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Life is sweet.

Today was a gorgeous spring day. I went to Sunday School and to church, enjoyed seeing my friends there and hearing inspiring thoughts, and then cam home to a wholesome lunch.

I took my book, my knitting, and  dessert of gelato and espresso out to the patio and relaxed. Everything was deeply pleasurable, from the breeze to the rosebuds nearing bloom to the satisfyingly rich espresso to the wit of the book to the sweetness of the gelato.

Sugar, when it was first brought into the mainstream of culinary life, was seen as not just a delicious ingredient, but also as something very nutritious and wholesome. It made people fatter, which was considered a sign of health — and the quick calories were beneficial in the short term to the starving masses. It was a miracle food, combining with the other new tastes of coffee and tea to bring artificial stimulants to a waiting world.

For centuries, access to sugar was limited by its cost and availability. As cheap sugar developed and made its way to new populations, it brought in its wake dental decay and diabetes. Sugar, with its quick energy, might be impressive in the short term, but in the current enormous quantities it leads to the diseases of affluence.

Now, sugar and salt and cheap fats provide just about all the flavor we find in the foods we buy.  We’ve grown accustomed, maybe even addicted, to the artificial stimulation.

Giving those things up and switching to real food is the solution. I’ve been fairly successful… but I still crave sweets, and enjoy them.