Thursday, December 22, 2011

Drawing the (sugar) line

You may already know that our children don't intake sugar. I'm not saying that this is how every family should live. It was a decision we came to as a family when K was young. We would see such a dramatic change in her if she had anything with sugar in it.(And not for the better!) There are studies out there that will tell you that sugar has no effect on children and then there are studies that say it's bad for them. I'm not certain I believe either one of those studies completely (and who funded them???), but my own study of just seeing it's effect on my children brought me to this decision. Am I militant about it? No. If we are at a friends house I am not going to quiz them about the sugar content of each food item they so kindly offer my children. I am just grateful for their generosity. I do suppose we would politely turn down pop tarts or something along that line if it ever came up.
Now, don't get me wrong I run into issues with this when I am out buying groceries - if the pasta sauce that has sugar in it is cheaper than the one that doesn't my budget will sometimes force me to buy the sugar one. Am I happy about that? No, but some days it feels like there just isn't much of a choice with our budget. The girls also get sugar every now and then for special occasions. Usually holidays and extended family visits bring this on. That probably explains why it is on my mind right now.

Now that we are in the midst of the Christmas holiday season with sugar goodies going around our home I am beginning to question our 'special occasion' decision. Do they really need to have any sugar in their bodies, ever? I think I am creating memories and doing something good by sharing it with them during these times but how good is it, really?

It all adds up, and FAST! Candy canes and hot cocoa at the tree farm, sugar cookie at the winter faire, Christmas cookies made at home, Santa Lucia buns, scraps of peppermint bark as we package it up for Daddy...

Where do I draw the line? Should I even have a line to draw? I have mentioned before I can tend to take things to the extreme sometimes.

I know I can replace sugar in most of my baking recipes with maple sugar/maple syrup/honey/agave nectar (well, not the peppermint bark recipe) and I actually do most of the time but there is just something about this time of the year that seems to require sugar. Is it just me?

I think part of it might be that I have such good memories of baking growing up. My Grandma loved to bake. I can still see her coconut covered Easter cakes (yum!) in my head. She passed away when I was really young (from cancer) but my family kept up her baking tradition of making Christmas cookies. Every year we would all get together and cut out our cookies using my Grandma's recipe and then frost them. Frosting them was always my favorite part. I would spend nearly an hour on each cookie. They were little mini works of art for me. I would have to have lots of brown frosting made to decorate my horse cookies, as I felt they needed to be realistic... I was in love with horses - well, that is until I discovered boys (Darn boys, if it wasn't for them perhaps I would still be showing horses now). Anyways, I am getting way off track here.

I am having quite a few debates in my head on the sugar issue. Kevin and I eat it,(Boy, does Kevin eat it! I have never seen such a sweet tooth in my life) and the girls see us using it in our coffee or sneaking a bite of our hidden stash of homemade Bob's cookies. All of this said in a playful, joking manner! I forget sometimes that you can't see the look on my voice or the sound in my voice when I type this. It was a joke. I think it's safe to say Kevin and I are addicted. I wonder if I could ever kick the habit for good. I would love to. I have been researching the vegetarian version of the Paleo diet recently thanks to Molly and that really interests me and seems like a healthy way to go but no sugar or grains? *Insert a distraught whiny voice here* How could I ever survive?

On a slightly related topic. After seeing this video and doing some of my own online research we have decided to omit orange juice from our diet. We didn't drink any other juice to begin with (we actually really enjoy drinking water), but we would have a glass of orange juice every morning as our source of vitamin C. Now we are having a kiwi or an orange with breakfast for our daily dose but I would love to hear some other suggestions of what you all may do. I don't want my family to get burnt out on the kiwis and oranges.

p.s. I feel like I am taunting you and that it is some what inappropriate to have pics of homemade peppermint bark with this post. So here is a random picture of K eating soup, that makes it all better, right? If looking at these peppermint bark pictures is making you hungry, too (as they did for me) the recipe can be found here. Geesh, now I am enabling all of you to become as addicted as I am. Hanging my head in shame now.

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