leaf, time alone will tell. I have 24 lbs to go before I will impress my doctor. And after that? Who knows? I’m taking it one step on the treadmill at a time.

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