Six years ago my baby boy was born the day before Easter. His birth gave us quite a scare, but thanks to some incredible surgeons and a week in the hospital, Lil C and I were both happy and healthy. Because he was born the day before Easter, I have always had an association with his birth and the holiday. Lil C’s birthday and Easter has been celebrated joyously each year as I am sure you celebrate with your children.
This is the first year that I have added a new association that I was not prepared for. Sugar. Let me explain………I decided to let Easter happen like it has happened each year. Chocolate bunnies and jelly beans were allowed in the house. I asked that we keep things to a reasonable level. Let’s not go overboard, but it was OK to receive candy from the Easter bunny and family. What could be the harm in letting a little extra sugar in the house for a week, right? The sugar started infiltrating my house the day before Good Friday. The kids brought sacks of treats home from school. “How sweet”, I thought, “their teacher had thought of them with this kind gift.” The sack of candy didn’t last the night. The kids devoured it. There was no stopping them.
Easter was a beautiful day, full of lots of Real Food and loving family time. I ended the night allowing myself to have a few pieces of chocolate. After all I hardly eat any sugar so what harm is there in eating a little bit of chocolate with just a little bit of caramel and just a little bit of peanut butter and just a few jelly beans and…………what were those minty things? I spent the whole next day feeling sluggish and thinking about the candy I had left at home. When I say I was thinking about the candy, I’m not kidding. I was thinking about having candy to the point of distraction. What the heck was going on with me? I had given up sweets for the most part and really hadn’t been missing them. This couldn’t be happening to ME.
I spent the week thinking about candy and rushing home to grab just a little something all week. Just a little bit…………and then a little bit more. Now enter, Lil C’s birthday. We had cupcakes Saturday and cake on Sunday. It was all delicious and made from wonderful ingredients, but loaded with sugar. I couldn’t wait to have a second cupcake and a second piece of cake. It was sooooo good.
After just a week……………….I am hooked on sugar again.
Today, I will start my sugar detox. It’s not going to be pretty. When you body detoxes from sugar, you can often have severe withdraw symptoms. Not only the cravings, but flu-like symptoms. I sure hope the sugar doesn’t have a hold on me like it did when I first started my Real Food journey. The best way to combat these feelings is to drink plenty of water and eat lots of whole grains, fruits and vegetables. I need to make sure not to let myself get hungry and not to have the sugary sweets easily available. I need to get back to my rule of only eating honey and maple syrup as sweeteners. You can see more about this here and here.
There is some significant scientific evidence that sugar is addicting. I recently read an article in Prevention Magazine written by Heather Millar. She quotes endocrinologist Robert Lustig, MD. He says, ” Fructose (sugar) may also reduce your enjoyment of food. Dopamine, a neurotranmitter, signals pleasure, and new studies show that if you eat too much fructose, you tamp down your dopamine receptors so that it takes more and more fructose to feel pleasure. That’s how sugar can easily become an addiction, which is why it’s so hard to give up.” This is likely the reason that processed foods have more and more sugar in them. Many of the foods we ate as kids have lots more sugar today compared to when we were kids. The food companies want us hooked on their products. It makes us loyal customers who keep coming back for more. Pretty scary, huh?
I choose to feel good and for me that means dumping the sugar. It also means that I need to be more prepared this time next year. I will need to have a better plan in place so that sugar doesn’t take over me again. If I am feeling this way, I can only imagine how my kids are feeling.
Have you experienced sugar addiction? Have you ever tried to detox? What works for you? What about holidays and birthdays…………..any advice for next year? I have to say, I thought I was getting good at this, but this really caught me by surprise. The good news is that at least I didn’t go to the drive-through to get a greasy burger to go with my sugar. At least I haven’t slipped that far.
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