I have complete and total vegan envy. How is that connected to 21 days without sugar? You’ll see.

Tonight I watched the recent Oprah episode where her staff eliminates animal products from their diets for a week. (Yes, I TiVo Oprah.) I reacted to the show with the same frenzied  fascination as the time Oprah had Alicia Silverstone breeze onto the Harpo stage to boast about her vegan-induced glowing skin, endless resources of high energy, and quality poops. SOLD. Sign me up. Make my skin young and dewy forever. Eliminate “bloated” from my vocabulary. Save the cows and all that good stuff.

Four seconds later I remembered cheese. Sushi. Chicken wings. Cream in my coffee. Omelets. My new over-the-knee leather boots. But mostly cheese.

Veganism and I–not going to happen. Yet, I’m left with the nagging desire to do something good for my body, to clean up my diet. I’m wondering if perhaps I’d enjoy a smidgen of the high energy and general glow of the vegans if I wasn’t nibbling on sugar, like, ALL DAY LONG.

Exhibit A: Tonight’s “snack” after dinner.

Listen, small pieces of chocolate and a little peanut butter never hurt anyone, but I find myself indulging in little treats like this throughout the day. It’s become something of a ritual, even a physical need. I don’t want to depend on sugar that way.

I’m not saying I’m giving up sugar forever. Because then I’d just be delusional, or a liar. But I’d love to transform into one of those people who indulges in dessert a few times a week. Just like I hypocritically tell my kids on a regular basis when they ask for junk food or the Leapster, “It’s not a treat if you have it all the time.”

Which brings me to 21 days. I don’t know who decided this, but 21 days is the magic number for breaking a habit. I’m going for it starting today (Friday), and I’d love YOU to join me. (No matter which day you want to start.)

It’s amazing what a little public accountability can do. Ten days ago I committed to writing at least two pages of fiction a day, and I went from a measly 560-word draft to a 5400-word one. A novel is about 80,000-100,000 words so I’ve got a ways to go, but I’m astonished at my progress. I’m absolutely on my way, and I have my blog readers and Twitter followers to thank for cheering me on and sending me loving messages like “sit your ass in the chair.”

I’m so curious what my body will feel like without the sugar highs and lows. If you want to join me, say so in the comments section below. I’ll write another post in a week on my progress, and you can let us know how you’re doing too. I’ll do the same for week 2 and at the end. That is, if I haven’t gnawed off my own fingers in a fit of sugarless rage rendering me unable to type.

(An important caveat: I’ve read about sugar cleanses before, and I’m personally not worrying about salad dressing, ketchup, soup, marinara sauce, etc. My issue is purely in the dessert category. If on day 7, I’m hiding in the bathroom  pouring Italian dressing down my throat like some kind of maniac, then we can revisit the issue of hidden sugar in non-dessert-esque foods.)


Jump to “The Dessert Police: 4 Days In” or “The Dessert Police: Day 10

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Nina is a columnist at The HerStories Project and a contributing writer at Kveller.com and Greatnewbooks.org. Her essays have appeared regularly at Brain, Child Magazine, The Huffington Post, The Jewish Daily Forward and have been syndicated in Jewish newspapers across the country. Her short stories have appeared in over a dozen literary magazines, and she loved participating in the 2013 cast of Listen to Your Mother. Nina is a co-founder of The Twin Cities Writing Studio. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband and four children.

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