Regarding the sugar I was the same and found that replacing white sugar with raw cane sugar as dark as possible really improves flavour and replacing sugar where possible with paprika and mild chilies can help you to get over feeling that you need so much sugar.
Your taste buds eventually change and the need for sugar really does diminish.
Great to have you aboard
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So I can have tomorrow what others can't.
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Jean Sibelius (composer 1865-1957)
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