To Boldly Go Where No Baker Has Gone Before

17 Jun

I know you were hoping for a pureed bread recipe ;-), but this update is actually unrelated to dysphagia.

Yesterday, I did a lot of soul searching about my dietary habits, and I came to a conclusion that will probably shock all of you as much as it shocked me.

I want to stop eating all added sugars for good! (refined sugar, maple & brown rice syrup, honey, molasses, brown sugar, evaporated cane juice…you name it [there are a LOT of names for various types of sugar]

You may not believe me (I’m not even sure I believe me), but if I say it in a blog post, it will be harder for me to fail.  Last night, I even threw out all of my recipe cards with sugar in the ingredients lists (kind of sad :(, I know).  I actually mourned the loss of opportunity to ever make/eat Vegan Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting or Strawberry Rhubarb Pie.

I realized that I am a steadfast militant when it comes to making choices regarding the purposes of this experiment but far more negligent in responding to my own body’s requests.  I’ve got digestive issues that I KNOW are caused by eating sugar, blood sugar fluctuations that make me an irritable monster, and mental health issues that are further aggravated every time I shovel that poison into my mouth.

I obsess about sugar the way an alcoholic obsesses about alcohol or the caffeine addict is useless without their morning cup of Joe.  Some people are not troubled by such dependencies.  I am.

I’ve struggled with anxiety (including panic attacks) since about 1st grade.  I’ve dealt with bouts of depression since adolescence (intensifying around junior year of high school and waxing & waning ever since).  Since about 2007, I started turning to sugar more than ever to dull my emotions.  I started eating pints of ice cream to cope with unwanted feelings.  I begged people to help me, but was often responded to with laughs of disbelief.

I know it’s hard for people to accept that sugar is a drug, but I really believe that’s based solely on the culture we have been brought up in.  Poppy seeds are food. Refined poppy seeds are a drug (morphine).  Tobacco is a plant.  Refined tobacco is a drug (nicotine).  Sugar cane is a plant.  Refined sugar cane is sugar.  [“Nicotine, Valium, Vicodin, Marijuana, Ecstasy, & Alcohol” – I love that Queens of the Stone Age song!  But I digress…]

It’s time to delve into my other area of expertise: psychology.  I obtained a minor in psychology while going for my dietetics degree.  You can’t separate mental and physical health.  Ice cream is the perfect drug for a person with anxiety and depression.  Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is thought to play a role in depression.  High-fat foods cause your brain to release dopamine.  Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is often deficient in anxious folks.  Eating carbohydrates (A.K.A. sugar) temporarily boosts serotonin levels.  Interestingly, more serotonin is found in the digestive tract than the brain!  Check out this recent article connecting neurotransmitter deficiencies with overeating behaviors:

http://www.medicaldaily.com/news/20120523/10001/obesity-overeating-depression-hormones.htm

We’ve already explored the many disturbing effects of sugar when I posted during the Candida diet, so I’ll avoid repeating what you should already know.

Let Them Eat Cake!

I want to make it perfectly clear that I am not against the idea of eating sugar in moderation (even * gasp! * high fructose corn syrup- though you’ll never convince me that it is chemically identical to sugar, because it’s just not!).  If you find sugar to be a fun way to unwind, that’s great.  Even the majority of people with FructMal can eat small amounts of certain types of sugar without symptoms.  I can enjoy sipping a glass of sparkling wine, but an alcoholic would find it difficult to stop there.  Similarly, I simply do not possess the luxury of brain chemistry to enjoy “a cookie or two”.  Once I’ve fed the beast (as I refer to my inner sugar demon), that’s all I’m allowed to focus on.  It’s a slippery slope.  Once I’ve got sugar on the brain, it’s a foggy binge until I’m finally too sick or tired to continue.  A few weeks later, the vicious cycle repeats.

I am bringing this up now, because one constant that I’ve found during this experiment is the continual obsession with sugar.  When denied sugar, I wrote down future dessert recipes to try.  My willpower was strong, basking in the comfort of knowledge that I could eat sugar again one day.  Meanwhile, my moods and energy levels were better, I had less headaches, and I was forced to embrace healthier leisurely endeavors.  Since texture is the only limiting factor this month, I have been allowed to go back to my old ways.  The only difference is that instead of shoveling in traditional ice cream, it’s been Soy Dream ice cream and frozen yogurt.  My body refuses to continue on like this, and my brain wishes to surrender from this roller coaster as well.  Six months ago, I gave up dairy.  I’m ready for the next drastic measure to improve my health.

Additional source:

http://www.nutritional-healing.com.au/content/articles-content.php?heading=Dopamine%20deficiency

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One Response to “To Boldly Go Where No Baker Has Gone Before”

  1. DAD June 19, 2012 at 12:35 pm #

    Wow….that’s all I can say….wow. You have always said you need to try things or eliminate things to identify what might be affecting you. I would guess you are doing exactly what you would do to help a client. I’m impressed. Got get em!

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