I fell off the turnip wagon over the Easter Holiday. It started with a trip to town with my husband to get goodies for Easter. We ate out and I said what the heck and indulged in a dairy-laden, sugar-bombed coffee frappe drink. And I guzzled it. And then my eyes kind of did that thing that happens to the “vegetarian” sharks on Finding Nemo when they get a whiff of fish blood. And I was on a rampage.
I bought ice cream on the way home. It was delicious and I devoured it without remorse. I hunted around in the cabinets for a bag of marshmallows. And I taste-tested a few Easter candies. Tomorrow was another day, right?
Well, the next morning I woke up and made waffles. With maple syrup. And a cup of coffee, which I rarely drink, with cream and again…sugar. They day went on like this…me looking forward to how I could eat sweetness at my next meal. And not fruit or a balanced smoothie – just straight up junk food.
See, I have this problem with sugar. A lot of people either pay not attention or laugh it off when I say I have sugar addiction. But it’s a real thing. I crave it, it gives me an extremely temporary great feeling inside, I look forward to my next fix. I start baking things to binge on. Oh sure, often gluten-free and dairy free but still loaded with sugar. I start to feel kind of icky inside and I promise myself after each sugar overload that I’m done. But in no time at all I am hungry again and reaching for something sweet.
So then Easter rolls around and then that is my excuse. A big dinner with the whole family – with dessert – a giant carrot cake. And ice cream. And Easter candy. And I feel so bloated and sluggish. But in my mind, I am already planning what sweet promise I can wake up to for breakfast.
It has to stop! I know what sugar does to me. It’s no good. My skin breaks out, my intestines gurgle and bloat, my brain get foggy and it stresses my adrenals, causing restlessness and anxiety. I know my poison – and I’m one of those people who cannot moderate my sugar intake. There is no balanced place for me with sugar. It’s all or nothing.
So I have to detox – no, I’m not even kidding! Three days of no sugar whatsoever helps me to re-set my system. No fruit, no honey, no coconut sugar, not dates, nothing suggestive of sweetness!
How do I get through this? I plan – I have a list of recipes to look forward to that are savory, delicious and high in protein, fat and vegetables. I snack on nuts and drink green tea and plenty of water.
Day one: I am a withdrawn troll of a human being with a massive headache and legs that don’t seem to work correctly. A bad day to go visit some friends but I go anyway and pretty much sulk on the couch with my hands to my temples while the kids play. My head seriously hurts so bad that I’m wondering if something is really wrong. Sugar withdrawal is real!
Day Two: My husband comments that I seem to be in a really bad mood today. I can’t remember my response exactly but I snarl it out so viciously that the family dogs, who were eavesdropping, run away and hide. Some residual headache. It feels nowhere near as bad as yesterday but I am definitely not okay. Extreme fatigue. I am literally dragging myself around like a character in a zombie film. All I can think about clearly is cake.
Day Three: Ah, more like myself. I get through the day without insulting anyone. My energy levels are sluggish all morning but better by dinner time. I am still thinking of adding just a dollop to honey to my green tea but it feels much less tempting than before. Also, my mind loses focus at odd times and lapses into daydreams of chocolate milkshakes with billowy mounds of whipped cream and little chocolate shavings scattered on top…no!
Day Four: I wake up looking forward to my chickpea omelette with a side of sauteed kale. Food is tasting normal again. No headaches all day. My energy levels are normal. I can move and direct control over all of my appendages at will. I think about something sweet and it genuinely holds less interest for me. I am craving fat and more wholesome carbohydrates. Sugar, for me, is a binge and coming off it is worse than anything!
Sugar is a drug. This should come as no surprise…but sugar is not your friend. Sugar is just pure calories with no vitamins, minerals, fats, or proteins. It spikes blood sugar, follows with an insulin response and a subsequent sugar crash, leading us to the desire for more.
I also know that for me, sugar promotes a sweet boost in my immediate mood. Since I tend to be a highly active, always moving, thinking, slightly anxious person, I know that I need healthy carbohydrates to balance my serotonin levels and my energy needs. Sugar is tempting, but the wrong answer. Because it comes with a cost…and a crash.
Detoxing from sugar can help to balance your body and reset your hormones. Your body’s intuitive drive to eat the foods that it needs will be sharpened and truthful. Naturally sweet foods like fruit will satisfy you and taste sweeter than ever before. Try taking an honest look at sugar in your life and see what a difference a sugar detox can make.