Kicking The Sugar Habit

8-4-sugarWithdrawal is a bitch. I am trying once again to limit my sugar intake. I have done my share of detoxing over the years and I think sugar is among the worst. Getting it out of the system is an insidious battle with no guarantee of victory. Days of mild head and stomach aches; a preternatural craving for something sweet; these aren’t pleasant in the least.

Unfortunately this time my attempt to get rid of sugar includes carbohydrates such as large bags of potato chips that make me think I am not eating sugar. The desire to replace sugar with chips or pretzels as a snack is not getting rid of sugar at all. Starchy foods basically break down into sugar creating the same environment as a candy bar within your nervous system.

Sugar itself isn’t really the devil; it is the type of sugar and how we consume it that counts. Sugar is the fuel that powers the brain. And the brain craves sugar—it is an original taste—and seen as a deserved reward.

And it is natural to want to keep our brains happy even though the type happiness that results from the wrong type of sugar is an illusion. The sugar that our brain needs comes from good carbohydrates in the form of grains and legumes, fruits and vegetables.

I haven’t gone cold turkey simply because it is nearly impossible. Sugar is in everything and if you start reading food labels it will blow your mind how often sugar in one form or another is among the top three ingredients.

For instance, today is the last day of school. Without hesitation my kids asked for ribs as a celebration dinner. I am all too happy to accommodate. I love making and eating ribs. But what about the barbecue sauce that I love as well. BBQ sauce is basically sugar and ketchup (which is sugar and tomato) plus flavor enhancers of your choice.

Wish me luck.

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Sunday Morning Music: Kirsty MacColl
Brain Games

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