Archive | February, 2013

“Why can’t we not be sober?”

10 Feb

[It’s kind of weird/spooky that my 66th post is titled with a Tool lyric.]

How’s the sugar-restricted lifestyle going?

Well…it isn’t…

I feel so guilty admitting this, but honestly, I’ve been doing a piss-poor job of reigning in my sugar consumption even though I made an alliance.  I hope my ally doesn’t take this personally!  I’ve been known to suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), and this year has been particularly bad.  I’m constantly having quarter life crises (pity parties) over the fact that life is so UNFAIR and often very BORING.  I’ve been a negative Nancy cranky McCrank pants for the past 2 months (but have apologized to Derek at least).  When I was younger, I turned to naughtier sources of mind alteration to help me through these horrific brain spells.  However, now that I am a “grown-up”, I have simply joined the adult masses in self-medicating  with coffee, dark chocolate (all hail the mighty theobromine!), sugar, and the (very) occasional drink.

In general, I only drink coffee on the weekends.  I usually have just 1 or 2 cups, but sometimes that’s enough to make me feel like an insane person.  I seem to be overly sensitive to caffeine (and most things, so I guess this makes sense…).  In any case,  I find myself enjoying the highs of eating huge amounts of dark chocolate lately.  This translates into shitty inadequate sleep which means crabby cravings leading to more dark chocolate binges.  Interestingly, my sugar obsession has been somewhat deterred by my new found obsession with dark chocolate.  I find that milk chocolate just doesn’t hit the spot anymore.  After I eat it, I have immediate indigestion & dissatisfaction.  Where the hell is the all the cocoa in this garbage?  BUT since I am eating SO MUCH dark chocolate (generally in the 72-88% range), the sugar is adding up beyond the goal I was aiming for.  Harrumph!

It might be time for a different approach.  I am a black-and-white thinker (such a curse!).  I feel I should just cut out (rather than attempt to limit) coffee, sugar, and chocolate 😦  in an effort to regain control of a healthier psyche.  For some people, restricting foods leads to disordered eating.  I seem to have this problem NO MATTER WHAT I DO.  I can allow myself to eat whatever I want and feel like crap or restrict certain foods and feel physically better but experience intense emotional meltdowns.  How can I handle life without coffee, sugar, or chocolate?!  Okay, I know I’ve done it before.  This time it’s just REALLY hard.

Twenty-Twenty-Twenty-Four Hours to Go…I Wanna Be Sedated!

I guess I’ll just have to rejoin the minority.    Not many people go through their daily lives in a truly sober manner.  I often wonder what would happen if all socially acceptable legal vices were suddenly banned or unavailable.  Imagine a Third World War with sugar rations (something that happened during the Second World War – http://www.learnnc.org/lp/editions/ww2-rationing/5931).  If we woke up tomorrow to a sugar-, cigarette-, tea-, coffee-, alcohol-, chocolate-free existence, there would be mass hysteria!   Well, I suppose Seventh Day Adventists might just have any average day…other than trying to fend off all of the crazed zombies around them. 😉

In summary: I suck at moderation but have occasionally excelled at absolutism, so let’s give this sugar-free thing ANOTHER go.

Also, science to backup my assertions that binging has less to do with willpower & more to do with hijacked brain chemistry makes me feel better.

Evidence: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/61/6/1206.abstract

Sometimes Derek will buy snacks for himself, but once he turns his back most/all of it is down my throat (with the exception of gummy bears – barf!).  Naturally, he gets irritated by this since he’s capable of eating normal amounts of treats, (with the exception of gummy bears) and they were his to begin with.  When I apologize, he often responds with just don’t eat it…

In the words of Louis C.K.: “It’s a whole spiral that begins with a donut, later on I’m killing hookers and I don’t even remember what happened.”

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Sweet Dreams (are made of these) – Who am I to disagree?

2 Feb

http://www.organicnutrition.co.uk/articles/is-sugar-bad-for-you.htm

I tried to say goodbye, but experiments are just too much fun!  (Well, sometimes.  Thickened liquids = dear God, please never again).  My guinea pig dieting endeavors are not over!  Now that I have toyed with a number of therapeutic diets and been doing research like a mad woman, it’s time for me to make some adjustments to my own standard eating habits.

Regarding some of my previous food fixations, I’m quite surprised by the shift in my preferential eating habits.  Before I was obsessed with hummus (remember how I couldn’t SHUT UP about it? ;-)), addicted to peanut butter, & fairly loyal to tomatoes.  Interestingly, I haven’t eaten a whole lot of these foods lately.  During the month of January, I probably had peanut butter once or twice, hummus two or three times, & tomatoes only a handful of times.  I still find all of these foods tasty, but their necessity in my life has been diminished.  Unfortunately, there is one food fixation that just won’t die…

Do I really even have to say it?  You know what it is!  It’s SUGAR (my drug of choice).

Last February, I underwent a modified candida diet.  I say modified, because I was eating mostly vegan at the time.  Typical candida cleanses involve ample amounts of meat, because it’s free of carbohydrate.  While beans contain protein, they are actually quite starchy too.  Anyway, I was avoiding sweet fruits and sugar, and my energy levels were noticeably improved by the end of the month.  I am aiming to give sugar the cold shoulder again this February.  My approach will be different and not so absolute, however.

Remember my FructMal ally?  (If not, check out the April archives).  She and I have decided to take on the sugar demon together.  We are going to be cheerleaders for each other while each attempting to become more mindful and selective toward our added sugar choices.  For example, today I had 1 tsp of sugar in my coffee & 2 pieces of 86% dark chocolate.  My grand sugar total for the day was 1.5 tsp!  Not too shabby if I do say so myself.  After peeking around at various sites, I came up with a daily goal of </=6 tsp (2 Tbsp) of added sugar per day.  I decided to track my consumption during the month of January and planned to aim for half of this amount during February (if it was less than than the 2 Tbsp/day average.  I ended up eating ~3.5 cups (see picture below) which is right on the dot for a reasonable monthly goal.  Since I met that goal without trying (much), my new goal will be </=1.75 cups of sugar for the entire month of February.

I made the jar below to help keep me on track.  Note how my 3 week goal is below the amount most American adults get in a week!  According to a few (probably alarmist but still eye-opening) reports, the Average American adult eats about 22 tsp/day, the average American child eats about 29 tsp/day, and the average American teenager inhales about 34 tsp/day.  The top of the jar lists the weekly amounts that children and teens would get eating these average daily amounts.  Neither quantity would fit in this giant mason jar!  Yikes people!  We’re pouring a bunch of poison into those tiny bodies, because it’s culturally acceptable!  I also added a few other lines  just to see where Derek’s vice (gummy bears) & one of my weaknesses (Ben & Jerry’s chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream) fit in to the equation.  A pint of my favorite ice cream contains 1/2 cup of sugar (24 tsp).  In other words, on a daily basis, average Americans are eating almost (or even more in the case of kids & teens!) the equivalent amount of sugar found in a pint of ice cream.  How far we’ve come! ( in a bad way). In 1822, the average WEEKLY consumption of sugar was just 5 Tbsp.

For those who are curious: 

1 tsp sugar = 4 grams of sugar

3 tsp = 1 Tbsp

8 Tbsp = 1/2 cup

January Sugar Jar:

January Sugar Consumption Jar

Recently, I have been thinking more about the logistics of classifying sugar as a drug.  While alcohol can become deadly quite fast, sugar generally takes awhile to really take its toll.  However, the similarities concerning their harsh bodily effects are unsettling.  Both offer empty calories & steal nutrients from your body, but here’s the really scary part: both can cause a fatty liver!  Yes, it’s true folks!  Also, there’s this: http://www.cancer.ucla.edu/index.aspx?recordid=385&page=644

Do you know why I think people don’t take all of this as seriously as they should?  Two reasons: propaganda (it’s legal & they give it to children, so it must be safe, right?!) and the fact that most Americans are so addicted, they will do whatever it takes to keep those guilty associations from their “healthy” granola bars & yogurt cups.  We must stop deluding ourselves!  Sugar feeds cancer cells for cryin’ out loud!

Additional Sources:

http://articles.cnn.com/1999-10-22/health/9910_22_sugar.halloween.wmd_1_sugar-intake-refined-sugar-sweet-foods?_s=PM:HEALTH

http://www.nbcnews.com/id/32543288/ns/health-diet_and_nutrition/t/cut-back-way-back-sugar-says-heart-group/#.UQyPV_I3WuI

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18395287