Fellow heroes, we all have our kryptonite, mine is sugar. Sweet, sweet sugar.
It’s fugg’n awful. Seriously, why is it so hard to quit the stuff? It can’t be that bad … can it?
It’s just an extract from a natural plant, right? It comes from nature … so it’s a real food … isn’t it? Don’t we need sugar for energy?
Am I about to hate on sugar? …. Yes, yes I am.
But, I don’t force folks to trust what I say, because I’m not an expert. We’re in the age of Google-know-how, so look this up: “Sugar is more addictive than cocaine”.
I heard this from my go-to nutrition source, Sean Croxton’s Underground Wellness podcast. Formerly the #1 health podcast on iTunes, his guests know their shtuff. Anyhow, check out episode #’s 16, 34 and 159 with Julia Ross. She really explains the entire process and why your brain is self-medicating with sugar as an “upper” for what your body is lacking. These episodes also helped me understand why so many vegans often have such a massive sweet tooth.
… what, you don’t have the 3 hours to listen to all the episodes? Fine, here’s the basics. Sugar is a quick way to get a boost of serotonin, a chemical released in the body that makes you feel good. A lack of this chemical can lead to depression. So, eat sugar, get a happy-boost, come down, get a little sad, eat more sugar to get another boost, come down again, get even sadder, eat even more sugar … etc. Here’s a cycle graphic …
Why’s this happening? Well, you could be depleting your serotonin levels due to a crappy diet of mostly sugar. One way to boost serotonin levels is diet! “Foods that have higher levels of tryptophan than others could be linked to improved mood and cognition, possibly due to increased serotonin levels.” There’s that vegan connection, not many vegan foods can get you good levels of tryptophan. But thankfully, there are supplements for that, namely 5HTP and L-tryptophan!
And after your addicted brain counter-reasons with “So? It’s sweet and it makes me feel good! Why is that so bad for me?” (that’s what an addict’s brain does … mine did). Type in your search engine: “sugar feeds cancer” or “does sugar cause cancer?”.
Oh you lazy, lazy person. Fine, here’s what might come up: Studies show, cancer cells feed on sugar. Does it cause cancer? I forget and I’m also not a scientist-guy. But hey, it’s fugg’n Cancer! Look … I’m an artist. Artists observe a lot. My observations are thus: When I was a kid in the 80’s, cancer was a rare thing you heard about in movies and TV. It was mysterious. Now, I know nearly five people in my immediate connections who have been diagnosed with various forms of cancer. I can also observe there are more sugary foods in our world than ever before. So 2+2= math and I’m not going there and I’m making you read too much.
Even if sugar does not actually cause actual cancer, it does cause inflammation. That’s bad. Look up … nevermind, you’ve read this far, you’re obviously not looking up anything. Inflammation leads to disease. Another artistic observation, folks look bloated these days. Look at older folks today vs. older folks from 20 – 30 years ago. They look inflated. This is my observation and I think it’s due to sugar-filled diets leading to inflammation.
So now you might be all “but Vec, not all my diet has sugar in it!” Well, consider William Davis’ findings in his book “Wheat Belly”, where he reminds us about the, (big term here) “glycemic index” in bread. I’m not busting out numbers and charts, but there’s SUGAR IN BREAD, folks … a lot of sugar.
So there’s hella sugar everywhere, but don’t get depressed about it, you might try and reach for a certain candy bar to stop feeling like Eeyore and the cycle starts all over. I didn’t even touch the whole High Fructose Corn Syrup thing, but trust me, it’s like Sugarzilla.
Anyhow, let’s try a few things:
Go Paleo. Paleo means eat like a dude from caveman days who was unable to process wheat, etc. or as Sean Croxton puts it “Just Eat Real Food” or “JERF”.
Go for natural sources of sweetness. Sugar may be “natural”, but it’s like … concentrated to a degree you can’t find hanging on a tree in its raw form. Fruits have this great stuff called fiber in them and the fiber helps slow down the process of sugar absorption.
Adjust habits. If you know you’re gonna want a sweet treat after that cup of coffee. Then maybe try tea instead.
Be prepared. Can’t you hear Scar from Lion King? I do. Anyhow, have a plan. If you know you want to cut sugar from your diet, then pack a bag of sweet alternatives like your fruits or carrots, whatever in a handy go-bag for your day! Also have an “if this, then” plan. Meaning if you screw up, then you take it in stride and you’ll do better next time. Or, if I see that brownie, I’ll eat one of my fruits! Sounds simple … but it is. Have a plan.
“It’s dangerous to go alone!” Get a buddy to help you! Kick the sweet habit as a team! We’re heroes! So form an alliance and get the support you need. Thankfully, you won’t get “the shakes” or anything like that, but you will get moody and irritable and will probably want an extra ear to listen to the struggle. It helps if they’re just as bitchy as you are, because they’re trying to quit too.
It’s not easy, folks. We’re talking about a food that’s acting like the staff Loki had in Avengers. That’s how sugar controls you, man. I gotta bust out the hero references to make my points, but yeah … it’s bad. And I’m right here fighting it with you!