A month wandering lost in the dessert
Oh, Junk-Free June. I really thought that this year I would be your master.
I was motivated. I was prepared. There were no biscuits in the house. I’ve been floundering my way through twice-weekly bootcamp sessions with Edee, Motueka’s own Smiling Assassin. I was confident, educated about the horrors of refined sugar, and determined that June was the month that I would finally curb my saccharine addiction.
On the first of June, I went out to dinner with the bootcamp crew. We congregated at Chokdee. The food was delicious, and my friend and I decided that we needed to prolong our evening with some coconut rice and mango. It’s healthy, we told each other. Isn’t coconut a superfood? Didn’t some guru tell us that time on Facebook that it was ‘‘nutritionally dense’’? Ignore the fact that it’s on the dessert menu. We were sharing it, anyway. Barely counts.
I went home and googled the recipe. Oh.
Harsh Sugar Truth #1: going halvsies is not really the same as going nonesies.
On June 2nd, we headed up the valley to our niece’s fifth birthday party. I staunchly declined a piece of cake, even though it had enticingly swirly rainbow icing. My sister-in-law was sympathetic and unoffended. Meanwhile, I ate everything else on the table that didn’t contain sugar. I didn’t snarl at the children as they reached out their little hands for the potato chips… but I wanted to.
Harsh Sugar Truth #2: eating a whole round of camembert and hogging the dip probably isn’t a sensible substitute for a piece of homemade birthday cake.
On June 3rd, we had – can you believe it – another child’s birthday party; the sweet two-year-old of a friend. I resisted sugar. I was strong. I said no thank you to the cake. I was perfectly sated by fruit and savoury pinwheels. But as we were leaving, I chanced upon the plate that held the broken remnants of the plundered cake. Just scraps really. Delicious chocolatey scraps. I nibbled furtively while hunting down my children’s boots to distract myself from my own weakness.
Harsh Sugar Truth #3: broken, unattractive sugar bombs are still sugar bombs, and most nutritionists would probably insist that eating while standing still counts.
On the fourth of June, we went out to lunch with my Aunty and Uncle, who were visiting from Wellington. I chose the Smoking Barrel, so really, I’m to blame for what happened next. It was inevitable, wasn’t it? After the pulled pork cubanos came the donuts. Uncle Len bought a selection for the table. Smoking Barrel donuts? I challenge anyone to come within arms reach of them and turn them down. Even if I’d wanted to resist (and I didn’t), it seemed rude when they’d already been selected and paid for.
Harsh Sugar Truth #4: people aren’t really offended if you don’t partake in dessert. Surprised, maybe – astonished, even – but not offended.
On June 5th, I took stock of my actions, and decided that Junk-Free June was beyond me. I’ve rebranded. I’m now in the midst of Reduced-Junk June. That’s as far as my willpower can stretch.
The toughest test - a selection of the Smoking Barrel’s donuts.