Welcome to My Year Without

On January 1, 2008, I made a New Year's resolution to cut out refined sugar for one year. I cut out white refined sugar and corn syrups. My quest to be sugar-free evolved into political interest, public health, and letter writing to food manufacturers. Join me in sugar sleuthing, and learn more about the psychological aspects of sugar addiction, and those who push sugar on us.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Oh Sure, Sugar's Not Addictive: I'm Just a Raging Zombie Having a BF!

I become a zombie robot when a sugar craving hits:

1. Glassy-eyed and salivating, I venture into the kitchen and peek in all cupboards, the fridge and the freezer. I look behind cans, cartons and boxes hoping to find the perfect solution to my craving. Dried cranberries, prunes, naturally-sweetened cookies or even the perfect tea. If I'm lucky.

2. Upon finding nothing that appeals, I exit the kitchen in hopes of distracting myself.

3. Unless I've found something really engaging, I typically wander back into the kitchen and hope to find something that I missed the first time.

4. Repeat.

Needless to say this routine has got to stop. My mouth has got to stop dictating my actions. My brain and willpower are stronger than this, aren't they? What on earth propels me to shut off my brain and re-enter the kitchen over and over again? It's not like a little fairy flew in and sprinkled magic fairy dust on my prunes turning them into Oreos. The worst thing is, I'm not even hungry.

So, I created a solution.

The miracle is, it's working.

I made a Bitch-Fit (BF) Book. I labeled a notebook and set it on the kitchen counter. When I have a craving I go right to the book and write. I mean, write! Everything I am feeling, wanting and needing. I write anything and everything that comes to mind. By the time I'm done leaning against the counter writing, my craving has dissipated. I write until "it" is out of my system. Some entries are so passionate and desperate that my writing is hardly legible. I'm usually exhausted by the time I put the notebook down.

But it's working. 

I highly recommend it. If you create your own BF book, please let me know how it works for you.

Disclaimer: Last night for some reason (where I'm at in my cycle?) even though I wrote in my BF book I felt like if there were a pint of Ben & Jerry's cookie dough ice cream I would have eaten it. That's one reason I don't keep food like that in the house. 

Image found at: http://www.librarything.com/topic/44157

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Pleasure of Temptation

(Cartoon resource www.aliveandyoung.net/2009/08/garden-temptations)

My pattern is always the same: The mere thought of chewing on something sweet and I become orally fixated. Needy.


I must put something sweet on my aching tongue or I'm convinced it will wither. I fantasize about donuts and ice cream and cookie dough for a second, and visualize going to the grocery store to buy whatever I want.


I ditch that idea and consider what's available immediately: A chocolate bar, chocolate chips or my husband's pint of ice cream.


The more I fantasize how satisfying it's going to be, the more the momentum builds. As I scan cupboards, fridge and freezer the momentum speeds up. When I make my decision to take the chocolate bar and have my way with it, the momentum is unstoppable. Minutes later I have regret and begin the pattern of self-deprecating.

If I had stopped the pattern of thoughts from the beginning, I could have stopped the initial momentum.

I discovered this on Saturday. Friday was my last day of work in an office, and I decided it was time to go without sugar again. Saturday.

It's now Monday, almost noon, and I haven't had an issue with cravings. I decided to ignore them. I've also created a BF (Bitch Fit!) book to log any and all thoughts, feelings and cravings. It sits on my kitchen counter. I hope to identify more emotions/situations that lead me to desire sweets.

In the meantime, I'm abiding by the AHA's daily recommended added sugar quotient, which is 6 teaspoons for women, 9 for men. I will only be eating non-refined sugars like maple syrup, honey and dried fruit but no more than 6 teaspoons a day. So far, so good.

My goal is to someday crave only whole foods, you know, the kind nature intended.

More thoughts on Temptation: 

Wikipedia defines temptation as: "...A temptation is an act that looks appealing to an individual. It is usually used to describe acts with negative connotations and as such, tends to lead a person to regret such actions."

Some proverbs, quotes and other verses describing temptation:

"The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."

"And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us...."

"Good habits result from resisting temptation."

"I generally avoid temptation unless I can't resist it," Mae West.

"Temptation is the fire that brings up the scum of the heart," Shakespeare

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Sweet Mother of My Sweet Tooth!

Okay, I'm on a roll. This is my third post of the morning.

I'm frustrated at all of the latest sugar information I've waded through this morning: news articles about obesity, sugar addiction and beverage company lobbyists.

Thing is, I went 3 years without eating refined sugar.

I was superhuman.

I couldn't fly, but turned down every cookie, cake, beverage, ice cream and morsel of sugar. Dang! That was then. Now I'm eating it again and all of my former issues (self-loathing, addiction, sugar blues, muffin top) are back. So why don't I just cut it out again? If it were that easy I wouldn't be scrolling through the Twelve Steps.

I'm frustrated because I'm no longer superior, no longer superhuman. I'm a mortal living among other sugar-addicted mortals fighting the urge to snack on chocolate or buy Ben & Jerry's. Dang.

What happened?

Like every other addiction I know of, it seems to be an all or nothing ordeal. There can be no moderation, no matter what anyone says. But is this true, or just true for me?

According to the American Heart Association women are to eat no more than 6 teaspoons of (added) sugar per day and for men it's 9 teaspoons. What the hey? When are 6 teaspoons ever just 6 teaspoons? As if!

The main reason I am so frustrated, no, I'm freaking raging right now, is that once upon a time my cave-woman ancestor ate to live. Zog brought home leg of deer and they ate. They slept. They tidied their cave dwelling and she sewed the deerskin into a loincloth. I can't picture either of them sitting there chewing on a stick dreaming of Hershey's or the Cheesecake Factory. If Tala found a bush of berries while Zog hunted, they ate some. Some. Okay maybe all, but even if they stuffed their bellies with berries, we're talking about a whole food.

What the!?

I'm aware of the influences and traditions and conveniences that ease and justify my way to the cake mix aisle, but I would love to have the primitive tooth of Tala and be surrounded with bushes of berries instead of aisles of junk food. Yeah we've come a long way, but with the nation's obesity rate soaring, we're now devolving.  (If you click on this LINK watch the graph change with every year. Scary.)

Now what?

Big Soda Means Big Problems

Um, yeah:

"Over the years, CSPI has documented how the sugary-drink industry has used ostensible philanthropic programs to burnish its image in the eyes of health officials and the public. In 2009, Coca-Cola made a six-figure payment to the American Academy of Family Physicians to underwrite “consumer education content related to beverages and sweeteners.” In 2003, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry took a $1 million payment from Coca-Cola."

Here is the complete article written by CSPI.

Video: Sugar Is Not Addictive At All