I had a doctor’s appointment today. All went well, and I was pleased when he told me that I look “fit.” When one qualifies for membership in AARP, having a doctor use the adjective “fit” is very uplifting. However, when he asked me questions about the dietary habits I employ, I didn’t fare so well.
I suppose I get a lot of points for not being a meat eater, and the facts that I drink in moderation and have never smoked are positive. But he looked at me and asked the fatal question: “What about sugars?” Well first of all, I had no idea that there are SUGARS, plural…just as I started to fantasize about the whole new world of plural sugar out there before me, the doctor shattered my brief fantasy. According to him, I have to stop using sweeteners. I was still hopeful: “But I can just use regular sugar, right? It isn’t full of toxic chemicals, is it?”
He is really a heartless medical professional. “No. White sugar is horrible for you. I want you to cut it out of your diet for about six weeks, and then see how much better you feel.” First of all, this was a routine check-up. I feel fine. I didn’t go in there today wanting to feel any better. I just wanted to make sure that my arteries aren’t clogged and that my heart is still beating. Feeling better wasn’t even on the list.
“So what should I do in the cereal and coffee situation? I don’t want to eat my Shredded Wheat straight, and black coffee is terrible. And don’t tell me that I can’t have coffee anymore!” Luckily, he is a coffee drinker himself. “No, but steer clear of white sugar. Brown sugar is a little better. Have you thought about honey?”
Now, I am all in favor of bees. There have been books written about them, and I know that they are in danger of catching some sort of fungal disease that might wipe them out. I know that the food chain depends on their little fuzzy bodies to pollinate things. But I have always found honey to be very cloying, way too sticky, and very strong in flavor. I am willing to consider drizzling it judiciously on my cereal, but I draw the line at honey flavored coffee. When I have a sore throat, I can choke down honeyed tea, but that is purely for medicinal purposes.
We are all going to die. I have lived a full life. I am willing to bet that eliminating Splenda and putting honey in my coffee might give me a few extra months at best. So I am balancing those few extra months against drinking sticky coffee. So far, the bees are losing.