During a recent bout with insomnia, one where I had tried everything to sleep, including waking my extra-large dopey dog for a quick walk, I resorted to clicking on the TV. The news make me anxious and the Food Network made me hungry. I settled on a 1933 vampire movie starring Fay Wray that put me deep in thought and kept me awake for the remainder of the night.
The movie portrayed what most of us already know. Vampires are undead, immortal creatures of the night who feed on the living. There are only specific ways to destroy them: beheading, fire, a stake to the heart, or direct sunlight. They aren’t particularly fond of crosses or garlic, but they won’t kill them, only piss them off.
What drives a vampire is their insatiable desire for blood. It’s not only a craving but a need to sustain energy, to survive. With my continual goal not to judge another human, or in this case, unhuman, I thought what could I substitute for the way a vampire requires blood? The answer was instant, and my lack of sleep and early hour weren’t to blame. It was sugar.
My love affair with sugar began in early childhood when I’d begin each day eating sweet cereals, such as Frosted Flakes, Corn Pops, and Froot Loops, from serving-sized bowls. I earned a wage at an early age to purchase candy. My parents became concerned when a teacher told them I’d listed my favorite food group as cake. (It still is, Sister Anne).
Last week the editor for my next book, You’re My Favorite, alerted me that indeed I’d made a mistake when I’d written that my protagonist, Delaney Shea drinks her coffee black with eight sugars. The truth is, it wasn’t a mistake. I had given my character my love for sugar, but I also take sweet cream.
As an adult, I am aware of a high-sugar diet’s adverse effects on the human body. Diabetes and tooth decay is usually the first we think of. There is also higher blood pressure, inflammation, weight gain, fatty liver disease, cardiovascular diseases, acne, and some cancers.
When I was much younger and decided to give up smoking, it was years before doctors had developed helpful pills and patches. Someone suggested I keep a pack of cigarettes and a lighter in my bag and tell myself that I could have one if I wanted it. This worked, and I never smoked another cigarette. I’ve tried this method with sugar by placing a Milky Way in my bag. Two hours is the longest I’ve made it.
So now, as I travel the streets of my town, searching for sugar, be it candy, cake, or ice cream I wonder, is it a harmless treat? Or could I be a sugar vampire? Do I need a 12-step program, or maybe just a Twizzler?
Look for my next book; You’re My Favorite.
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