I really wanted to post a recipe today, but I just don’t have anything! I made an apple cake yesterday, but it was a little too sweet for the new no-sugar me, so I decided to do a recipe-less post as an outlet for my musings on sugar.
I used to have the biggest sweet tooth — ice cream, candy, cookies, cakes, gum, mints (it’s pretty hard to avoid sugar in today’s world — it’s everywhere!). I’d even go so far as to eat multiple sugar packets with my best friend when we were 11 — sneaking in the restaurant bathroom with them, lining up the packets, ripping the paper off at the top, and pouring it all in our mouths. Disgusting, huh? This story goes to show, though, that sugar is a drug.
My point? Thinking back on my (short) life so far, I can think of two major health issues I’ve suffered from since I can remember — crippling headaches and fatigue.
While doing a sugar-free cleanse led by jae steele (one of my favorite cookbook authors), I started noticing the sugar in my life, most importantly the amount of it. I also noticed the effect that sugar had on me once I started incorporating it back into my life after the cleanse — when I have a sweet dessert, the sugar rushes to my head and I feel similar to when I’m caffeinated (another stimulant my body can’t handle — a post for another day). The day after I have that chocolate mousse I couldn’t resist, a headache creeps up on me and lasts for several hours.
I’ve always avoided caffeine for this reason. It makes me loopy and the following day or so, I suffer from painful headaches and my sleep cycle becomes out of whack — I sleep through my alarm, I find I need more sleep than normal, and I have a hard time getting to bed. So why do I let sugar reak this havoc on my system while I dutifully turn my head from coffee (something I also enjoy the taste of)?
The horrors of sugar only recently became apparent to me after the sugar-free cleanse I did in the beginning of spring of this year. As someone who loves to bake, this adjustment to a (more) sugar-free lifestyle has not been easy. It’s also tricky when there’s so much conflicting information out there on the best forms of sugar alternatives. Is agave really low-glycemic? Is it really raw (when it’s labeled raw)? Would using a homemade date syrup be lower-glycemic than agave nectar and maple syrup? Is evaporated cane juice and/or sucanat really that much healthier than using sugar? And don’t get me started on flours! It’s all so confusing to me. I’ve recently put on hold at my library Breaking the Food Seduction: The Hidden Reasons Behind Food Cravings–And 7 Steps to End Them Naturally by Neal Barnard. I’m excited to read it to see what sort of answers I can find in it when it comes to sugar. I don’t like the thought of being addicted to anything — especially if that thing is causing me headaches and fatigue! On the other hand, I also feel like a dessert is a dessert — it’s supposed to be unhealthy — but maybe I feel this way because I’ve been convinced that this is true, even though that’s really not how it should be. What we put in our bodies shouldn’t cause us pain. I’ll share what I find after I start reading the book!
What do y’all think about sugar? Do you avoid it? Have a favorite alternative? Not notice sugar/its effects on you at all? I’m hyper-sensitive, especially when it comes to stimulants like caffeine and sugar, so maybe you see this post as an overreaction. I’m genuinely curious about how you feel about sugar, so please share!