Please forgive me. I’m a little high right now.
I’ve gone six weeks without a fix—possibly the longest I’ve ever abstained—and this dose seems strong to my cleansed and purified body. I can feel the substance spoiling it, twisting and turning through my bloodstream, rushing to my head and the tips of my limbs.
And that rush of energy. Oh god.
This is the best piece of cheesecake I have ever eaten.
I am not a religious man, nor am I a health nut. But I sometimes dabble in the quirks of Catholicism and figured I’d partake in a little Lenten experiment this year.
Six weeks without sugar—a substance that I assume I have eaten literal truckloads of since my childhood. Remember Ecto-Cooler Hi-C? Soda pop in glass bottles? The lunchroom battles about whether Fruit by the Foot or Fruit Roll-Ups were better? I don’t consume those things anymore—partially because they’ve been washed off the consumer landscape and partially because I’m going to be a quarter of a century old this year—but that doesn’t stop me from craving them.
And I crave them often.
So I substitute other sugary goods in their stead. Delicious mixed fruit juices, chewy chocolate chip cookies and, most of all, cheesecake. I’ll never turn down cheesecake. I can’t help myself. Or maybe I can.
For six weeks I went without my favorite treats. Anything with a detectable amount of sugar was culled from waste receptacle that is my mouth. That meant no breakfast cereal (Honey Nut Cheerios is my favorite), no more pancakes (approximately 25 percent of my blood is maple syrup) and no more ice cream. The only slip-up I had was when a friend insisted I try Caipirinha, a rum-based Brazilian drink with lime and sugar, but I could barely get that down.
My diet definitely improved. Instead of something made by a Keebler elf I would grab some whole-wheat crackers and a few spoonfuls of hummus. Vegetables and long grain brown rice replaced the stomach space once occupied by Danishes and pastries. And good peanut butter, the kind you have to buy from snooty places like Whole Foods, doesn’t contain any added sugar.
Within a week, the cravings stopped. Then the 10 or 15 pounds I picked up around the holidays disappeared. It was revelatory. Eating better food makes you a healthier person! I was a changed person. I could be fit, I could be lean, I could be—
Oh. Lent is over. And, hey, there’s a doughnut. And a slice of cheesecake. Two slices. What’s the harm in a third?
And I’m back off the wagon again.