I am one of those unhealthy thin people. Although aesthetically I look an average weight, I’m convinced that inside, lurking in my body, is diabetes just waiting to spring itself upon me. Oh, and have I mentioned I’m a hypochondriac too?
My beloved father was diabetic, a disease that contributed to his death at 68, and so is my mother. Both were and are appalling at managing their condition. My mother laughed when I explained that a slice of white bread could contain up to three teaspoons of sugar, depending upon the brand.
“I don’t believe that,” roared my mum.
“Bread doesn’t taste sweet.”
No, next to a Mars Bar I grant you, bread does not taste sweet but it does contain sugar. I had to end the conversation quickly as trying to tell my 74 year-old Irish mother, who was raised on carbs, to give up her morning toast was as impossible as convincing her that Holy water does not cure a cold.
My father would take the occasional stab at being a good diabetic but his devotion to Guinness and red meat did little to help his blood sugar levels. In Ireland, if you’re not eating half a cow per week then there’s something wrong with you. The Irish, a race who, like the British, require alcohol or a sporting triumph to express emotion, show their love for friends and family through food.
The first thing I am asked upon entering an aunt’s home is if I’d like tea and a biscuit. I always accept their hospitality only to have the stakes raised to the snack including a sandwich and before I know it I’m sitting down to egg, sausage and chips.
Aware that my sugar addiction has already claimed a couple of back teeth in the form of fillings but still completely in love with cake, this week I attempted to make reduced sugar treats.
I adapted a chocolate and beetroot brownie recipe, removing the castor sugar and replacing it with a dollop of honey on top of the cup cakes while they were cooling, and on the giant brownie I made with the rest of the mixture, so the sweetness would soak through. Ok, so there’s still chocolate involved but the honey is at least not as nutritionally challenging as 150 grams of white sugar. It’s a start in my attempts to wean myself off the bad shit.
The cupcakes did taste good and I was confident enough to hand over a paper bag filled with the treats to my friend Rob when we popped round for his birthday celebrations.
As Rob is a very polite young man, even if they tasted awful I’m quite sure I would never hear of it but as my boyfriend, who has just as sweet tooth as me, said he would happily tuck in again I think I can safely say that replacing the sugar content in my baking is the way forward.