Desugaring My Coffee

I love sugar. Sweets might be my only dietary vice. I like bread and enjoy a bit of wine. But I can go months without bread and often forget to drink the glass of wine I promised myself I would have. But… raw sugar, sweetening the heat of my black French vanilla coffee? That bit of heavenly knowledge dances forever alluring in the heart of my taste buds. It’s reveille in a cup.

Some years ago, while my doctors where trying to figure out if some of the foods I ingested were responsible for my tummy misery, I was instructed to have my coffee without sugar or milk. I hate milk, so that was easy. I tried a cup of coffee without sugar, spat it out, and cursed my gastroenterologist in the most creative ways I could imagine—and I’m really good at imagining.

I quit coffee…
…for about a year.

Tests and time said sugar was not the problem. So, coffee and I sipped and made up. It was a glorious moment in Magaly life. If you followed this blog at the time, you probably read my screams of delight. I celebrated for days.

This could be the reason why both my nutritionist and gut doctors gave me such strange looks when I told them, “I’ve decided to desugar my coffee.”

If you know me, and thought about my desugaring decision for a moment, you’re probably not as surprised as they were. I despise being forced to do things, but I love challenges—they are great at reminding you (and yes, by “you” I mean “me”) that you are alive and kicking and grinning madly.

Also, I like carrying around between 128 and 131 pounds. More than that is hard on the breathing department And, of course, as my flesh and bones and mind and I shimmy sexily towards vintagehood, staying in balance with our favorite jeans can’t quite happen while sucking on sugar. I like my jeans.

I started desugaring a week and a half ago. First, I reduced 1 of the 3 sugars I took in my coffee. Next Tuesday, I’ll go down to 1.5 teaspoons of sugar. I will continue cutting half a spoon until I get to, um… half. Then I shall half and half and half again… until my coffee is just hot, dark, and delicious.

Giving up sugar in my coffee is not particularly easy, not at all.

But tough things are much easier to do (even enjoy) if we are the ones who decide to do them. It’s almost like ending a long friendship with someone you know to be toxic but have remained friends with because they brought you some pleasure. When another friend says, “Let that energy vampire go or else!” You cross your arms and bare your teeth and hold the bloodsucker closer to your neck. You might even let it go, but rarely happily.

But, my Wicked Luvs, when you are the one choosing to ram in the stake, sugar turns to dust… and you realize that few things are as pleasurable as detaching a leech is a leech is a leech (regardless of how funny it can be).

I’m not quitting added sugars completely. But after coffee and I are totally happy in our hot and unsweetened darkness, I will continue the desugaring with yogurt. If my daring persists, I might even move on to steel cut oats.

Tell me about your dietary vice(s), my Wicked Luvs. Have you (or would you) ever seriously consider choosing to give up something you enjoy, in order to feel more comfortable in your garb (and, perhaps, in your lungs)?


all right, so I can’t remember the last time I bought coffee at Starbucks
(mostly because I don’t like coffee made by anyone but me),
but The Force was just too strong with this photo not to share it with you


33 thoughts on “Desugaring My Coffee”

  1. I don’t have too much sugar often, but what I do have I cherish. I think rice is probably the toughest, especially white rice, prepared the way my mom does it. I’ve mostly moved to brown rice. But every now and again I’ll treat myself to that old school style rice. Mmmmmm.

  2. As an old southern girl, my vice is homemade biscuits with homemade peach jam. But…i only have one once in a blue moon now and usually give away my peach lime jam, only keeping one jar for myself until the next peach season. I’m not into sweets. I guess my other vice is fresh summer veggies and homegrown tomatoes.

  3. With being pre-diabetic, having the start of CHF and now blockages in the heart which hopefully the cardiac cauterization on Monday will take care of, I have been forced into giving up many of my loves. Anything white, which includes salt, sugar and of course bread and brownies, fried foods, bacon and wine. Scotch went some time ago. Not happy, but then I do want to live.

    • I completely understand. I don’t like it when I have to choose or scream in pain, but since I don’t want to die screaming I just go ahead and choose to give it up. Grudgingly, but I do. It’s so much different when one gets to do it out of vanity (and cheapness–I refuse to buy new clothes, lol!).

  4. “shimmy sexily towards vintagehood” … This so fabulously encapsulates you. I love the way you write.

    I may have to join you.

  5. At one time, I took both cream and sugar (lots of each) in my coffee. Surprisingly, I was able to completely wean myself off sugar in my coffee as I got older. I think aging tastebuds helped with that, as my need for sweet flavours diminished. But I still cannot drink brewed coffee without cream. The only coffee I can drink black is instant coffee, for some mysterious reason. So I drink a cup of black instant coffee every morning while reading blogs.

  6. The Whites is what I’m supposed to give up. Thought white bread would be hard, but it wasn’t. White rice is harder as it’s so easy to cook, compared to brown….even though I like brown better.

  7. I try very hard to be a good Olde Bagg when it comes to sugar intake. But I cannot give up honey and milk in a wonderful cup of Earl Grey Tea each morning as I do my computering. I also like pineapple and ginger water with a touch of honey……makes me a happy vintage person

  8. I’ve been having my coffee black and sugarless for decades. And REAL coffee, not instant. I love it!

    However, my waistline (and other areas) benefit little, so long as I continue to love dark chocolate, dark fruit cake – are we seeing a theme here? – and many another decadent delight.

    • Instant coffee and I have never danced well. When I was in the field–while in the military, I would just eat it without water (for the caffeine… very uncivilized, I know).

      I love cake, and cookies, and crackers, and… well, I love deserts. But almost everyone in my family is either diabetic or has some sort of heart disease, I’m quite disciplined when it comes to consuming such yumminess.

  9. I was a DrPepper fan…better to say, I carried 8 with me every time I left home and being “down” to two cases was a “crisis bordering on calamity”. Since I quit doing a bunch of “stuff” a decade ago, DrPepper was what I would drink to calm me down…anyway, one day, without really knowing it, I just quit. There is a can in the fridge, it’ll probably be there next year…just like it was last year, the sad and lonely reminder of something I thought I couldn’t do without…

    • Miller! It has been forever. It’s good to read you. Soda and I revised our relationship years ago, too. I’ve always loved cola and fruit sodas, but some time ago I made it a rule to only have a few sips 2 or 3 times a year. I don’t miss it at all.

  10. After a few years of taking my coffee like my soul (hot, black, raging, not sweet at all), I find the idea of sweetened coffee to be repulsing.

    My dietary vice: Too much of everything. I like to eat a lot, and a lot of unhealthy stuff most of all. Pizza, crisps, ice cream, burgers, cheese, chocolate, cookies – you name it, I like it. Most of the time I manage to either skip the temptation, stop at reasonable portions, or manage to somehow make up for it by changing the rest of my food intake accordingly.

    Have to say, my biggest vice is probably booze. Now as science is becoming ever more clear on how purely bad it is for you in any shape, I should probably stop altogether, but I just love the occasional beer, or wine, or tequila …

    Yeah, I’m a glutton. ^^

    • I can’t wait to be repulsed by coffee with sugar!

      I’m not a big drinking. But eating HUGE portions of vegetables and fruits is definitely a thing for me. The veggie mounts are not too bad, especially since I eat them raw, but the fruit mountains tend to pile up…

      Hey, glutton away, I say… since you run like a fiend.

  11. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia a month ago and am dealing with cutting things out or modifying my normal indulgences. Really feel like this post gave me a better way of thinking about and doing that 🙂

    • Seeing it as a challenge makes all the difference for me. Things can get really ugly if we see the restrictions that come with our ailments as a punishment. Challenges we can beat. When it comes to punishment, all we can do is endure or fail. So, we shall meet the challenge with teeth bare and forks at the ready. 😀

  12. You’re so right, we have to decide a thing (challenge) for ourselves or it simply won’t work, or even if it does it will be a misery all the way.

    I gave up sweets and regular soda pop (I drink a lot of soda pop) and lost 40 pounds simply by doing that. I kept it off for years. It’s back now, though. Retiring from walking a mail route did what knew it would do, and I’m a fatty again. 🙁 At 5-11, if I ever weighed 130 pounds I’d be in trouble! I haven’t weighed that since 8th grade!

  13. I applaud your resolve, Magaly. I gave up sugar for the most part many years ago(not that it has noticeably affected my weight, but at least I don’t have the diabetes that runs in my family) and I honestly can say that now, after thirty some years, I never even think about it–I do cheat with tiny bits of artificial sweeteners in my coffee tho, and a monthly treat of some kind, because that just proves I can control myself. 😉 I wish you joy on your journey, and agree totally with your point that nobody can tell you what to do like yourself.

    • Stubbornness and cheapness, um… I mean, frugality are great weapons. And, goodness! You speak about my resolve? You are going nearly sugarless. I can’t even imagine that right now. Actually, I can imagine it… and my imagined self does not look pleased.

  14. I have tried sugar and did not like it in coffee. For me it’s almond or coconut milk in my coffee. Never had a sweet tooth. Sugar is the root of weight gain and there is no nutritional value. A friend was on weight watchers and stopped drinking those big gulps at 7 Eleven. The weight dropped off but her addiction to sugar didn’t. The weight came back

    • My name is Magaly Guerrero, and I am a sugar addict. Let’s see how long until I can say, “I’ve been off sugar (in my coffee, I mean, let’s not lose our heads) for 13 months”.

      About your friend’s case, it’s the reason why I’m approaching this really s l o w l y and one thing at a time. No need to rush ourselves into things, just to break our necks sooner.

      • A lot has to do with one’s attitude. For me I know taking in too much of anything isn’t good. Moderation. I no longer eat red meat after learning that it takes a week to digest. I feel better with veggies, fruits, grains, fish. No shellfish after learning they’re bottom feeders! And maybe those ‘bottom feeders’ are a turnoff.

        • I agree, balanced choices are key. I’m luckier than most, I think, when it comes to keeping myself from eating too many things the body can’t handle all that well: I don’t like meat, I don’t really care for pizza, I’m not crazy about most pasta, I love vegetables (sometimes too much), I don’t eat too many treats. If I can desugar my coffee and a few other things, I will be quite all right. If I could exercise like I used to, I could probably still binge on fruit. But… we live, learn, and the metabolism slows down, lol!

  15. Very interesting you made this post! I declared to myself, just last week, to try to have no more toxins in my body or around my body. The food part is going good! LOL! I have to admit, it’s all going very well. You have to honour your body, because that’s where your soul is.
    I don’t drink coffee. But, I love my tea. The tea I drink is always plain, either green tea or mint tea.
    Big Hugs 🙂

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