Addictions. we’ve all got them. For some it’s recreational drugs, for others its alcohol, and for some like me, its the more benign addiction to buying magazines that causes the occasional flutter of guilt mixed with a high of seratonin as I flick though the glossy pages of a tome that can cost anything up to $45 a pop.
Many people who assume they don’t have any addictions may think they’re entitled to feel smug as they watch us nurse a terrible hangover, listen to us over the phone describe a particularly brutal comedown “I just want to kill myself’ or waft the smoke away from a cigarette whilst pulling a face (to be fair, I do that one all the time now that I am finally sans nicotine)
But one thing that people (everyone, for that matter) don’t realise is that we are all addicted to something so dangerous at such a huge level and it’s right under our noses (I’m not talking Facebook , although that’s another story). If everyone who reads this blog actually takes what I say next as the total gospel, reads the following articles and makes a concerted effort to break from the addiction, we will all live happier, healthier lives.
About a month or so back, I was in my local bookshop, killing time before meeting a guy for a date and going to see the Francis Bacon exhibition at The Art gallery of New South Wales. I flicked through a book whose front cover, with Kath Kidson colours and hipster styling, featured a woman with bronzed legs and cheesy smile who was just begging to be punched. The book was called I Quite Sugar (by Sarah Wilson).
I didn’t think much more about the book, apart from questioning the task in hand (quitting sugar) and the need for it. Why would some skinny bitch be harping on about quitting sugar ? Whatever next, I thought.
However I kept seeing the book in different shop windows and on a recent night around a friends for dinner, the book was on the coffee table. I decided to look at it again, and this time I read the first few pages. My friends flat-mate came home and told me more about how she has been using the book and as she gave me the odd fact or two about sugar in our diets I started to feel concerned. For me . And then I began to feel really motivated.
So after consuming a huge Thai meal, which I later found out is one of the worst cuisines in terms of sugar overload, I decided to go sugar free (oh, I ate a whole bar of chocolate too, as a kind of Swan song).
I’ve had a few conversations since, with more enlightened people and it seems that what I thought was a fad, is in fact the next big food movement and something that we should all be taking serious notice of. Sugar is killing us all, sugar (and not fat) is making us all fat and we are all addicted. It’s in the Supermarkets’ best interest to have sugar in everything, even at such a small amount that we can’t taste it, so that we keep shopping. And it makes food cheap. The reason that Organic, free range and natural products are more expensive is simple-that is how much food actually costs.
It’s been a really difficult thing to try and pull off, I’ve given up smoking and my beloved caffeine but sugar is kind of next level addiction, and as I’m so addicted and work around food I’ve been throwing those afternoon Pain au Chocolates away rather than eating two, and walking straight past the Banana bread like it’s wearing the same shoes as me. But it’s been a week now and I haven’t had ANY sugar, I’ve been cooking with coconut oil instead of vegetable oil and I feel so good. I’m more alert, no late afternoon energy slumps, and I sleep perfectly. But don’t read this as a purely superficial food movement, it’s not all about losing weight, having clear skin and feeling great (although they are all benefits of going sugar free).
Sugar is actually killing me (and you by the way). From fruit juices, mueslis’ and the abundance of fresh fruit (which as an evolving species, we would never of had such access to) to chocolate bars, cereals and tomato ketchup, sugar is being absorbed so quickly by our bodies, turned straight to fat (none of this “sugar is calories that you can burn off”) and causing us to be obese, have heart failure and liver disease. In actual fact, FAT fills us up, so we eat less off it, where as with sugar, we don’t have the same switch in our brains to make us stop eating it…
Back as evolving species, we came across sugar so rarely, that were programmed to gorge on it ( imagine a bush of berries) incase we didn’t find any more for months. Nowadays it is all within arms reach yet we still don’t know how to switch off. The food giants have become aware off this, and made sure cheap, easy to produce sugar is in everything.
Have you ever said “I’m hungry but don’t know what I fancy?” or after eating a meal said “I still feel hungry…what can I eat”…that’s the sugar talking and as soon as you get free of it, you start to actually see food in a different light, and eat things that you actually want to eat… You won’t believe how much of what you normally eat is decided by cravings rather than actual requirements until you stop eating sugar.
So as I go into my second week without sugar , it gets easier and easier. And the idea of eating sugar becomes more and more distant. Where as in the past I would literally stuff myself with desserts to the point of feeling like I was going to puke, I am already starting to see that it wasn’t even me choosing to eat that crap. My hope is that I can completely forget about eating sugar and spend all the extra energy doing more interesting things.
I can’t wait to get back to England in June and apart from the weddings, festivals and my Grandads eightieth birthday, I’m looking forward to doing all the flea markets and finding some new pieces of furniture. Before that though I have another huge challenge ahead of me. I’ve just been accepted to participate in a ten day Vipassana meditation course at a retreat in the Blue mountains. No eye contact, talking or exercise for ten days, with a daily alarm of 4am.
It doesn’t sound like much fun but I’m hoping it will be amazing.
For anyone interested in further reading…