Posts Tagged ‘giving up’

How to Give Up Sugar

January 19, 2012 Leave a comment

If you don’t do anything else, the most important step for improving one’s health is ending one’s addiction to refined sugar.

I recognize that carbs and alcohol are sugars. But our cultural addiction to fructose is so severe that just starting there, I believe, has immediate health benefits.

There are many who’ve done the internal work that are ready to give everything all up at once. This usually happens after a moment of realization how important health is. But if you want to give it up gradually, its possible to do it in stages.

In 2004 I gave up all High Fructose Corn Syrup. During this process, I learned it’s everywhere. And that I needed to read the ingredients on every processed food I bought. Gone were Kit-Kat bars and 99% of all industrial bread. No more ginger ale. Even Orangina, which once was real carbonated orange juice, had gone to the dark side with HFCS. No more salad dressing. No more store bought marinades.

Granted, it wasn’t everything. I still ate meat fed with corn. I still could have high end chocolate. And I still drank diet soda, which while free of HFCS, still kept myself addicted to sweets. I used maple syrup and honey occasionally.

Next I took another step away from sugar by insisting that anything I was offered had to be made at home, and not from a box. In my profession, lots of my lovely elderly ladies love to show their appreciation by baking a cake made from a box. NOw I say, “is it from scratch?” If not, then I turn it down or offer it to one of my employees discreetly (“Father, thank you.”).

I realize I’m poisoning them, contributing to their addiction so that I can be in the good graces of my congregation. I confess this.

My next step was to only take two bites. Yep – two. Enjoy each one. I might get a whole piece of homemade cake, but even if I decided to eat it, I restricted myself. Sometimes I had three, but I think about 80% of the time I didn’t finish what I was offered. On my birthday I may have an entire piece (I refrained this year), and will be deliberate when I break the rule.

Strict Paleo means no maple syrup or honey, either. Or chocolate.

The physiological reason has to do with insulin sensitivity. It may also be inflammatory.

But now when I consume sugar, it feels like a choice rather than a habit.  I can see others have dessert and have gratitude it’s not me consuming that poison.  The next step – booze.  I’ll try that in Lent.

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