• Sheryl

Health Nut Gone Nuts

Diary of a crazy health nut.


Oh, sugar. You horrible, yet oh-so-hard to resist devil.


I have a really bad sweet tooth. There was a time, in secondary school and college specifically, when I let my sweet tooth roam wild. I was having 2 to 3 cups of Malay teh/nescafe/cham peng (FULL sugar, mind you), and rotiboy coffee buns for break time AND lunch almost everyday. My A-Levels college was known for their desserts, which led to extremely sweet caramel shortbreads after lunch, a chocolate doughnut after dinner maybe, and 4 chocolate digestives at midnight because my deluded self thought that 8 minutes of Pilates daily would burn all that away!


Eventually, all that sugar started showing on my waistline and for the first time in my life, I was struggling with body image. I could not fit into my graduation gown (a girl's nightmare), I found Blogilates, I started working out and researching how to lose weight... and all that jazz.


Diabetes runs in my family. And it was only after my diabetic health scare, and when body image started having a huge blow on my confidence, did I really began practising mindful eating. I'm a big believer on food being my medicine. Eating whole, nutritious, unprocessed foods, and limiting my sugar intake became a lifestyle. It was sustainable and I was happy- mentally and physically. I started to crave desserts a lot less, except for the weekends, and I was feeling a lot less bloated.


I love food too much. So I'm constantly striving to eat healthy without having to only eat kale salads (I only tolerate kale chips), without starving myself, count calories (I did that briefly and gave up) and being able to indulge in desserts over the weekends or when I travel. And I thought I'd finally found balance- until I read this extremely relatable and funny article by one of my role models, Garance Dore. That's when I realised. Oh no. I may not be a leggy model in yoga pants with a bottle of protein shake in hand with 7am workouts every day, but my 'balance' had become an obsession. And I, have inevitably become, an annoying health nut.


- The Annoying Health Nut Unmasked -


Just this weekend, no actually, every time I see 'matcha latte' or 'chai latte' on a cafe menu, in attempt to NOT be the annoying health fad who holds up the queue, I interrogate the staff as quick as I can :


'Is there any sugar in your chai latte?'

'Yes.'

'How about your matcha latte?'

'Um, that too.'

'Er... just, just a latte please. NO SUGAR. Thanks.' / 'Just water please.' / 'Oh wait, so sorry I'm being so annoying ohmygod um ah er...I'm so indecisive... a latte with no sugar please!' / 'It's ok....' *walks away*


BUT when the reply goes :

'There's just some honey in the matcha/ chai latte.'

I almost jump with joy and leap at it with a ferocity that scares me. As if honey isn't sugar. Good going girl.



- The Blissfully Ignorant -


One of my favourite drinks in the UK was London Fog - an earl grey tea latte that was not very commonly served. I was so happy to find a small, unassuming cafe near my faculty that served one of the best London Fog drinks, aaaanddd... you could opt for no sugar! I may have treated myself to one almost every day.


Until one fateful afternoon.


'Hi, a London Fog please. No sugar.'

'Today I'm making yours with a teabag, yeah? We ran out of syrup.'

*Stiffened laughter* 'Oh. Thanks! HAHA. Sooo you ALWAYS make it with syrup?'

'Yes- we make the syrup to leave it overnight.'

*Gulps.*


I walked off fidgeting, my mind agonising over this disaster. My brain space really could have been used for something more productive or educational like hey, why not try to plan your life a little more considering you don't quite have it together? But NOOO. It refused to let go of the major issue at hand that was the amount of sugar I had been having in my tea.



- The Irritating Irrational -


Recently, I frequent a newly opened coffee shop near my workplace that is owned by a Korean barista who makes amazing coffee. One of my favourite drinks is the Seoul City Latte (espresso + milk + bamboo charcoal). I thought : charcoal. Detoxification. Until the day I found out that it was syrup. So.


'Syrup? Could you NOT make it with the syrup please?'

'Er... no...? I could halve it though!'

'Okay, okay but does the syrup REALLY have to be inside?'


The conversation continued with them trying to convince me that it was not too sweet (it really was not), and me explaining that it was the sugar in my drink that was bugging me, not the taste. Granted, the drink was expertly blended, not too sweet and perfectly balanced. I love it so much that I do still treat myself to it, occasionally, but with HALF THAT SYRUP PLEASE!


Gosh- I did not realise how crazy I must have sounded until writing it out. Seriously, who the hell is this crazy girl?



- The Secret Obsessions -


I love desserts, I love baking, and I fully intend to continue tasting and indulging in desserts of various forms throughout my life. But it is such a struggle to strike a balance! I don't like to admit this even to myself, but on weekdays, when I sometimes have that one sugary treat that is not my daily square of dark chocolate, my mind becomes this weird control freak. I start searching high and low on the internet for the sugar content of said treat. The calories don't really bother me (I mean, look at how nutritiously calorific avocados are), but the sugar content- oh boy does it drive me nuts. And until I can find that out, that one question will echo incessantly in my head : did I, or did I not exceed my daily weekday sugar limit of 24g? Note weekday. Because weekends exist in a different dimension. Apparently.


Lifestyle. Health. Diet. Dear brain, why oh why do you always intend to complicate the simplest of solutions? Why do you torture my foodie soul so? And as my usual advice goes, if ever in doubt or upset, eat chocolate. At least 70% dark chocolate. 2 squares max. You'll feel better- and it's good for you!


Nah life is short and treat yourself to whatever chocolate you like, as long as it is in moderation.


Take it from the crazy health nut. ;)


- Sheryl


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