Sugar is a huge crutch for me. I use it when I feel tired and need a pick-me-up. I use it when I want to celebrate. I use it when I’m feeling low and want to feel happier. And I use it when I want to numb difficult emotions.
But sugar is a fair weather friend.
It actually doesn’t make me happier. For a brief tasty moment, sure. But not in the long term.
Folks, the truth is, sugar isn’t good for us. It acts like a drug in the body and alters our brain activity. (You can learn more about that in this excellent lecture from University of California professor Dr. Robert Lustig). I’m coming to terms with just how differently I behave when under the sugar spell. Verdict? Not good. Sometimes I feel like I’m of literally two minds when I act out or say something I don’t mean to. I’ve been asking myself much too frequently these days, Where did that come from??
I’m ready to be my better self. And that means slaying the sugar dragon. To help, I’ve enlisted the support of a program called Whole30 which outlines how to eat for 30 days in order to disrupt food addictions and make other positive changes.
For the next 30 days (the 30 part of Whole30) I won’t be eating any added sugars whatsoever. In addition, I won’t be eating grains, dairy, beans, legumes, or alcohol. What will I be eating? Lots and lots of vegetables, meat, and fruit.
It’s the perfect time to try going “clean.” (If there is such a thing as a perfect time). Tons of fresh produce is available now in our region and we have an abundance of local organic options for veggies and fruits. I’m getting into cooking more and what better way to be in control of what I consume than to cook it myself!
The success of this experiment will be determined in large part to how I feel physicially, mentally and emotionally on July 20 but also in how I manage my preparation for meals and handle carvings. I’m not going to fault myself for feeling out of control but I do want to set myself up to never feel deprived. Overall, I’m treating this next month as an experiment more than a diet.
I’m eager to see how I feel after the change in food consumption and to see what “non scale victories” arise for me. The originators of the Whole30 encourage people not to use their weight or a scale to determine their “success” but rather to focus on other wins they might experience during or after the 30 days. I’m curious and hopeful that the next month will help improve these persistent and nagging symptoms:
- Low energy
- Brain fog
- Sugar addiction
- Ashy skin
- Slow mental processing
- Poor concentration
- Slow circulation
It takes courage to change a deeply held habit and truthfully, I’m scared. I must learn and relearn tools for coping with life, with difficult feelings, with difficult people. I can’t blindly turn to my sugar friend and expect to feel “good.”
What is “good” anyway? What happens if we don’t take the time to be with what is?
In the wake of the Orlando tragedy I read some of the truest words about hate and fear and violence from a DJ named Tasha Black:
The underlying condition of violence is the belief that we are separate.
And paradoxically, in order to touch the place where we are most deeply connected with others, we have to go to the centerpoint of ourselves.
If we want to deal with the root cause of fear, we have to go to the place where love lives: the place we actually are.
The center point in me, that place where true love lives is right now heavily guarded by a terrifying dragon. To heal myself and begin helping the world to heal I must slay that inner dragon and free the best parts of me.
I’ve got a plan, I’ve got support…I’m ready to go! To the place where love lives.