GG is an addict. He is not as bad as when I met him first. He had his fix numerous times a day then. I have managed over the 34 years we have been married to limit the occasions when he indulges to on average once a day. Some days he is really good and nothing sugary and sweet passes his lips at all. But that is unusual! Yes, GG is a sugar addict.
I was aware of this when I married him, but I thought that I could change him. It didn’t happen overnight. In fact, it was a slow and long process. The first change was my refusal to buy white bread and replace it with the more wholesome brown variety.
The two teaspoons of sugar in his tea and coffee was next on my elimination list. I frequently, (deliberately) forgot to buy sugar, so he then started using sweeteners. I wasn’t too happy about that, but I realised that I couldn’t win all the battles. Eventually, last year he gave up on those too.
I seldom buy biscuits, but whenever GG did the shopping, there was always a packet or two. He can be very devious also, hiding them in a secret stash in his office in our back garden.
I also banned sugary cereals years ago, only buying Flahavan’s organic porridge oats. I ignored the fact that he would sneak in Cornflakes or Weetabix now and again, but at least, it wasn’t Coco Pops! Of course, when we are away he eats what he likes; I am strict, but I am not totally unreasonable!
We generally cook from scratch in the evenings and I have always included plenty of vegetables. I am a ‘vegaholic’. But I have used ready-made sauces in the past and added them to meat or vegetables, when I was rushed for time. I didn’t really check the labels, assuming that they were healthy enough. I was obviously wrong.
When Mars Foods, the company behind Dolmio and Uncle Ben’s, recently announced that some of their sauces should only be eaten ‘occasionally’ because of their extremely high sugar and salt content, I was shocked, but also pleased that there was finally some transparency. We need to educate ourselves more about these hidden sugars and we need better and clearer labelling on all products.
We know that too many sweets and biscuits are not good for you, but I am sure many people, just like me, thought that they were feeding their families healthy meals, when they used a shop-bought pasta sauce. We all lead busy lives and, let’s face it, cooking can be time-consuming, so we need quick and nutritious meals. But we don’t need tons of sugar and salt added to what should be healthy food.
I believe in moderation in everything. It isn’t long ago that high-fat foods were considered to be the bad boys, now it’s sugar, so the best way forward is to eat as naturally as you can and have a varied diet. Limit processed foods and eat plenty of vegetables and fruit. And an occasional treat is not only fine but necessary.
As for GG, he still loves his sweet stuff, after all he married me! But he is far more aware of the dangers hidden in such sweetness!