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Sugar Consumption and Other Life Lessons

By Jennie LaFortune


A few years ago my friend made a goal to limit her sugar consumption to one dessert a day for 18 weeks. To some this may seem generous, but she thought it judicious.  Even strict. Decadent chocolates and assorted tarts from local bakeries were her love language. Not one to make a goal overt or boring, she paired her sacrifice with another true love: politics. Put the two together, she thought, and life altering consequences would ensue – for the better of her teeth and diet-  but also for the nation.

The decay of Utah politics rested in part on a certain Utah Representative that shall remain nameless. If she didn’t keep her goal of one dessert a day for 18 weeks, she committed to support said Representative by donating $500 to his campaign. My friend documented her near temptation fails, and humorous accounts of her one indulgence a day on her blog. A community of well-wishers and confused relatives interacted, read, and laughed their way through her pre-campaign performance.

In light of recent national events I remembered this hilarious protest. The political landscape and social media world seem a veritable madhouse. It’s full of voices, facts, and post-truths mixed together, and I overdose daily. Cutting out the sugar is something I also need to do. Whoever thought a bowl of Christmas candy on the table in the office workroom is a good idea is sorely mistaken. Sugar and scrolling have become allies and enemies; numbing agents to pacify and satisfy – showing that the connection between sugar and politics aren’t so detached.

I’m a girl of theories.  The practice part is where I struggle at times.  I love the theory of minimalism.  Actually I really believe it in a general sense, and yet as I stare at my closet trying to choose what to edit (and gives me joy? #MarieKondo), not a lot happens.  I love the theory of self-love and radical body acceptance. I preach it to young women, and then when looking at the mirror I’m not so good at the embodying it part.  The same goes for consumption.  As I listened to a podcast the other day, the guest asked the question, “Are you more of a consumer or a producer?” My stomach dropped when I heard that, because I’m a complete consumer. Hello, I’m listening to a podcast, probably while googling who the guest is, all while swiping the latest Instagram. While there are good reasons to consume – to be well informed, keep in touch with friends and family- I knew in practice, I didn’t produce enough to have a balanced diet.

I recently saw a post summing up my feelings.  Writer Meg Conley wrote, “Social media is a screamatorium, all cacophony bouncing against walls that won’t hear. It’s something out of Bradbury or Poe.” But in this apt description lies the rub for me.  I found this awesome line and will use it, save, it and think about it, because – well – online consumption.

I know in theory, there are a lot of worthwhile sites, and articles, and pictures, but I also know my own writing, creations, outdoor exploring, and independent thoughts can be held hostage by everyone else’s clever words and posts. Moderation, minimalism, cutting out the sugar, whatever you want to call it – a little more producing, and a little less consuming need to happen. Whether pairing it with a sugar fast, or starting small and replacing online article hoarding with tangible books, I guess part of the point is to produce something – you’ve got to give something up too.

How do you produce instead of solely consume? What can one give up in order to gain something far more enriching?


About Jennie LaFortune

(Prose Board) is from Salt Lake. Figuring life out one book, beach, road trip, museum, and front porch conversation at a time. Perpetually on the search for the best dark chocolate, finest pen, and greenest field. When she's not teaching high school, she loves to spend time with friends and family, the shore of any ocean, holding her friends' babies, or taking long neighborhood walks.

5 thoughts on “Sugar Consumption and Other Life Lessons”

  1. I sit down to write at my computer at set times every day. And at those set times, I run through my distractions first… checking facebook, woot sales, amazon, and reddit. By the time I finish, my set writing time has ended!

    Recently, I started tracking my paid writing time using an app on my computer. It takes random screenshots, which I'm not going to send to my client, but it keeps ME focused. And the fact that I'm "on the clock".

    One of my favorite bits from this: the confused relatives that interacted on your friend's blog 🙂

  2. There's a whole lot to be said for accountability – be it through a blog, facebook posts or even text messages/diary notes. I was talking to my son this morning about the need for him to contribute something positive and meaningful instead of railing against the latest (in this case political) decision. I'm going to suggest he start a blog to go along with his actions – thanks for the idea!


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