Time for the inevitable post--and funny that it's always New Year's Resolutions (plural), as if we were ever successful in keeping even one of them. Maybe we figure if we increase the number of resolutions, we improve our odds of succeeding with something we shoot for...
Anyhow, inspired by recent books I've read, here are some resolutions I'm considering which might also interest you:
RESOLUTION 1. Extending the usual practice of Sugar-Free January to a toned-down version thereafter. That is, go cold turkey off sugar (except honey in the tea and what honey is found in my homemade granola) for the entire, very long month of January, as I do every year, but after that, limiting sugar to the occasional dessert, especially when offered one at the home of a friend or at book club or at a family special event.
Recently I read/skimmed Eve Schaub's
(Rounding up from 3.5 stars.)
you enjoy books where a family decides to give up [insert common
cultural practice] for a year, while they blog about the consequences,
this book will be right up your alley.
Inspired by the Robert Lustig YouTube video on the evils of sugar, Schaub's family abstains
from fructose for a year and blogs about it in a chatty style (i.e.,
many exclamation points and italics and asides).
I had read and
found convicting and enthralling Lustig's book FAT CHANCE: BEATING THE
ODDS AGAINST SUGAR, PROCESSED FOOD, OBESITY, AND DISEASE, which I
imagine covered much of the same ground as the video. Schaub does a good
job of summing up the scientific arguments against fructose in laymen's
YEAR OF NO SUGAR is correctly billed as a memoir,
however, so if you want the hardcore discussion of why sugar is making
us fat and killing us, I would refer you to the Lustig book. Schaub
recounts instead stories of driving all over town in search of something
sugar-free at a restaurant, battling the omnipresence of sugar at
schools and in community celebrations, dealing with the holidays, and so
As my husband and I do Sugar-Free January every year, and as
I have long bemoaned how kids are bombarded with crap food, of which
sugar is only one of many harmful ingredients, I could nod along with
Schaub in her struggles. But being also firmly in the camp of
don't-be-a-pain-in-the-butt when people lovingly prepare food for you, I
sympathized with the put-upon wait staff at restaurants and the friends
and relatives who tried to bless this family with food, only to be stymied! It wasn't like folks were offering them pies, cakes, and candy, for Pete's sake, but a tablespoon of sugar in the entree's sauce, and the deal was off.
can make everything wonderful or everything miserable. I think if I can
convince my kids to prefer homemade goodies (which by their nature are
rarer), the battle will be won. But first we've got to get through the
rest of this holiday season...
Note: I received a galley of this book from the publisher.
RESOLUTION 2. Giving up one thing I normally buy packaged in single-use, non-recyclable plastic, and buying/making the alternative. I think I'm through with bagged spinach. Yes, it takes more effort to buy a bunch of spinach and wash it and dry it, but those crinkly salad bags are forever and can never morph into anything but trash.
I would give up storebought sour cream, except that I haven't found a homemade version that worked well enough, and the tubs are at least recyclable into fleece jackets or plastic lumber or something! This resolution was inspired by two great reads:
RESOLUTION 3. And, finally, if you're tired of resolutions that are about deprivation of some sort, give this one a go. Prepare one new vegetable per week until you run out of them, and then add new favorites to your rotation. We're stuck in the broccoli-spinach-carrots-brussels sprouts-green beans-Napa cabbage rut. How about your family?
I see Deborah Madison has issued a new revision of one of my all-time favorite cookbooks, and I can't wait to check it out:
Happy New Year to all, and my your Resolutions outlast the week.