I'm in the middle of my usual European "eat like a healthy human being" kick. Translated that means I always eat healthier and lose weight in Europe. I put it down to a combination of exercise (I almost never have a car), poverty (I look at European prices and NEVER buy anything pre-prepared, although this year that's less of an issue), space (I never have a fridge of any size to store pre-prepared and frozen stuff in), and sheer unadulterated laziness (I refuse to lug a bottle of Coke or anything else that weighs a ton and is not absolutely necessary). Now if I could just manage to keep these habits back home!
One really odd thing I've noticed this time, though, is that I'm CRAVING sweets and that, when I do eat Finnish desserts, they don't seem really sweet to me. Don't get me wrong: chocolate is chocolate is chocolate. It's just that when I treat myself to things like pastries they don't seem as sweet as the stuff we get at home.
Out of curiosity I've done some digging around Finnish recipes and it does seem that their baked goods have less sugar in them, but I actually think the reason is more insidious: corn syrup.
Since I've been here I've had VERY few things that have corn syrup in them, and let's face it, a cup of hot chocolate does not have anywhere near the punch of the corn syrup saturated goodies in the US. Most of my cooking is from scratch, and when I do want something sweet, I add sugar to my coffee (or make hot cocoa, like tonight), buy good quality ice cream, or stop at the local bakery. And when I decide I'm actually going to pay for baked goods, I make darn sure that I'm not buying something mass produced--and, therefore, filled with corn syrup.
Since the strength of this craving is actually freaking me out a bit--and I feel great save for it--on Wednesday I'm going to try to go "cold turkey" for sugar of any sort for a week. (I have dinner at a colleague's tomorrow and don't want to be rude!) They say that it takes that long for things like sugar cravings to clear your system. Wish me luck!
If it works, it'll be great, but boy, will I be A LOT more paranoid about corn syrup and the various -oses when I get back home!