I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my consumption of sugar. I generally try to stay away from artificial sweeteners and packaged grains, but I always, always want dessert. Ice cream, cookies, pie, you name it. I love it. I want it. I’ve been trained to enjoy something sweet in the evenings, even in residential facilities. Dessert seems normal. It is normal. But is it the best thing for me, every single night?
I once attended a Food Addicts Anonymous meeting, and was exposed to their theory of cutting out sugar and flour completely from your diet. The supposed objective and result for many of the women there was weight loss. At the time, I didn’t need to lose weight. I needed to gain weight. Although weight loss is not the objective of FAA as a whole, that seemed to be the primary goal of the individuals who attended the meeting that night. The idea of cutting sugar completely from my diet further seemed preposterous, and even kind of eating disordered. Wasn’t I taught to enjoy everything that food had to offer, in reasonable portions? Wasn’t I supposed to be overcoming my fear of sweet –in my mind, unhealthy– foods?
I never attended another meeting. I kept bingeing and purging. I went to the hospital two more times. And here I am. I enjoy Whole Food’s Vegan Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies on a weekly basis. Sometimes twice a week. Add to that ice cream, at least once a week. Plus the occasional piece of pie. Is this bad? Am I wrong? No. But I do sometimes still feel the impulse to keep eating, to binge, when I enjoy something sweet, especially at night.
My ballet teacher preaches to us about reducing our sugar intake. She explains how going sugar free changed her life, made her drop ten pounds like that, and gave her ten times the energy she used to have. She also explained to us the difference between complex carbs and simple carbs, i.e. sugar, and noted that our stamina and ability to perform would increase if we reduced our sugar intake. It sounds like a win, right?
And over at Spoonful of Sugar Free, Alex explains much of the same thing. She’s even hosting a ten day sugar-free challenge. And I’m intrigued. Yes or no? Good or bad? Will going sugar free for ten days leave me feeling deprived, or will I notice an increase in energy and a better sense of well-being? Will my sometimes urges to engage in a sugar binge decrease if I cut out processed sugar entirely? I don’t know.
There are nine days until the challenge. It’s graciously held after Halloween, and before Thanksgiving. I wouldn’t miss out on the goodies from either holiday. My skin my improve. My energy might increase. I might really want a cookie. And I might cave into ice cream. But is there harm in simply trying? Giving it a go?
I’m going to give myself until the end of October to decide, and hopefully decrease my sugar intake accordingly. Until then, I have apple crisp. Which essentially negates the entirety of this post with it’s delicious, sugary goodness.
Vanilla ice cream, and a Pocahontas bowl from the 90’s. Super sweet end to the day.