Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Horrible Thing That Happened on Thanksgiving!

Here is the horrible thing that happened on Thanksgiving:

First of all, I was having a wonderful day with family. Talking. Grazing the platter of sliced vegetables and black olives. Catching up with cousins. Waiting in anticipation, along with everyone else, for the big dinner event. It came and went very traditionally and plentiful. Right before we eat, we gather into a circle and take turns sharing what we are thankful for. I used to hate it as a kid. Sometime in my growing up, I went from hating it to crying at everything people said. I still cry. No matter what people say.

To my surprise, my dinner choices were extremely slim, while everyone else enjoyed sweet rolls, cream berry jell-O, yams heaped with brown sugar, stuffing (my favorite!!), and even my other favorite, the green bean casserole which is made with cream of mushroom sauce. Sugar. I gravitated towards the open container of those little crunchy-fried onions that top the green bean casserole and glanced at the ingredients and even those were off limits! I enjoyed a sugarless cheesy crab dip, more sliced vegetables and some plain mashed potatoes, for my meal. I missed out on a lot of my favorite, once-a-year dishes. I was able to stick to the right portion sizes, however, and felt light when I stood up from the table, something I don't ever remember feeling on Thanksgiving.

We spent the late afternoon playing games, talking, reminiscing and drinking coffee. I was bracing myself for the moment when all of the desserts would be set out. That moment came and went pretty uneventfully. The desserts all looked wonderful, but I felt strong and proud to be sugarless.

Later in the evening I decided to indulge in a root beer that I had bought earlier in the week, thinking of this day. I guessed ahead of time that I would need a dessert substitute and root beer seemed above and beyond as far as my sweet needs were concerned. This week I discovered a 4-pack of root beer in the health food section of my local grocery store, and was shocked to see that the ingredients listed on the side of the bottle did not have sugar. Molasses seemed to be the sweetener and the other "gourmet" ingredients looked too intriguing to pass up. To back up, I have been craving a good root beer for the past several months. Perhaps it was all the root beer that was passed under my nose all summer long.

I was so excited to drink my root beer and made a point of announcing to everyone that I had found a sugar-free root beer. I took a sip and was overwhelmed by sweetness. It tasted almost too sweet, but had that delicious, ice cold root beer flavor that is intoxicating to me. I had my husband taste it and he seemed to think it wasn't sweet enough.

As the evening wore on, I sipped on my root beer, wanting to savor it. Not too long after I had been sipping it, I began to feel bloated but blamed it on all of the black olives that I had eaten throughout the day. Next, however, I found myself nodding off and unable to continue the game that all of my family were participating in. I actually lost on purpose just so that I could go into my room for a little nap. I had become deliriously tired. Once in my room, I glanced at the computer and figured it wouldn't hurt to go to the website of the root beer company to see what else they put in it that would cause me to dose on and off like this. It was easy to find their website and in a matter of seconds, I had the root beer ingredient list in front of me.

To my horror, shock, anger and surprise, SUGAR was listed as an ingredient! How could this be? Had I missed something on the label of the bottle? I double-checked just to be sure, and then had someone else look, too. There is no sugar listed as an ingredient on the bottle's ingredient list. I even went so far as to read the box label that the four bottles came in.

I wanted to hit somebody. Throw something heavy. Scream at the root beer people for tricking me like this! I would have done anything to avoid a mistake like this! I was so angry I wrote a letter to the company and am anxiously awaiting their reply.

Here is a copy of the letter I wrote:


Simon Anderson said...

Thank you very much for your kind support.

May I ask, how on earth did you find my blog? Obviously I've made reference to refined sugar, and presumably that has come to your attention in some sort of search. I ask because I'm having little success in locating like minded runners.

Congratulations on your campaign. Have you considered approaching a publisher? Personally I think that your views are prescient and may one day be accepted as a received wisdom.

My abstinence does not compare with your own. I'm a fish eating vegetarian and athlete. Unfortunately I like cakes, sugar in my coffee and on my cereal. The plan is therefore to abstain from these from Monday to Friday.

This should translate in to a 70% reduction in my intake, and help improve my power to weight ratio.

I've made a link to your blob from mine. Please keep in touch.

Best wishes,


Jessica said...

OMG, this is terrible! So sorry this happened to you! I can't imagine the horror - really. I applaud you for sending a letter because most people just hold something like this against the mnfr but never purchases the product again. Love your blog too - what a great commitment to make - people have no idea how much hidden sugar is out there.

My Year Without said...

Thanks Jessica...I hope to get a response from the root beer company!

Simon, I actually did find your blog through a Google Alert with the key words "refined sugar".

I think it is great that you are cutting down so much on sugar during the week. I'm sure you know about is a wonderful, easily digested grain that my husband and I eat and it seems to curb the craving for sugar. I am also a fish-eating vegetarian so I understand your plight!

So you like sugar in your coffee....I have met so many people who are not willing to give up this simple pleasure. On Thanksgiving I was chatting with my uncle who asked for honey and cream in his coffee. Then I decided to try it. Amazing. It's an option that you may want to consider.

I've come across plenty of "runner" blogs accidentally by browsing. You could either set up a Google Alert or try searching for runner in the blog search engine.

Let me know how the no-sugar-during-the-week goes!

Nicholas Stanko said...

I am sorry to hear about your Root Beer incident. I don't think you should let this have a negative impact on your year without sugar. You mindfully checked the label to make sure it was okay.

Things seem to happen for a reason, and in the end I am sure it will work out. It obviously is a testament to the negative impact sugar has on one's body.

I am by no means 100% sugar free like yourself, but you have inspired me to cut back... and has it made a difference. I recently bought some Stevia, and I can say I like it better than sugar in my tea/coffee.

Keep up the great work!

My Year Without said...

Thanks a lot Nicholas. It's hearing encouragement from readers like yourself that really inspires me to continue my sugar-free journey!

princess rose said...

Wow I can't believe that. Isn't that against the law for them to not disclose all the ingredients? I hope somebody replies to you!

Thanks to you, I have started on my sugarfree journey a bit early =)

Teresa said...

Hi there,

I know I'm very late to the party, but I just stumbled across your blog the other day as I was looking for sugar-free cake recipes, and I've been reading the "back issues" ever since.

A similar thing happened to me with Virgil's root beer. I am not eating any sugar cane products at all, since they seem to give me migraines. (Finally I've found an explanation for why I felt awful, every day, for the first thirty years of my life. Sad, huh?) Someone gave me a bottle of diet Virgil's to try. I read the ingredient list and did not see sugar, so I drank it. It was heavenly, but I started to feel funny right away after drinking it. I pulled the bottle out of the recycle bin and read more carefully. NOT under ingredients, but over on the side under "spices," I found the molasses. I really consider molasses to be a sugar, not a spice, since it's made from sugar cane, and has calories. I was appalled that they didn't list it as a main ingredient. And I was sick for three days after drinking that single bottle of soda.

I think what happened is you drank a diet Virgil's (which is what I drank as well), but then found the ingredient list for for regular Virgil's on the web. Virgil's doesn't seem to have the same information available on the web for their diet sodas as they do for the regular ones.

Anyway, kudos to you for embarking on this sugar-free journey, and thanks for blogging about it. I am excited to try some of your recipes!

Teresa said...

Oops, my bad. I just got to your update with the correspondence from Reed's sodas. I'm so glad to hear they took your complaints seriously. Good work!