The Next Sugar Experiment

Once Gleek and I concluded our brief experiment with using an alternative method for balancing her body for sugars, we talked over what worked and what didn’t. It was obvious that Gleek is sensitive to sugars, this is not news. I figured that out around the time she used her first words to beg for candy. So we made a plan for our next experiment. I suggested that we log the food that Gleek eats and how she behaves. Gleek added that she thought we should do a one-day-on-one-day-off sugar plan. This sounded like a reasonable idea to me, but we made clear that “off sugar” mostly meant treat food made with refined sugars. She can still eat fruits even though they are high glucose foods. We also clarified that “on sugar” meant one glass of chocolate milk or a reasonable amount of other treats. She does not get to eat nothing but sugary foods all day.

I like this plan because it gives me structure to use when deciding whether to say Yes or No. Even better, Gleek knows the structure and agreed to it in advance. This did not stop her from flopping and moaning yesterday on the Off day. But more interesting to me was that when she was offered chocolate milk today, she decided against it because she wanted to save her one glass for later. This from the girl who has subsisted on chocolate milk for a significant portion of the summer. So far both days have been fairly good behavior days.

What Gleek does not know is that just by putting the experiment in motion, we have taken a huge step toward reducing her sugar intake. Even her On Sugar days will have less sugar in them than before. This is because the log is forcing me to pay attention to what she eats. It is forcing me to think before I agree to treat food. The fact that I am observing is changing my behavior. Not only that, but I knew that the only way to survive the barrage of treat requests was to have a plan in place for what we’ll eat that day. I need to be able to point to the schedule and say “We plan to have cookies for snack tomorrow and next Thursday, not today.” So I have made a month long meal plan which includes breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. This already represents a major change from the last-minute-scramble method which dominated the summer.

This plan will not solve Gleek’s challenges. She’s been doing much better over the summer anyway. But it will let me alleviate the influence of diet, and if there is a measurable reaction to any particular food I’ll see it. What else needs to be done depends upon how her new classroom situation affects her. It depends upon whether I can build a good working rapport with the teacher. It depends upon me building solid communication lines with the administration. And in fact this whole food plan depends upon me staying focused, which is not always easy when it comes to daily mundane tasks. I hope it all works.