Have I ever mentioned that I used to smoke?
Yes. I know. This is just the kind of thing that could sink my rep as a healthy, whole foodie. But tonight I’m in the mood to dish.
Yup I smoked. For about 16 years. I’m totally serious.
And I almost gagged just thinking about it right now.
Have I apologized lately?
I gave up smoking when I started thinking about having children. And looking back it was a walk in the park.
At least when I compare it to trying to kick my sugar habit.
I can count on one hand, the amount of times I craved a cigarette after quitting, but sugar (especially ice cream and chocolate), well that was a whole other ball game.
In fact, I had just kind of resigned myself to the fact that it wasn’t gonna happen.
Overeating sweets around the holidays and family get togethers was just a given. No day was complete with a bowl of ice cream, a hunk of chocolate (or three) or a cookie. In fact, I didn’t even know how I would get through the day without a sugar pick me up.
And no wonder. Experts say refined sugar is as addictive as heroin. Just like poppies are refined into opium, morphine and then heroin, sugar is refined down from its natural state into something that alters our mood (and can make us act super screwed up).
In fact, David Wolfe writes in his book, Eating For Beauty, “in the sixteenth century, refined sugar was considered to be a recreational drug in the royal courts of Europe.”
More recent studies have confirmed that sugar addiction is more than a myth:
“Researchers at Princeton University studying bingeing and dependency in rats have found that when the animals ingest large amounts of sugar, their brains undergo changes similar to the changes in the brains of people who abuse illegal drugs like cocaine and heroin.”
Huh. imagine that.
No wonder those diets, drugstore detoxes and deprivation hadn’t worked.
Yet there is no warning from the surgeon general on a bag of sugar. No icky picture of what it does to your innards.
It’s relentless. It’s everywhere. And most people think it’s ok….
So, despite my best efforts, I always ended up back in the same place: huddled by the freezer with spoon in hand, guiltily eating ice cream after the kids went to bed. How’s that for jonesing?
I just could not seem to crack the code….
Until one day, I did.
It was a sweltering summer day when the hubby asked if we should treat ourselves with an ice cream. Instead of looking for a bowl, I remember being completely puzzled. What the heck is he talking about?
And then it hit me. I didn’t crave sugar anymore. In fact, I had hardly touched the stuff in months!
Euereka! (and, as every mad scientist asks after an unexpected breakthrough: what in the world was going on?!)
I hadn’t deprived myself. I hadn’t been on a hoping-for-a-quick-fix detox.
What I had been doing is eating traditionally cultured foods and drinking cultured drinks – those wonderful bubbly beverages like kefir and kombucha. Not to mention I was also eating more healthy fats than any other time in my life.
Probiotic drinks like kefir water helped in the battle...
Slowly, but surely, the transformation had taken place.
Without super-human willpower. Without turning to salty foods (you’re either a sweet or salty person right?). Without totally socially ostracizing myself or giving up every food I love.
Combing back over the months I noticed several other things that finally helped me kick my sugar habit once and for all. To get to a place where it was possible to go out with friends and NOT order a piece of cheesecake when everyone else was. To not eat 10 dainties in one day over the holidays (like I talk about in this video).
Those things have helped move me – and my family- into a place where energy dips and mood swings don’t dictate our day. Our sugar consumption is at an all time low.
And it’s been such a big part of renewing our health that I got really excited about sharing what works (and what doesn’t) with you. It’s the reason why Sherry and I designed a step-by-step sugar detox as our very first program of 2012.
You v.s. sugar. Are you up for it?
So if you’ve ever thought it was impossible to kick the habit, I can tell you there’s hope. And I’ll tell you first hand – life’s a whole lot sweeter without all that sugar!