Step away from the sugar
A chef’s response to realising she had a sugar addiction? Great satisfying recipes
Chefs are can sometimes overdo things. It’s a lifestyle that exaggerates those dependencies we all have – for some it’s alcohol to cope with stress, caffeine to cope with tiredness or sugar to keep energies high.
Over the years, I slowly came to realise that each of these was nothing more than a crutch that temporarily allowed me to work, but long- term they caused a level of addiction. The end of the annual restaurant season meant the end of the need for such high doses to cope and I found myself in the midst of withdrawal and exhaustion so intense I knew it was time to ween myself off.
Alcohol and caffeine were the first to go. I won’t say it was easy but it was nothing compared with the constant struggle I had with sugar.
Sugar is our silent enemy. It’s the most acceptable substance to be highly addicted to, and it’s a ubiquitous addiction. It’s in most things we reach for in times of self- pity, when we need instant energy or for a celebration. There’s an acceptable innocence in a Turkish Delight ( or three) over a glass of wine before service, so that I persistently denied sugar dependency was a problem at all.
I invite you all to consider, over the duration of this weekend, the amount of sugar you ingest. From the sprinkle on your porridge, to the high starch foods – don’t forget bread and pasta – that we all depend on for comfort.
I can’t claim to have parted ways with sugar entirely, and I’m not sure I ever will. At times of boredom, exhaustion or indulgence we frequently reach for comfort food or drink. In an attempt to remedy our ways we tend to go cold turkey, but this is often far too challenging and we give up and go back to our old ways.
Instead, reach for something that won’t leave you with guilt, nausea and a subtle craving for even more. This week’s dishes can be made in advance and are rewarding in flavour but don’t require any health compensation – in fact, you will feel better after eating them. Try these recipes to satisfy your need at those times when you’re tempted by something sweet in the middle of the day or at the end of a long week. The reward is worth it.