Viewing Category: My Personal Journal

End of 2013: How I Got Married and Jumped Off the Sugar-Free Wagon


Gwenn and I got married! Though we had a simple civil ceremony, the past few months had us preoccupied with planning our wedding. Knowing that we’d be out of town to celebrate, I chose to indulge.

It started with a little bit of wedding cake. After that I decided to have dessert when we ate dinner out. That led to some ice cream. Then there were free chocolate chip and M&M cookies in the hotel lobby. Two days into my debauchery, I was craving my trigger foods and planning where to buy the next day’s sweets.

From December 23rd through December 31st I ate whatever I wanted, which included a few packages of chocolate covered pretzels. How quickly I digressed into old habits! My parents were in from out of town so we went out for some ice cream. I went back a few days later.

Eating an ice cream cookie.

On New Year’s Eve, I planned to purchase and eat chocolate covered pretzels but they were out of stock when I visited my local supermarket. That left me standing in the candy aisle staring at an array of other junk foods, many of which I hadn’t considered in years.

The new Wild Berry flavor of Pop Tarts contain eight pastries in a box instead of the six I remember from my youth. There were also $10 bags of assorted chocolates that contained 50 individually wrapped pieces. I walked to the cookie aisle and considered buying some Lorna Doone cookies, which used to be one of my favorite snacks back when I’d eat sugar daily.

While standing there trying to decide what to eat instead of chocolate covered pretzels, it happened that some people smiled as they passed me. It seemed as if they were laughing directly at my misfortune, smugly mocking me because they knew the “Stop Being Sweet guy” had fallen from grace. Maybe they were chuckling at my expression, or more than likely something else entirely. Clearly I was feeling out of place in the sweet section of the store.

The sugar-free-for-the-majority-of-the-year part of me won out. I couldn’t bring myself to buy anything other than the chocolate covered pretzels that were out of stock, so I left the store empty handed and planned to find them someplace else. By eight o’clock that night I left Gwenn waiting in the car as I ran into various convenience stores to search for chocolate covered pretzels. That was after we had a delicious dinner with dessert at Blossoming Lotus restaurant here in Portland. At midnight I was so full it was a thrill to go back to a sugar-free lifestyle and stay there. Goodbye sugar. See you next Halloween!

Four Days of Sweetness 2013

I abstain from sweets all but from Halloween ‘til November 3rd annually. This is my personal sustainable sugar abstinence plan. It works for me.

Here’s how it’s gone over the past eight years:
2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012.

This year I ate sugar as I always do. After the past four days, my body is screaming at me. Actually, it’s more like my body is exhausted. I don’t want sweets anymore and have been feeling the effects of the sugar since last Friday. It’s 9 am on Monday morning and I feel tired and heavy.

Physical Reactions:

  • Crusty Eyes - When I woke up in the morning, the corner of my eyes had crust in them. Haven’t felt that in a while!
  • Thirst - Most of the sweet foods I ate were dry but also filled with sugar. The result was thirst.
  • Gas - As in a painful, bloated belly.
  • Tired - Sugar saps my energy.
  • Irritable Tension - Little things annoyed me. I wanted to snap.
  • Depression - Every year, I find myself feeling depressed in the middle of, or by the end of, my four days of sweetness.

What I Ate:

3 home-made chocolate chip cookies (a gift), 3 sleeves of McViddies Digestives (2 chocolate covered), chocolate mousse, 1 pumpkin shaped Reece’s peanut butter cup, 2 chocolate Voodoo doughnuts, chocolate ice cream at Salt and Straw and at Ruby Jewel (Ruby Jewel was better), Trader Joe’s chocolate covered pretzels, chocolate covered peanuts (not good ones), Trader Joe’s chocolate peanut butter cups, and chocolate chip cookies (home-made by Gwenn). On Saturday we went to some open art studios here in Portland. There were tons of snacks. I ate chocolate covered potato chips, Reece’s peanut butter cups, a Rolo, several varieties of Hershey’s kisses, KitKat, Mr. Goodbar, really good chocolate brownies, a slice of chocolate doughnut, and a variety of chocolate cookies.

I’m glad I ate sweets but I’m even more excited to stop eating them. Rather than considering skipping next year (as I often do at the end of my four days) I am thinking about not purchasing any sweets and instead only eating what is offered to me. Who knows, though. By next year I’ll probably want to eat something sugary again. Until then, no thanks.

Stop Being Sweet Turns 8!

Happy Halloween!

I started Stop Being Sweet eight years ago and what a trip it’s been!

If you’re new to my blog, I only eat sweets 4 days out of every year. I start today, on Halloween, and keep going until November 3rd, which is my birthday. Initially I thought I’d do this just for one year, but it worked so well that it seemed logical to continue and now eight years have gone by.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that, “Sugar is like Jr. High School. The further you get from it, the easier it is to forget all about it.” Sure I’ve slipped up several times, but I just got back on track

Truthfully, when I began Stop Being Sweet, it was kind of a joke. I wasn’t interesting in becoming a health guru (but still felt a kind of magic when I registered the domain name). The greatest unexpected result of writing this blog is that I’ve come in contact with people from all over the world who also struggle with sugar addiction. Basically, I realized I’m not alone.

Your encouragement, support, and requests for help have kept me working to give back and help others. In 2014 I will be rolling out new services which include meetings, an updated book, and online coaching.

So, I’m eating sweets today and for the next three days as I have every year since 2005. This year I’ve got a few places I want to visit including Voodoo Doughnuts and Salt and Straw ice cream to see what all the fuss is about.

October 30, 2013: Almost There

I walked into Whole Foods tonight. Realizing that I will eat sweets over the next few days, I wandered into the bakery section of the store. That area was completely new to me. The assortment of breads, pastries, cookies, and cakes was astonishing. How people manage to not spend their entire paycheck in there every single day is beyond me.

With a sweet-eating-grin on my face, I walked past the candy aisle where some guy looked at me as if I was a crazy person who needed to be avoided. My beard and my hoodie does that sometimes, but usually on dark streets late at night. I took my menacing appearance and left without buying anything. It’s a Stop Being Sweet rule to never go food shopping while hungry—especially when entering my Four Days of Sweetness!

Anti-Sugar vs. Sugar-Free

Duct Tape for Halloween
Halloween poem by Ed Flynn of Better Wear a Hat, inspired by my sugar abstinence.

My friend, artist and creative designer Ed Flynn, often shares poems in pictures like the one posted above. I was pleasantly surprised to find this one in my Facebook feed today along with the dedication, “This is for my pal David Vanadia. No candy for Halloween this year!”

Thanks for thinking of me, Ed! smile

While I don’t and won’t hand out duct tape (decent sized nails would be more my style) I did experiment with offering kids the choice of candy or glow sticks last year. I also wrote about 10 Trick-or-Treat Alternatives and am considering handing out something other than candy this year.


I’m Sugar-Free, Not Anti-Sugar.

I don’t mind the jest and have gotten used to being the butt of many jokes. However, I want to set the record straight: I still like to eat sweets.

If I could, I’d eat nothing but sugary junk food every single day—but I don’t. For many people, that’s why I come to mind while they’re sinking their teeth into their fifth doughnut or as they finish a tub of ice cream.

I’m not the tiny angel (or devil) sitting on your shoulder and reminding you of your transgressions. I’m not a badge-carrying member of the food police. I’m doing something positive, so don’t cast me in a negative light.

PS - I joke too and reserve the right to call sugar “evil” whenever I want!

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About David

After a weekend-long sugar binge in 2003, I realized my problem was very real. It took some time but I finally figured out a way to stay off sweet junk food for good! Read more.

Quit Sugar?

Don’t quit sugar. Stop Being Sweet instead! Questions? Please ask.