Think it’s hard to go a day without a sugar rush?
How about 1,073 days, 5 hours and 39 seconds?
That’s about how long Andrea Rosen has been refined sugar-free. Her original goal was to make it a year. That was almost three years ago.
The Mill Creek mom will celebrate her 41st birthday on Feb. 23 in her new-normal way. “I put a candle in a mango.”
Her husband and two sons will enjoy a cake in her honor.
Gone are the days of stopping by Bartell Drugs after work for gummy bears and jelly beans to polish off on her way home. No more grabbing a bag of licorice at the grocery store to tide her over until dessert.
“I guess you could say I was addicted to candy,” Rosen said. “I realized it was getting to be a problem. I felt horrible about myself. I had no self-control.”
She not only gave up candy, cookies, cake, chips and all that good stuff, she also gave up soda, wine and artificial sweeteners.
“I needed to find a sweet fix somewhere, and I found it in fruit,” she said. “You can get that sweetness from fruits.”
Her body mass index went from overweight to healthy.
“When I started it, I weighed 180 pounds. Nine months later, my weight was at 145,” she said. “My husband has lost 60 pounds in the last two years.”
When Mom’s running the kitchen, it changes the family’s eating habits as well.
“They have to eat what I make,” she said.
That means whole grains, organic foods, salads and fruity desserts. “I make a lot of chili, roasted acorn squash, things like that,” she said. “I make banana oat pancakes. You can’t tell there’s no sugar in them.”
Rosen can walk untempted down the candy aisle or past the cookies in the staff lounge at the elementary school where she works as a paraeducator. She didn’t even cave during a Disney cruise with an unlimited ice cream bar.
“Once you stop eating it, you don’t crave it anymore,” she said.
Fear and uncertainty keeps her from going astray.
“I’m afraid of what’s going to happen if I eat sugar at this point. I’m afraid it will start the cycle all over again.”
What made you give up sugar?
I am a strong believer in New Year’s resolutions. I have always eaten a lot of candy, but when it became a daily habit of me stopping by the store on the way home to get some and hiding the wrappers from my family, I knew I had a bit of a sugar problem.
I had made the resolution that I could not buy candy for a year. I was still able to eat it daily because the office manager where I work had a candy bowl on her desk.
My birthday is in February, and that year I told my husband that year the only thing I wanted was a bag of gummy bears and jelly beans. I ate both within 15 minutes and felt horrible.
After a long conversation with my friend Charlyn and my husband, a few days later, I decided I was going to completely cut all refined and “fake” sugar out of my diet for one year. I do eat fruit and raw honey.
The first few weeks were HORRIBLE. I had headaches, I was cranky, tired and so on. I work where there is almost always a treat, so that made it even more difficult. Once I got through the first few weeks, it became much easier to walk past it. Now I don’t think twice about not picking up a cookie, piece of chocolate or candy.
That original idea of going one year without refined sugar or artificial sweeteners turned into 1,000 days on Dec. 9, 2017.
What’s the hardest part?
Holidays. Every holiday has some sort of sweet treat attached to it. Valentine’s Day is chocolate, Halloween is candy, Thanksgiving is pumpkin pie, etc.
How do you celebrate without cake?
My birthdays have consisted of two things: a small cake for my husband and kids, and a mango with a candle in it for me.
What do you crave the most?
Peanut butter cups. Ice cream. Costco chocolate chip cookies. Jelly Belly jelly beans. Haribo gummy bears.
What has been the best part of this?
I fall asleep instantly. No skin issues. I have had to learn to deal with my emotions and not solve them with sweet treats. Lost weight and body fat. Saved money. Eating better.
The worst part?
No ice cream in the summer on hot days. No s’mores when camping. The smell of brownies or chocolate chip cookies baking.
If you could have a drink with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?
My grandma who passed away four months shy of her 103rd birthday. Why? I loved that woman with so much of my heart. She was always so positive and saw so much in her life. You take for granted people you talk to and see all the time, so if I could have just one more day with her, I would take it in a second.
As for what I would drink. A cup of hot tea (something we always had together) and, as for where, in Paris. The one place in her life she always wanted to go, but never made it.
Finish this sentence: People would be shocked to know…
I don’t have a lot of self-control.
What are you wearing?
Jeans, T-shirt and a fleece jacket.
What are three things in your fridge?
Plain Greek yogurt. Tons of veggies. Eggs.
What is your pet peeve?
People who don’t write a thank-you note when they have been given a gift.
What question should I have asked?
Have I decided when I am going to break the no-sugar streak and with what?
As of now, I don’t have any plans because I am super afraid I might fall into old habits again. As for what I would break it with. A Fran’s Chocolates salted caramel and then I will head to Crumble & Flake Patisserie in Capitol Hill.
Andrea Brown: 425-339-3443; email@example.com. Twitter: @reporterbrown.