It is funny how health concerns really make you assess your life and eating habits. This past few months I have had some health issues and one of those is hormonal imbalance. I realised the skin beneath my eyes was beginning to lose its elasticity (I spoke more about this imbalance in my blog post Early Menopause HERE) and I was getting more facial hair on my chin, along with a number of other hormonal symptoms. Now I realise what a gift my body has given me because it has been seeking out what it needs and what is no longer healing or supportive for my human vessel.
Now Sugar. Well I would say I have been addicted to sugar since a child, even more so in my early teens and on. I hated school, so when I came home my indulgence was sweets, chocolates, cake and on weekends I even had half a gateaux all to myself, with a side selection of biscuits (cookies in the USA). Every evening my dinner composed of ready meals, chicken dippers, chips, lots of sugary ketchup, fizzy drinks… the list just goes on and on. So, I built up a routine of when ‘feeling emotional’ – must eat sugar.
After my dinner at around 7pm or 8pm my parents and would have had a sugar-laden cup of English tea with milk, and my parents would have a few biscuits and I would keep the biscuit barrel by my chair. I would say I probably had at least half or a whole packet of biscuits each evening. To me chocolate, sugary substances made me feel comforted. They were my emotional crutch when I did not know how to handle the pain of school or not feeling socially confident. And as most people were doing exactly the same, nobody seemed to notice why I was doing this.
Rats when offered sugar-water and cocaine overwhelmingly chose sugar-water.
In my late teens to twenties I drank sugar-laden alcohol as well, and binge drank a lot, again more comfort, which helped me to be social when my self confidence was low. To more recently, where I was sure I loved coffee so much, to realise once sugar was taken away, coffee was not what I was craving each day, it was the sugar I put into the coffee. With cakes, treats, intentions to be healthy followed by a moment of sadness or low emotion to a “oh just one time, a custard slice just for today” and back into the old routine of food equals comfort.
So here I am looking at the potential train wreck of hormones and realising I have a choice here. I can choose to continue food laden with sugar, and let my hormones get more imbalanced; let my skin lose its elasticity; age quicker, and let my body get all the sugar-related illnesses that this poison called sugar does to the body, or I can choose to let it go, be disciplined and change my eating habits. I chose the latter.
Now I know many of you reading this may also be addicted to sugar, or you may feel you are not addicted if you only have a little each day, but add that over a week or a month, place that sugar into a jar and you will be quite horrified at how much you consume.
Sugar addiction is prevalent in our western society so much so that we are even spreading our addiction into places like Japan and other Eastern cultures that may have had a healthier diet thus spreading the cycle of obesity to other parts of the world.
So why is it important to cut out sugar or at least reduce the amount of sugar we ingest? Well, these facts may shock you, or you may find your need for sugar outweighs the sheer horror of what sugar can do to the body. Much like smokers, we sugar addicts make excuses for why we cannot quit, but just like nicotine, sugar is a poison to the body.
- EMPTY CALORIES: Refined sugar has no nutritional value whatever.
- ACID/ALKALI BALANCE: Sugar taken everyday creates a continuous overacid environment in the body, which responds by leeching calcium from the bones in order to return to balance. Overacid environment in the body contributes to cancer.
- OBESITY: Sugar makes you fat. When we were cavemen and women, there were periods of abundance and periods of famine. In order to survive the body learned to store the excess as fat to be drawn on in times of famine. So in modern day society there is only abundance.
- SUGAR HIGHS & LOWS: Sugar causes your blood sugar levels to spike, causing the pancreas to release more insulin to bring the sugar level back to normal. But because this situation is not normal, too much insulin is produced which causes the blood sugar level to become too low, so you feel the need for the next sugar kick.
- SYNDROME X: Frequently you will go through highs and lows as your blood sugar levels go up and down. This cycle can lead to what is called SYNDROME X where the body no longer responds to insulin. It is the first step towards becoming diabetic (type 2).
- HORMONES: Sugar completely disrupts your hormonal balance.
- SKIN & AGING: Excessive sugar intake causes cross-linking of the collagen fibres which causes the skin to lose its elasticity, so aging quicker than your body would normally do.
So, what can you do if you want to give up sugar?
The list of foods and beverages I have given up are:
Sugar in my coffee
Sauces that contain excessive sugar