Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Hi, my name is Elyse and I am a Sugar Addict

      There is a darkness inside of me.  It's sugar.  I used to think I had this darkness under control.  I have come to the realization I do not.  I heard once (maybe on Intervention or SVU?) the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem.  Here I am admitting it,  before it turns into me mainlining granulated sugar off of a teaspoon.  From there it may move to me heating that teaspoon with a lighter underneath and drinking the sugary syrup byproduct.  Either way, it's a bad scene like most clubs in the 70's.  I need to clear my conscious before I delve too deeply into this under world. 

      Sugar Addiction is real.  Who knew?  It has all the top docs talking because it really does present with signs, symptoms, and withdraw.  Withdraw is a BITCH.  The kind of bitch you see in the street and abruptly turn on your heels and head the other direction because you want to avoid her resting bitch face.  I mean I've just heard that.  I've been a sugar addict so long I haven't had withdraw yet,  but if I had I bet it would feel just like that.  I didn't even know I was a sugar addict.  Until,  recently when I confronted my demons.

      My problem is simple--once I start, I can't stop.  Some people are addicted to pastries, cake, Oreos, etc.  Not me--I am addicted to candy--- DAMMIT HARIBO GUMMY BEARS STOP MAKING SUCH SWEET AND DELICIOUS FRUIT FILLED MONSTERS.

       My office is surrounded by cubicles.  One particular cubicle has someone I like to call my work mom.  She knows I love Milk Chocolate Hershey Nuggets.  She keeps these Nuggets in her top left hand drawer just for me.    I usually eat one after lunch.  If I skip this ritual and pass her desk without stopping,  I get anxious. My palms start to sweat and I can't stop thinking about it.  Maybe not that serious, but you get the idea.  It starts with a nugget,  then I get home from work and eat a half bag of Sour Patch Kids,  which I don't even like because they burn the roof of my mouth or something,  but they are there from Easter so I eat them anyway.  Then on the way out the door I grab 6 or 7 jelly beans I have for "company" (who the hell comes over my house anyway?).   Then I get to my bartending job and the cook has purchased one of those "can feed a small country" size bags of the mixed chocolate from BJ's.  Here we go with me passing by that mini twix and getting the sugar sweats.

       At Valentine's Day my kiddos love to give me all sorts of candy.  I will average about 5 of those mini heart shaped boxes filled with candy.  It will start with me opening it and only eating the caramels.  Then,  I'll take bites of the ones no one even likes like "fudge coconut nougat".  It will be gross.  So I'll try the next one.  Gross again.  I'll bite all 6 in the box then throw the box away.  If my kids knew I did this,  maybe they would stop buying me the mix box and only get me the caramels--which would only escalate my addiction.  I'd probably end up putting all 6 in my hand at one time and shoveling them in like a trash truck dropping off it's daily haul at the county dump.

      Study related evidence suggests a dependency on sugar may lead some people to show addict-like behaviors. Sugar even affects the same "feel-good" brain hormones as street drugs. So for me and I am sure many of you

1. Sugar Cravings at Consistent Times: CHECK
2. Discomfort when cutting back: CHECK
3. Mood Swings when you do not ingest sugar: CHECK
4.  Irrational Thinking: CHECK
5.  Binge eating other foods: CHECK

      So,  how do I plan to recover?  I plan to go cold turkey.  By cold turkey I mean watch other people eat sugar and have a friend tie my hands behind my back when I get the urge.    It's really only candy I want to eat.  Cake, donuts, etc. I can skip for the rest of my life.  I should be good to go unless I surround myself with a bunch of screaming 6 year olds eating gummy worms like there is no tomorrow.  Or,  if I am at the movies and all 120 patrons are eating that $6.78 candy they sell out front.  Or,  if I am in the grocery store and some super mom is shoving peachieo's down her kids throat to keep him from flipping the cart in the store like the little hulk strength HANGRY kids without sugar usually get.  Or,  if I am at a tee-ball game where everyone is eating candy in the stands.  Why would I be at a tee-ball game?  I don't know,  but I have to make sure I mentally cover every single scenario possible. Plus, my nephew is 3 months old so in 4 years he will be playing tee-ball.  I need to plan for the future.

      So, basically if I go no where and lock myself in my house with all of my jellybeans out front on the steps for the deer.  Even then,  it may come down to a fist fight with the deer once I realize I have given them my only stash of gold.

The good thing is I know I am not suffering alone.  See below:
      This is me talking to my sister and cousin about my new way of eating which I am working on with my crossfit coach Ron Ron Orbin.   His new way of eating does not include highly processed sugar foods.  Like I said, I am going cold turkey.  Minus the fact I admitted to him last night I ate a "fun size" (not a thing fun about that small ass size) Sour Patch Kids while bartending.  He, like always, used a ton of medical terms I hardly understand which scared me straight (like the show for teenagers, minus the prison).  The only thing I understood was diabetes,  which my family calls "the sugar".  When referencing someone recently diagnosed with Diabetes it wouldn't be uncommon to hear someone in my family say " Yes,  they have the sugar". 

I am not alone.   People all over the world are suffering.  Let's stop the madness.

I hope this post helped you also recognize your sugar addiction and find salvation. If not,  I hope it made you laugh.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


       Pork is truly an underused meat. Now, don't go crazy on me here---I am not a big fan of pork chops.  When I was a kid my dad used to make "chicken cutlets",  but really they were pork cutlets that he paraded around as chicken.  They did nothing for me.  Bland, fatty, and porky.  In my older age I've had some good pork---but nothing as good as Porkette. 

       Something disturbing happened to me recently.  Someone said they didn't know what porkette was.  Then another person said it.  Then another. Then another. WHAT PLANET ARE YOU FROM?  No,  it's not BBQ.  No, it doesn't have any kind of sauce on it.  IT'S PORKETTE.  Maybe because I grew up in Gibbstown,  the home of the St. Mike's Porkette.  Like the land of the free home of the brave,  except in Gibbstown it's the home of the porkette the land of the broccoli rabe and provolone. 

Porkette is traditionally served on a roll with sharp or mild provolone, broccoli rabe (known to Italians as "broccoli rabb-e"), and/or roasted red peppers.

This recipe is for a party porkette that would serve about 15 people 1 sandwich each.  You can modify this recipe as needed.  I've made 5 pound pork shoulders and just halved the spices, oil, and cooking time.


Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20-25 minutes per pound, or 8-10 hours
Serves: 15

1 9-10lb Pork Shoulder or Butt, bone in
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp oregano
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp pepper
1 tbsp parsley
6 garlic cloves, cut in half
2 pork gravy packets
3 cups water

1. Take your beautiful pork shoulder out of the wrapping and discard paper.
2.  Cut 12 deep slices in the fat, about 1 inch wide.
3.  Place garlic cloves in the cuts.
4.  Heat a cast iron skillet, dry,  over medium high heat until very hot.
5.  Rub the outside of the pork with olive oil.
6. Mix all spices together.
7.  Pat the spices into the pork shoulder well.
8.  Sear meat on all sides for about 5-7 minutes per side (be careful of burning).
9.  While your meat is searing mix both packets of pork gravy with 3 cups of cold water and pour into crock pot.
10.  Turn the crock pot on low and once the meat is finished searing, place inside of crock pot FAT SIDE UP.
11.  Cook on low, covered, for about 20-25 minutes per average of 8-10 hours.  Mine cooked just shy of 10 hours because I overslept.  Traditionally a good porkette goes in the crock about 3am and finishes by 4pm.  But---I overslept!  When you remove the pork shoulder the bone should slide right out and the fat should have melted away.  THAT'S AMORE!

12.  Place shredded meat back in crock pot to absorb the juices.

This is my broccoli rabb-e.

The trick is to boil it first for 10-12 minutes, then saute it with garlic and oil.  If you do not boil it first it has a tenancy to be really bitter.