The cookie aisle worked its magic on me a few months back, and I'm only now able to write about the experience. It's embarrassing.
I happened to be craving something sweet. Something familiar. Something that would take me back to my carefree days of youth. I found myself face to face with wafer cookies. The rectangular shaped, flaky cookies filled with cream that just melt in your mouth instantly. They are like chips in that you can never eat just one. I wanted to abandon myself to that feeling of eating sweets carelessly so I made the first mistake of pausing in the cookie aisle.....all the while knowing EXACTLY what I was doing.....what I was going to do. I knew I would walk out the door with a package of sugar-free cookies. In the moment of tension and temptation, I gave myself over to my instincts: The sweeter, the better--take advantage of the now.
I picked up dozens of packages of "sugar-free" cookies, knowing exactly what I would be facing: artificial ingredients and a world of guilt for eating them. I decided on a package of vanilla wafer cookies. On the front of the package "Splenda" greeted my eyes, printed in royal blue font. I was suspicious because Splenda wasn't the only artificial ingredient in the cookies. I didn't care. I wanted to get home and devour. I had not abandoned myself to anything like this in a very long time. I was ready to sit down on the couch and throw down. I decided this was an excellent idea because I could still be sugar-free. I was not happy to be ingesting artificial ingredients, but I would deal with that guilt later. There was something about that week, that day, that moment that ultimately led me to let myself eat this crap. I still can't pinpoint what it was, but it will never happen again--here's why:
Even though I read the ingredients and wasn't happy about eating maltitol and Splenda, I needed these cookies. So, okay, a few won't hurt. After all, the asterisk next to "maltitol*" told me only that "Excessive consumption may have a laxative effect." Easy! I did not need to consume an excessive amount...just three light little wafers.
I got sick. Bubbles formed and pressure and instense stabbing pains dominated my abdomen. The next morning after I felt better, I decided that three must be excessive, so I decided to have two. That must be excessive also, because the pains from the night before were re-created so I threw out the rest of the cookies.
What in the world does "excessive" mean? It happens to be a subjective term, deemed appropriate for food manufacturer's to use on their labels as a justification for putting a terrible ingredient in our food supply. The dictionary's definition of excessive is: "exceeding what is usual, proper, necessary or normal." How is that for vague?
Not to mention I didn't feel like I was abandoning myself at all when I was eating them. I am much too aware of ingredients and consequences to just let myself go. The taste was nothing memorable, and I know I won't be buying them ever again.
Do you have an interesting story about this ingredient? I've heard that some people are extra sensitive to maltitol, but I've always taken pride in having a stomach-of-steel. I didn't think I had anything to worry about. Now I know I will never recommend any food with maltitol. I'm pretty sure sugar is a better option!
Good Reads and Good Eats 3/28
2 days ago