Sugar-Free Life

Slate has published the diary-style account of a woman who essentially gives up refined sugar, and the miraculous positive effects that follow.

As detailed in the piece, the no-sugar binge passes through the normal life cycle of just about any diet: obsessive mania, dramatic collapse of discipline, reassertion of primary purpose, more moderate but still essentially observant long-term behavior.

You quickly begin to loathe the author’s perky embrace of her success—“In no time at all, my skin was unmottled and my stomach improbably flat. Why had I ever touched refined sugar?”—even as you consider the possibility that she might be on to something.

But then, you start to realize a couple of things that make the prospect of following in her footsteps more than a little daunting.

1. If you want the diet to work, it’s fairly critical to a) always cook for yourself and b) cook pretty dour and monotonous stuff. “In any event, like David Lynch, I’ve never minded having the same meal every day.”

At least Lynch was eating hamburgers at Big Boy.

2. You also have to stop drinking (!) and give up one of God’s key gifts to humanity: bread. As the author writes: “[The diet] meant not just no Ben & Jerry’s but no booze, no baguettes (or pizza!), no mashed potatoes, and minimal fruit and dairy.”

And, soon enough, the piece reads like any honest account of a miracle diet: With relentless self-discipline and a willingness to deny yourself food-related joy, you can reap all the benefits of a healthier, long-lived, monkishly deprived you.