I ATE TOO MUCH SUGAR….THIS IS WHAT HAPPENED TO ME
It was about two years ago now that I eliminated sugar from my diet. It wasn’t easy, I was a sugar addict so giving up the sweet stuff was a difficult journey for me. I would eat sugar, and a lot of it everyday. My day would start off with cereal drowned in low-fat milk and a few teaspoons on raw sugar on top. Then I would be hungry two hours later so I would have some kind of baked good, an old favourite was the apple and custard scroll from bakers delight or any form of chocolate brownie. Lunch would be a wholemeal roll or sandwich with low-fat cheese and salad and a heaping of sweet mayo. Not long after lunch I would have some kind of candy, usually musk sticks and liquorice. Then I would have a piece of fruit, you know to be ‘healthy’. Dinner was where I got my nutrients, Mum would always cook a nutritious dinner……but she also made delicious desserts back then too (they are still delicious now but not so sweet anymore as she eats less of the stuff too). If there was no dessert I would devour some milk chocolate (if you could call it chocolate, there is barely any cacao in commercial milk chocolate), sometimes I would have both the chocolate and the dessert. So as you can see, I was indeed an addict. Flash forward to today and you will get a whole different story, and a whole different me. I feel wonderful, life is wonderful but I am human and last week my sugar addict reappeared and this is what happened.
Upon waking from my sugar splurge my head hurt so much, it felt like someone was above me tugging at my hair. My mind was buzzing but not with productive thoughts, rather thoughts of business and nonsense- literally my thoughts made no sense to me. As the day went on my mind became more and more of a blur. I felt so spaced out, my actions were delayed. What felt like a second was actually more like a minute. I indeed had a sugar hangover and I wanted the day to be over because I knew it was only going to get worse as my body worked hard to get rid of this poison.
I hadn’t had a hangover like this in a very long time, before Jasper was conceived, and boy is it harder to deal with when you also have a fourteen month old to look after. The upside of this day was that my husband didn’t have to work until the afternoon so I was able to take my yoga class, not that I felt like moving out of bed though. The sweat will help release some of the toxins I thought. So I dragged myself out of bed, threw on my yoga clothes gave my boys a kiss goodbye and drank as much water as I could before arriving at the studio. I had enough time to just lie there on my back for a few minutes before the teacher arrived, taking in as many deep breaths as I could and filling my lungs with as much fresh oxygen as I could. When I practice I make sure that my ego does not take control of my body. I am mindful that my body communicates with my thoughts and not the other way around. Both my yoga practice and my mind benefits from this way of being, there are days when I feel super strong and the strength of my body gives my mind that extra push to heat up my poses. On the other hand there are days, like this particular one, when I need to back off and allow my body to restore itself, allow the poses to rejuvenate my body, almost like a therapy. So sure enough, yoga came to the rescue once again because I felt a whole lot better after class.
With some restored energy I made my way back home, had a hearty breakfast of eggs, vegetables, cheese and coconut oil and was ready to get on with the day. After lunch Jesse went off to work and I took Jasper to the park. I tried to hang out at the park for as long as I could because it meant that I didn’t need to entertain Jasper so much. He was quite happy playing with the other kids, or more so their bikes and balls, he tends to gravitate straight towards bikes at the moment. I would usually chat to him and to other parents and run along beside him but today I just strolled along behind him looking like a zombie, all I wanted to do was hunch over in the fetal position and fall asleep in the cool grass. Yoga can only do so much when you are working at ridding a poison like sugar from your system, and this villain was bouncing back once again, ready for destruction.
It was about four o’clock now and just a couple of hours since I had eaten last. I made sure that I had a substantial lunch so that I could stay satiated until dinner time (which is what I do most days). However, I was beginning to feel hungry already, and not only that, I was craving the sweet suff again. There is no doubt that sugar plays havoc on the body and it’s destructive consequences still amaze me to this day- if the headaches, mood swings and lack of energy isn’t enough, wait until you hear what it does to you on the inside. Sugar weakens the immune system, it strips the body of important vitamins and disrupts hormones. The proper functioning of your entire body can be disrupted by an overconsumption of sugar, this could be the very reason you get sick a lot. The more you eat it, the more you want to it, and more of it too. All it can take is just the one occasion that you go overboard and throw your satiety signals out of whack. This can put you on a roller coaster ride going nowhere, well nowhere productive anyway.
I needed to hit this sucker on the head before it took over my life, once again. I went on home and made my self a high fat snack, with no sugar, of any kind. I had some cheese avocado and nuts, the fat helped to send signals to my brain to let it know that I was full and didn’t need anything else to eat. As the rest of the day went on I was faced with sweet cravings but I knew that if i got though the rest of the day with out any sweetness what so ever tomorrow I would be back on track. What felt like the longest day ever finally came to an end. Not long after I put Jasper to bed I was in bed myself looking forward to seeing the sunrise, the beginning of a better day.
I learnt a few things from this day, I learn’t that by not eating consciously I not only put myself at harm but I also let my family down. I wasn’t my fit usual self. My yoga practice suffered, the time with my husband was pretty much non-existent and worst of all, I felt like I neglected Jasper. I wasn’t present with my baby boy and that makes me sad, even just to miss one day. These times are precious, life is precious and it’s only been since giving up the sweet stuff that I have realised how much of my world I had been missing. I guess on the bright side I can use these times as ones where I realise how special my life, and the people in my life, are to me, it’s pretty wonderful really.
Now you are probably wondering what it was I ate? I am a chocolate lover and I always will be. A few times a week I enjoy some good quality chocolate that is at least 75% cacao. If I don’t have superior quality, I’d rather not have any at all. When I went to my favourite chocolate shop (back in Vancouver Xoxolat) they were all out of the brand that I like in the 75% so I got the 65% instead and I think this is what did it. It was just that little bit sweeter but it had me eat the whole damn thing. One hundred grams of chocolate had over thirty grams of sugar. On a normal day I barely see half that amount of sugar, so this was a disaster waiting to happen…and sure enough my day was a whirlwind.
I still enjoy sweets but I prefer to make my own. On the odd occasion I have tried a sweet here and there but I put it down after one bite because I find it far too sweet. Sometimes I will find some treats at health food stores but I still make sure they are only lightly sweetened. When I bake my own desserts at home, because I don’t eat gluten, I use nut flours and coconut which both have a natural sweetness. When I do use a sweetener I tend to use a small amount of brown rice syrup or seasonal fruit.
We often become unaware of the impact that things in our lives can have on us. My life before cutting out sugar doesn’t even compare to the life I live now. My mind is clearer, I never get sick anymore, I have an abundance of energy and I look fitter than ever. It does not happen straight away and giving up the sweet stuff was difficult at times but it is all part of the journey to a healthier mind and body. If not for yourself then for your loved ones, don’t forget they care abut your health too.