A month wan­der­ing lost in the dessert

The Leader (Nelson) - - FRONT PAGE - ELISE VOLLWEILER

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.

MARTIN DE RUYTER/ STUFF

The tough­est test - a selec­tion of the Smok­ing Bar­rel’s donuts.

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