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Reach for fresh fruit when you want something sweet

I've passed the two-year breast cancer survival mark and finally, I'm making a major life change. Why has it taken me so long? I'm not sure. I guess the time is right and it never was before. There's no reason to dwell on what I could have done sooner. What matters is that I'm taking charge right now.

First it was soda. I totally eliminated it from my diet. It wasn't such a big hurdle, though, because it was never much of a habit. But sweets -- another story entirely.

I love -- or shall I say loved -- sweets. Brownies, especially the gooey variety, were my favorite sugary treat. My oldest child loves them too and together, we would occasionally mix up a batch, wait impatiently while they baked, and then scarf down the whole pan.

There's a brownie mix in our pantry right now. Six-year-old Joey keeps asking me if we can make them. I keep telling him, "No, mommy is not eating sweets anymore." Which means he is not eating sweets anymore -- unless they come from a secret source. It's killing him that I won't give in and make our cherished chocolate dessert. So I promised him I will make the brownies one day soon. We have an upcoming party to attend and this will be my contribution. I just can't make them, keep them at home, and expect not to eat them.

It's been two weeks since I've consumed anything remotely sweet -- like candy, cakes, ice cream. I'm not counting sweeteners that are surely buried in the foods I normally eat -- I'll get there eventually -- but I am committed to passing on anything obviously dripping in sugar. That means no chocolate chip cookie bars that greeted me at work one day. No dipping into the mint bowls at restaurants. No bulk-sized bag of M&Ms sitting in my kitchen cupboard.

Nothing. I can't do it any other way. All or nothing. I'm going with nothing.

I like how I feel. The headaches I suspected were fueled by sugar are less frequent. My stomach feels less full. I know I am headed for better health. My kids are too. My body and my wallet should lighten up a bit too.

When I long for that sweet something, I reach for fresh fruit. Strawberries, apples, pears, bananas, and cantaloupe fill our kitchen now. Joey ate three bananas last night. I figure it would have been three brownies if he'd had the choice. For his sake and mine, I'm glad he didn't.

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