I’ll be honest. I am addicted to sugar. A-DDIC-TED. Anyone who knows me, knows this. Being that I am a female in the U.S. of A., where most everything contains unnecessary amounts of sugar in it, this is not surprising.
I was thinking about this the other day- I can’t even remember when I have gone more than 10 days without eating something sweet. In fact, I don’t think I ever have. I have done (2) 10-day cleanses sans-sweets, and that’s as long as I’ve lasted before giving in to sugar’s seduction.
Of course, most times I eat rather healthily, and I am conscious of what I put in my body: I stay away from refined foods as often as I can and avoid nasty ingredients like high fructose corn syrup, but the bottom line is this: I LOVE SUGAR. Always have. I come from a family of sugar addicts. We have a family cookbook, and there are 36 variations of cheesecake inside. My grandmother used to give us shopping money when my sister and I were kids, and the 1st stop of the day was always the candy store, where we each dropped about 25% of our funds. Of course I had to leave enough for my new white Reeboks, a necessity of every school child in 1987.
For Halloween in 2nd grade, I dressed up as a baker. All through high school I would experiment with every kind of cookie, muffin, praline and brownie possible, just to get my hands on the batter. In college, I had a love affair stint with McDonald’s Butterfinger McFlurries & Strawberry pop tarts, followed by working at The Blue Baker as their cookie maker before I moved on to making wedding cakes at a local bakery. Sugar isn’t something I just like to eat: it has been interwoven into my life’s tapestry. Reward for All A’s grades K-6? Ice cream. Upset? Ice Cream. Happy? Ice cream.
Too often, as I have also experienced, the relationship with sugar is a complicated one, especially for women. It’s a love/hate relationship. It can be our biggest comfort and our biggest adversary, something we love and something that can also give us so much guilt. Growing up a gymnast and cheerleader, I have always had a complex relationship with food, and it’s been a process to learn how to balance being healthy and good to my body without being obsessive. I am sure that some of you can relate.
What would my like even look like without sugar? My first thought is boring. As healthy as I aspire to be, I also believe in a life that is a beautiful balance- and, food, in my opinion, is one of life’s greatest pleasures. At the same time, there are so many studies out there about the ill-effects of sugar and just how bad it is for us. In this article by Nancy Appleton, PH.D, she shows us the realities of how sugar is ruining our health. I wonder what differences I would see in my body, my energy levels, my sleep patterns and my overall health if I eliminated sugar for a space of 30 days. To commit to something lofty like a year, considering I haven’t gone more 10 days up until now, seems a bit out of reach. But 30 days seems doable.
I usually like to wait until the dates work out- like the first of the month, the 15th, etc etc. But it’s the 24th of January- and tomorrow is the 25th. And since I’ve already munched on some trail mix (sounds healthy, right? Wrong: it had M&M’s, salty peanuts and non-organic raisins in it) today, I do like to start on a ‘fresh’ day. So, join my journey to health. I’ll be updating with new recipes and leading you through my 30 day journey- filled with the highs and lows I know I’ll surely face as I embark on this quest for sugar-freedom. Cheers!