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Buffalo Magazine

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Column: Visions of sugar plums dance on my teeth

The holidays are all about giving. Each and every year, the month of December gives me dangerously high cholesterol, high blood pressure and a partridge of belly fat. It starts with the cookies, continues with cakes and ends with a toothache.

If you work in an office, you know all about the holiday sugar assault. Clients bring in gifts for the office and fellow employees hold cookie exchanges. Random people find anything salted they can get their hands on and dip it in chocolate. All of this sugar is then left out near the coffee machine to make sure that you feel terrible about yourself.

Each December, I tell myself I’m going to be good. I vow not to bombard my veins with a high fructose corn syrup blizzard. I’ll cut a lemon bar in half or take just a tiny handful of red and green M&Ms. Unfortunately, when it comes to food, I have the self-control and restraint of a Golden Retriever puppy. Two hours into a work shift, I’m on my fifth snowflake brownie and I’m looking to put a dent in cheesecake shaped like an elf. The sugar has me hopped up like an Olympic sprinter.

I like to spread out my intake of goodies through the course of a day to give my body a better chance of processing the sugar. In the morning, I’ll have a chocolate frosted pretzel donut with red and green icing. Right before lunch, I’ll breathe in a handful of white chocolate roasted almonds. For lunch, I’ll take a measuring cup and scoop out some sugar from a bag and pour it into my mouth. Then, after lunch, it’s time for ‘lil Santa cookies!

If you want to beat the sugar assault, there are simple ways to behave. It just takes a smart plan.
I bring a piece of fruit into the office each day. That way, when I’m tempted by a tray of iced cinnamon-flavored fudge lumps, I can simply take out my piece of fruit and stare at it for three seconds before eating the iced cinnamon-flavored fudge lumps. By the end of the month, I have a beautiful display of untouched fruit to look at!

It takes months to recover from the holiday sugar craze. In January, the pink boxes of baked goods stop showing up, but my brain still needs the release of seratonin and dopamine. Without a half dozen reindeer-head cupcakes, I’m a useless sack of garbage with sullen, black eyes, wandering through the maze of cubicles, moaning for a Yoo-hoo. I walk around my neighborhood from curb to curb, searching discarded Christmas trees for a loose candy cane. I go to banks I don’t belong to, just to steal mints. It’s a vicious cycle.

I love the holidays. I just wish it wasn’t such a confection eruption. I’m dreaming of a white Christmas — but with snow, not sugar.

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