An Anniversary

The geeks among you have no doubt been celebrating Star Wars Day today. May the Fourth be with you!

Soon after posting the obligatory Star Wars meme this morning, however, I had a nagging feeling that today had some other significance. Then I remembered. Three years ago today I had emergency surgery to remove my appendix. On that same day, I was diagnosed with diabetes and very high blood pressure. Not one of my favorite days to remember.

Except . . . look how far I’ve come since then! In the last fifteen months I have taken charge of my health and experienced some dramatic improvements. In order to do this, I had to ignore what I was told to do while in the hospital. But here I am now with normal blood sugar and normal blood pressure and no medications! Even my rosacea has improved dramatically. So, yes—I still say my diabetes was a gift. That gift has (indirectly) resulted in a drastic improvement in my quality of life.

Today was my grocery shopping day. I had to make my list very carefully because Mary is coming this weekend and we have to be very careful to make sure everything will be gluten free. We will also be celebrating her birthday while she is here.

We had quite a bit of rain today, which was wonderful, because we needed it. And it saved me from having to water my plants today too.

I finished reading my book and really enjoyed it. No more fiction until I finish the sewing project I’m trying to do for Mary!


My Diabetes Miracle #14: Not All Tears are an Evil

During the last week or so, I have shed many tears—but maybe not for the reason you might think. If you’ve been following this blog, you know I have been working in my yard quite a bit. I’ve planted roses and vegetables, and done some weeding and pruning and watering.

What you might not realize is how revolutionary this is. I love gardening. I actually had to learn how to garden in school. Early in our marriage, we had a big garden and grew a lot of vegetables. However, as I got older, my weight became more and more of an issue. A car accident twenty-two years ago made kneeling all but impossible.

Several years ago, I bought a garden scooter seat thing so I could at least sit in it to prune my roses. I haven’t even managed that for at least three years, because it was so exhausting and uncomfortable trying to lean forward over my beachball-sized belly. Gardening was just one more of the things I had to give up because of my size and poor health.

Last year, very early into this new way of life, I planted some mint, chives and basil and grew them on the front steps. That was doable. I just had to step outside every day to water them. The mint and chives are still thriving! (Basil is an annual.)

This year, I wanted to do so much more. I started getting seeds and potting soil and so forth. Then my rose bushes arrived, and Jasper and I went out to plant them. As we worked at it, I realized how sadly the other roses have been neglected. They were overgrown with weeds. They hadn’t been pruned in three or four years.

So, I started going out for fifteen or twenty minutes at time, pulling weeds. The second time I did this, I found myself crying. There I was, sitting on a little stool, leaning forward to pull weeds, and it was not uncomfortable. There was no big belly in the way. The sun was shining. A breeze was blowing. It was glorious. Tears of gratitude streamed down my face.

I’m sure I won’t like weeding so much come the inferno of June and July, but right now it feels like a gift to be able to go outside and enjoy the sunshine and take care of my plants. It’s just so amazing to be able to do things I never thought I’d do again.

Another reason for tears lately is that I passed a couple of significant milestones. I have now lost 90 pounds, and weigh less than I did on my wedding day back in 1981. I have not weighed this little since before my wedding. Here is what I looked like on my wedding day:

July 18, 1981

Sadly, the weight is distributed much less attractively now than it was in 1981—but I am just so thrilled because I had given up all hope of ever being this weight again. Now please understand—I was a fat bride, and I’m still fat. But I’m less fat than I have been in thirty-seven years, and that is a huge achievement for me!

Here is a photo that Mercy took of me on Saturday:

4-14-18 full length

I still have a long way to go—but it helps to remember that I have also already come a long way!


My Diabetes Miracle #13: About Willpower

Recently I was in a public place and I overheard a couple of young people making fun of an overweight person. “She needs to get some willpower,” they said. “She should lay off on the ice cream and cake.” “That is so pathetic she can’t even control her appetite.” “Maybe she’d stop being so depressed if she could just get a backbone and stop shoveling food into her mouth.”

I don’t know if these youngsters actually knew the person they were maligning or not. But I struggled with keeping my mouth shut, because I’ve heard similar comments for my whole adult life, and I know from experience how hurtful they are—and also how untrue they are.

Now I am not for a minute denying my own food addiction. It’s a real thing, and it won’t go away—ever. But my struggles with weight loss are not now, nor have they ever been due to a willpower deficiency. I would venture to say that my vast reserves of willpower are in fact larger than normal, and it wouldn’t surprise me if that were also true of many other obese people.

If you have never been obese, you most likely don’t understand how once you get there, your body fights you tooth and nail to stay there—no matter what you do. In the last three decades, I have tried the following: low calorie diets, low fat diets, low carb diets, food-combining diets, and gluten and dairy-free diets. All of them worked for a while—generally three to six months.

Because I have a lot of willpower, I followed these eating plans to the letter. I did not cheat—ever. Weight came off. Encouraged by my success, I threw myself into following the plan as strictly as possible. Then, the tipping point would come. Weight loss would slow, then stop. The pounds would start coming back on, even though I was still doing everything right. When I realized that all my efforts were pointless, that’s when I would ditch the plan and go back to eating whatever had been forbidden, since obviously the weight was going to come back on no matter what I did.

This happened countless times in the past. I got so tired of people basically telling me, “Well if you would just stick to your diet, you’d be thin by now.” I can’t tell you how relieved I was to read The Obesity Code by Jason Fung, which used scientific studies to validate everything that I’ve experienced. As I think I’ve mentioned before, in the past I have actually gained weight while restricting myself to 800 calories a day.

This time, it’s been over a year and I am still losing weight. However, I did reach that same tipping point in December and January, even though I have incorporated fasting since the beginning, even though I stuck faithfully to my low-carb eating plan. My weight loss, which had drastically slowed, stopped altogether. And when a few pounds came back on, I knew what I had to do.

First, though, I tried acting on suggestions from well-meaning friends. I tried eating a little more, because several people said that actually led to increased weight loss for them. Not for me. It led to almost instantaneous weight gain. I tried Bright Line Eating (and I still am a huge fan and believe it works for most people). That also led to weight gain.

So, after reading both of Jason Fung’s books, I knew that prolonged fasting was probably the only viable solution for me. If you don’t think I have any willpower, how can you explain the fact that I, as a food addict, got through the month of March eating only fifteen meals total? It got my weight loss started again, and even though it jumps around a lot, the general trend is downward.

Everything I’ve said so far, I’m sure I’ve said before. The reason I’m reiterating it is because I feel so sad and protective when I hear people making assumptions and putting down obese people. I bet many of them have been through the same hopeless cycle as me, over and over again. Like me, they have plenty of willpower—it just doesn’t help in the long run. Please treat people like me with compassion when you encounter them. It’s such a discouraging way to live.

It makes me want to scream and throw things when I’m in the grocery store checkout line and I see a headline saying something like “Susan lost 171 pounds and all she had to do was make one little change to her routine.” I hate people like Susan. I have done all the things articles like that recommend, but in the end, I am left with fasting as the only action that has had real, ongoing results.

If you are reading this and thinking, “Fasting is so extreme! I don’t know if I could do that,”—I hear you. Nobody chooses deprivation as their first, second, or third choice. In fact, nobody chooses it unless they have already tried everything else.

But I have learned some interesting things about my body and my failed metabolism on the way. One-day fasts had virtually no impact on my weight or my blood sugar. Two and three-day fasts were slightly more successful, but I haven’t seen any marked benefits from fasts less than five days. So many people told me that a short three-day fast would “reset” my metabolism. I didn’t see any evidence of this.

It’s not until the fourth or fifth day of a fast that my blood sugar drops into optimal ranges, even though I’m not taking in any calories. The biggest benefits come on the fifth through seventh days. I have yet to make it for more than seven days in a stretch, but several seven-day fasts strung closely together have been very beneficial.

This past holiday weekend, I allowed myself to eat “normally” for three days—meaning two meals a day of strictly low-carb food. I was very curious to see what would happen. As expected, I did regain a few pounds, but I know they will soon disappear again. The bigger story was my blood sugar. I ate for three days, including a relatively huge dinner last night. It was so much more than I am used to eating that I really thought maybe I should take some glyburide to help my blood sugar return to normal. First, though, I checked my blood sugar and it was 118—a couple hours after a large meal. No glyburide needed. At no time this weekend did my blood sugar stray above the “normal” range, despite the fact that I no longer take any medications. In other words, my body is now acting as if I am not diabetic at all.

And that, my friends, is the true miracle of fasting. I had been trying for almost a year to get all the way off my medications, but I did not succeed until I started fasting more. Now, even when I eat, my blood sugar remains within the normal range. That is a real victory, one which gives me motivation to keep fighting until I succeed in my other goals too.



My Diabetes Miracle #12: The Jagged Descent

Well, it’s been an interesting month. As promised, I have been fasting for most of it, but I have also had ten meals. I’m completely off of caffeine and all my prescription medications. I have been monitoring my blood sugar and my weight very carefully to see what effect all of this sacrifice has had.

What I’ve discovered is that I’m on a rough and jagged path. When I’m fasting, I lose weight. When I eat even a single meal, I gain weight—sometimes several pounds. So I start fasting again and I lose more weight—until I eat another meal. The good news is, that over time my “lows” are getting lower, and my “highs” are also getting lower. My weight loss graph, therefore, looks more like a saw blade than a knife’s edge!

It is clear, however, that this battle is still ongoing. My body is not yet willing to accept my new lower weight as “normal,” and it is still trying desperately to regain the weight I have so painfully lost. So this is a fight I must win. I have lost 12 pounds this month—some of them more than once! In fact, some days I actually gain weight while fasting. And I’m sure there will continue to be fluctuations depending on whether I’m fasting or not fasting.

I have also discovered I don’t experience optimal blood sugar readings until the fourth day of a fast, so that’s a point in favor of doing more frequent longer fasts instead of fasting every other day with just occasional longer fasts.

I plan to take a 3-day break from total fasting over Easter weekend. I’ll enjoy our traditional Good Friday tea (but without the hot cross buns, sadly) and our Easter breakfast and dinner. But then I’m sure I will be returning to the only thing that works for most of April.

I know, some of you reading this think I’m being very extreme in my approach. You probably still have a functioning metabolism. You may not realize that I have literally tried all the other things, and they did not work for me—and the things that did work, only worked for a few months before I started regaining weight even while following the routine to the letter. I made a commitment this time to do whatever it takes for as long as it takes, and what it takes for me is a lot of fasting. I wish that wasn’t true, but it is.

My Diabetes Miracle #11: About Sacrifice

Sacrifice is no one’s favorite subject. We don’t like to contemplate sacrifice, at least not as it applies to us personally. Years ago, a veteran missionary said to me, “In my lifetime, we have gone from believing that no sacrifice is too great for the cause of Christ, to believing that no sacrifice is acceptable.

I think that observation holds true for many other aspects of modern society. We want all the good things without having to sacrifice anything for them—and a lot of the time, we seem to get away with it. Of course, this mindset holds true for food too. Since going “keto” over a year ago, I often find ads in my Facebook feed for various keto food sites. I rarely click on them anymore, because usually they are showcasing “keto” versions of decadent desserts. Keto cheesecake! Keto cinnamon rolls! Keto fudge! You can have it all and still be keto! No sacrifice!

I disagree with this mindset, speaking specifically as a food addict. If I am chowing down on keto versions of all the foods I’m addicted to, what have I gained? How will my taste buds ever adjust to the foods which are actually good for me? How will I learn to focus on the natural, healthy foods my body needs? Not to mention the fact that my body doesn’t handle artificial sweeteners well, and that they raise insulin even if they don’t have calories. So, I don’t save those types of recipes. I sacrificed my love of sugar and flour to my desire to be healthy and I don’t see any value in “cheating.”

Which brings me to the sacrifice I’m currently struggling with. After finding out my cholesterol and triglycerides were high, despite all my heroic efforts, and despite taking all the right supplements, I did a lot of research. There are several possibilities for what is causing this phenomenon in my body right now—but apparently only one solution that is likely to be effective. I do not like this solution. The solution is fasting.

I know what you’re thinking. I already fast a lot of the time, right? My current regimen involves fasting for three days a week, three weeks out of the month. The fourth week I fast for five consecutive days. That practically qualifies me for sainthood, yes? Fourteen days of every month with no food. Yet, it is not enough to deal with my current issues, and I vowed when I started this journey that I would do whatever it takes for as long as it takes.

So I have embarked upon an open-ended fast. There are probably a couple of occasions during the coming days and weeks when I will have a meal, but for most of it I will be fasting. Up until now, I have still allowed myself tea with cream in it while fasting, because cream does not raise blood glucose. However, any food raises insulin levels, and that’s what I’m trying to avoid. So I have spent the first few days of my fast stepping down off caffeine, because I have never been successful at adjusting to plain black tea. In a couple of days I will have switched over completely to herbal “tea” and water. Nothing with calories.

This level of sacrifice is hard for me. Fasting is hard. It’s not like I can retreat to a cabin in the woods and think deep thoughts to distract me from food. I still have to smell food and cook food and watch other people eat food. As I read recently, that’s like making a recovering alcoholic live in a bar! Sometimes I feel ravenously hungry, but most of the time I just really want to eat. Except that I can’t.

I am always so bemused when I hear other people bragging about how wonderful they feel while fasting, how euphoric and full of energy. This has never been true for me. I find fasting very difficult and demoralizing, but up until now I have at least had my three cups of tea per day to look forward to. Now I find I must sacrifice even that, for an indefinite amount of time. I assume it will be at least until the end of the month—maybe longer.

The little kid in me wants to scream, “It’s not fair!” Of course it’s not fair. It’s not fair that some people can eat whatever they want without gaining weight or getting diabetes, whereas I can fast for almost half of every month and still stop losing weight and have high triglycerides. I feel like I’ve already sacrificed so much. How can it not be enough?

This kind of thinking is pointless. Instead of letting my mind run down that path, I am trying to take a higher road, to train my brain to focus on gratitude. I’m so thankful that I’ve come so far, that I’ve been able to do so much for my own health. And I’m thankful that I still have this one last weapon left in my arsenal—sacrificing even more because the payoff will be worth it. And the only reason I’m telling you this is that if you happen to see me in person this month, and I seem a little grumpy, this is why. I’m working on my attitude, but I can’t say I have conquered it yet!



My Diabetes Miracle #10: Good News, Bad News

Usually the doctor’s office calls me with my lab results within a day or two, but this time they did not, so I had to call and request them. So first, the good news: my A1C has gone down a couple of points, to 5.4. If you’re not diabetic yourself, you may not realize how miraculous this is. That number is firmly in the “normal” range for blood sugar—and I’ve been off insulin for a year now. Normally, diabetics are told to aim for an A1C of 7.0, which is not optimal.

So my A1C score is definitely something worth celebrating. In fact my doctor was pretty thrilled with me this time. When I complained about how slow my progress is now, she gave me a pep talk: “But just look how far you’ve come! You took charge of your own health and you’ve had amazing results! You should be so proud of yourself!”

My blood pressure was also fantastic and my thyroid is working just fine—thank goodness.

Which brings us to the bad news. My cholesterol and triglyceride levels are still high. I have been researching like crazy this afternoon, trying to figure out why, and what I can do to get those numbers down. Normally, a ketogenic diet results in excellent cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

I will have to do more research before reaching any conclusions, but the one thing I found was that sometimes, significant weight loss will temporarily cause those levels to rise. So perhaps by my next appointment in August my levels will be better on their own, but I still want to see what I can do to help lower them without having to give up my low-carb diet which has otherwise been so effective for me.


My Diabetes Miracle #9: The Gift of Diabetes

Recently, I watched a video by a doctor who works with diabetics all the time (for a jaw-dropping fee) and helps them “reverse” their diabetes and get off their medications. He said that people who are successful at the very challenging task of dealing with their diabetes and losing weight share three key traits.

Obviously, I wondered if I have these all-important traits, which is why I was watching in the first place. The first trait is that you have to be desperate. You have to have reached the point where you think, “Enough is enough. I can’t live like this anymore.” I reached that point a year ago, on February 6, 2017, when my doctor said, “Your pancreas is wearing out.” I was so done with following the mainstream advice and seeing myself get worse and worse. Many of my diabetic friends and acquaintances have not reached this level of desperation yet, and I have made no effort to “convert” them to my plan of action. You have to be desperate to be willing to attempt it!

The second crucial trait, according to this doctor, is that you have to be willing to do whatever it takes to get better. I would actually add to that. A year ago I made a solid commitment not only to do whatever it takes, but to keep doing it for the rest of my life. One of the ground rules I set for myself was that I would not take any sort of “temporary” measures to deal with my health issues. Anything I did, I had to be willing to do for the rest of my life. Had I known what I was really getting into, I might have been daunted, but the decision had already been made.

The third essential trait was simply a willingness to fight for your own health, and to keep fighting no matter what happens. I have been fighting hard for a year now, and I don’t see things getting easier anytime soon.

Today was a case in point. Since it was a holiday, the kids wanted to do something, and we all ended up driving to a nearby town, where I dropped Spencer off to play tennis with his buddy Britton. I took Lucy and Jasper out to eat, and had to sit there with my cup of water and watch them eat food that I would have dearly loved to have, but today was a fast day so I had to be strong. Later, I got them some frozen yogurt for dessert and again had to watch them eat while my own stomach rumbled.

Hardest of all was when we picked up Spencer, and he was ravenous, so we went through a drive-through and then he sat beside me eating ice cream and very fragrant French fries while I tried to focus on driving! Do you have any idea how much I miss French fries? But I can’t have a single French fry any more than a recovering alcoholic can have a sip of wine for communion. (And lest you think that I shouldn’t have let my kids eat in front of me—well, why should they be punished because of my life choices?)

But my point is, I committed to doing whatever it takes, even if it means having to watch other people eat food I can’t ever have again, and even if I’m really hungry, because part of what it takes for me is regular fasting. On days like today, I have to give myself some little pep talks. First of all, no matter how tempted I may be to eat French fries or frozen yogurt, no food in the world is worth going back on insulin for. That makes it a little easier to resist temptation. I don’t ever want to buy another vial of insulin or have to inject myself again.

Then comes the realization of how fortunate I am. I am not helpless in the face of my disease. I know what to do, and I’m doing it. So many people like me are stuck watching their health decline, and they’ve been told it’s inevitable, and they don’t even know they could do something about it. I am so thankful I figured this out before I got any worse!

Which brings me to an interesting point. After a year of strenuous effort, I have reached the point where I can honestly say I am thankful for my diabetes. I’m thankful to have it, and I’m thankful I found out about it instead of just dying of a heart attack. Here are some of the reasons why:

—I have been SO motivated to beat this that I’ve figured out what it really takes for me personally to get healthier.

—I have had the resolve to eschew all refined carbohydrates, which aren’t good for anyone, but especially not for me.

—Thanks to what I’ve learned and put into practice, I should be able to stave off heart disease, dementia, and cancer for many years to come.

—I have lost 75 pounds and I think I finally know how to keep from “finding” them again, which is what has happened every other time, no matter how faithfully I stuck to a diet.

—I have learned that I need very little food to sustain myself, and that frequent fasting is a very powerful secret weapon, because it helps me lower my (natural) insulin levels.

—I have learned that food is really not all that important. Holidays and other celebrations are about being with people I love, not about stuffing myself with carbs until I can barely waddle from the table to my armchair afterward. I never have that “painfully full” feeling anymore, and I sure don’t miss it.

Tomorrow, I go to the doctor for my six-month checkup. I don’t know if my test results will meet my hopes and expectations, but whatever happens, I know I am so much healthier than I was a year ago, and if anything, more determined than ever to keep working toward even better health.


When Icicles Hang By the Wall

We had another very cold night last night, but today the sunshine and slightly higher temperatures melted much of the snow. We did have some pretty impressive icicles though:

1-17-18 icicle

Although temperatures were in the teens this morning, the roads were mostly clear, so I was able to have the class I had planned for yesterday. One of my students came over so she and Jasper could learn the note taking system they’ll need this semester. Jasper really, really hated it. Nothing I said could convince him that there is ever any point in taking notes at all.

I got some editing done and plenty of shivering this afternoon, along with watching a couple of webinars. I continue to learn whatever I can to improve my health. This week is a fasting week for me, and I can’t say I’m enjoying it. I have never felt the euphoria that others report, my blood sugar often doesn’t stay where it should, and I have waves of intense hunger. Sometimes I just go lie down and cry because I know I can’t cheat. It isn’t easy and I’m discouraged by the fact that it’s not easier by now, and that I still haven’t been able to get off all my meds despite my herculean efforts. I have to keep reminding myself where I was a year ago. I really have come a long way.

Facing Rosacea

It’s been a while since I’ve done a Monday post on my health journey. I don’t really have anything new to say about my fight to keep my diabetes under control without insulin and to continue to lose weight and improve my health. I continue to be faithful to the plan and to see slow progress.

However, I have experienced what is for me a rather stunning success on another health front, so I thought I’d share it with you.

For probably the last ten years, I’ve been suffering from increasingly severe rosacea. At first, my face just looked sunburned all the time. Then it became rough and scaly, and I began having frequent breakouts every bit as distressing as the ones I had in my teens. At first my doctor thought I might have an autoimmune disorder (not exactly comforting!) but she eventually became sure that it was “just” very severe pustular rosacea.

As a result, I have become even more camera shy than I was previously. I can hardly stand to see myself in a mirror. I have doused myself with potions, essential oils, and herbal preparations. None of it seemed to help at all. I resigned myself to slathering my face with foundation if I knew I might be photographed (I am not much of a make-up enthusiast at all).

The one thing that has been more or less a constant in my facial regimen has been my soap. Four years ago, trying to deal with multiple skin issues, including fungal infections and painful reactions to every deodorant brand I tried, I switched to a new soap. This soap, Defense, has been a godsend in so many ways. My fungal infections cleared up and have never come back. It has eliminated the need for deodorant (shocking but true!). So I figured if it was so good for so many different skin issues, it was bound to help with my rosacea, right?

Not so much, as it turns out. Last month, before we left for Colorado, my face was getting worse. I could kind of keep it from getting too bad if I conscientiously washed it twice a day, but even so a crust had started forming on both sides of my nose. Immediately after washing, the skin would be smooth, but within hours the crust would begin to form again. I hated it.

So you can imagine my despair on the first night of our road trip, when we stayed in a motel, and I discovered I’d left my all-important soap at home. I’ve never seen it for sale in a store. I had to use the hotel soap that night, and to my amazement the crust was barely noticeable the next morning. That day I bought some facial cleanser and used it for the rest of the trip.

The crust was gone by the second day and it didn’t come back. My face stayed softer and smoother. Breakouts were less severe and less frequent, though still exacerbated by heat and/or sun exposure. I realized that the soap which has helped so much in other ways is not at all helpful for my face. In the last month, I have seen amazing improvement. I still have to be very faithful to wash my face twice a day if I don’t want to experience breakouts. After washing, I add a few drops of frankincense oil to my moisturizer. Some days my face almost looks normal and is barely red at all.

This is the first ray of hope I’ve had in many years. I don’t know if I’ll ever get my “real” face back, but for now I’m pretty happy with the progress I’ve made.

If you have any rosacea success stories, I’d love to hear them!


My Diabetes Miracle #8: When the Going Gets Tough

I have been faithful at sticking to my plan. Depending on what is going on during the week, I may or may not fast on weekdays, but I am still averaging a total of 4-6 meals a week. Weight loss has slowed way down. I’m not sure how to get it going again.

Meanwhile, maybe because I’m discouraged about how slow it is, I have been struggling more than usual with temptation to have “just a taste” of some of the foods I can’t have anymore. I know I can’t have them, in moderation or at all. They are banned for life—but I still miss them and want them, sometimes intensely. It’s especially disheartening to make sweets for other people but never get any myself. At times lately, the temptation has been very powerful.

So, instead of feeling sorry for myself, I made a list. I am a list-maker. I’m not as extreme as some, but I do love my lists. I made a list to read to myself every day until things get easier again, and I’m sharing it with you.

Reasons I Can’t Ever Eat Sugar Again

  1. It will kill me. (Because I’m diabetic.)
  2. It will cause me to gain back the weight I’ve so painfully lost.
  3. It will cause runaway inflammation throughout my body.
  4. It will exponentially increase my likelihood of getting Alzheimers or dementia.
  5. It will exponentially increase my likelihood of getting cancer.
  6. It will make me prone to Candida and other fungal infections.
  7. It will increase my risk of high blood pressure and stroke.
  8. It will rot my teeth out even more than they already are.
  9. It will make me hungry, which will lead to overeating.
  10. It will raise my cholesterol to unhealthy levels.
  11. It will make me more depressed and add to my fatigue.
  12. It will reduce my focus and attention span.
  13. It will speed up the aging process and make me look older than I am.
  14. It will lower the quality of my already-impaired sleep.
  15. It will force me to go back on insulin and other meds.

By the way, even if I wasn’t diabetic I would no longer be able to eat sugar without offending my instinct for self-preservation. The evidence is too strong about the link between sugar consumption and Alzheimers and cancer—the two health issues I am most afraid of.

So far reviewing the list each day has been helpful. I wonder if I’ll ever rise above these temptations?