A Week Without Sugar: Day 1 January 03 2012
Perry and I are sitting at the bar of Paisan reading over a booklet on Buyobo published by the Women's Microfinance Initiative. With less than a month before our departure, we're trying to get a sense of the communities WMI works with so that we can develop an itinerary and an action plan to make the most of our time in Uganda.
There is a sentence. A short, insignificant sentence about adding sugar to tea. I see Perry furrow his brow in displeasure and I know what's coming. A lecture about sugar. Only it's not a lecture exactly, more like a terrifying litany of the destructive properties of sugar in all of its varying forms. We talk about addiction. I wave it off saying I enjoy coffee and alcohol, but I give them up periodically for months at a time just to reassure myself that addiction hasn't clamped itself around my neck too tightly, but sugar? I don't know. I eat it in moderation and I don't see the point of giving it up. I like my weekly donut or my evening chocolate chip cookie.
"I challenge you to give up sugar," Perry says with a bemused smile. "For two weeks."
"Okay..." I trail off. I know I'm trapped. I was that kid who never backed down from a triple dog dare. I'm too stubborn and proud. The best way to get me to do something is to tell me I can't do it. I think Perry knows this. I think he might be the same.
"What about homemade cookies?" I'm grasping at straws. "They're not processed. It shouldn't count."
In a show of benevolence, Perry shortens my sentence to one week. "One week without sugar. Starting now."
"I can eat fruit?"
"Ok. Deal." I make a mental note to stockpile mangoes.
The waiter comes to clear the dishes. My half-eaten cheesecake sits next to an empty espresso cup. "Are you still working on this cheesecake?" he asks.
"Yes," I respond quickly before flashing a guilty look. "I can't let it go to waste."
Perry laughs. I finish my cheesecake, we close the tab, and call it a day. Standing in the kitchen, I rifle through my cupboards and stand in front of the fridge to make a mental checklist of things that I can't eat this week. Chocolate chips, coffee cake, and cranberry juice. That sounds easy enough, but like a moth to the flame, I'm now fixated on these items.
I sit down at my computer with a glass of water and a steely resolve, but all I can think about is how good a handful of chocolate chips would be with a glass of cranberry juice. I send Perry a text.
It's going to be a long week.