Sweet, sweet sugar. The essence of every dessert. The delectable treat of every holiday, major and minor life event. It is the sweet comfort of tears and broken hearts too! Yes, sugar is both celebrator and comforter cornerstone ever present.
How then can we even imagine a life without it?
Is it even possible to completely avoid sugar in all the ways it presents in how we eat, celebrate, mourn, cry, and live?
Why We Love Sugar
It is amazing the ways sugar gets incorporated into our foods. From baby food to the well known sodas and desserts, sugar is literally everywhere. It is what makes food taste good and gives us that nice sweetness that is so often sought after.
Real sugar though has become an enemy of health. Since it is used everywhere and in every thing we have become addicted. Our brains are overpowered by this craving for sugar that sometimes seems insatiable. That addictive behavior of sugar can introduce risks to our health and yet at the surface it really is not sugar that causes these problems.
Consumption of too much sugar definitely can have negative health impacts. However, I believe it is the overuse of sugar that has caused what we see today in the over-addiction to sugar and inability to keep a healthy balance of where sugar belongs in our diets. We have created this problem not sugar. Sugar was only the means to the end.
In my opinion, we were meant to have sugar in our diet. It is natural and it is found in fruit, vegetables, and other real foods we were made to eat. Life and food were meant to be sweet and enjoyable! In true man’s ways though we have productionized sugar into this ingredient that changed its form, consistency and purpose. We went 10 miles beyond what was intended and turned it into this over-used, over-made, over-consumed beast none of us can safely find refuge from. We are inundated with sugar in every form.
So no, I don’t think sugar is evil. I do believe we were meant to enjoy sugar in balance with all the other foods available for us in nature. What we know as sugar though is not natural. How we use sugar in our foods is also not natural.
We love it because we are addicted. We have lost the connection of true sweetness in food and find foods without sugar dull and tasteless. We have lost ourselves in the quest of mass produced bags of sugar.
Going Cold Sugar
There are ways to break the cycle of sugar’s hold on us that can be drastic. Sometimes these measures are necessary to give us a leg up on the challenge and other times we can reset another way. Please know that any time we deal with food we are not only addressing physical needs and healing but also emotional and spiritual elements. Food is intertwined with our emotions so physically denying yourself is not going to build up the health we need to overcome sugar’s addiction long term.
Yet sometimes we have to start somewhere and going cold sugar (instead of cold turkey) is certainly a way. It can be harsh, excruciating and challenging to the point we may literally feel we are going to be sick but it can work when done with love.
In natural medicine, the connection between physical and emotional health is key to rebuilding health inside out. Addressing the emotional aspects of a sugar craving are therefore essential to long term success. What I’m proposing here is not ignoring that aspect of natural health care. In fact, I believe emotional work should be done in conjunction with all and any form of physical work being done to stimulate healing in the body.
When you go cold sugar, you are detoxing the body which in turn also detoxes the mind and spirit in the process if you do this correctly. I have found fasting effective as a tool in this work because it uses all of our being to navigate the fast and builds that connection with our entire being. When I have done a fast, I use the 3 day reset process outlined by Plexus. (link: mysite.plexusworldwide.com/dragonspitapothecary)
Each day of the fast I use intentionally to focus on my health in mind, body, spirit. Day 1 is always a mind day because I have to dispel the myth of hunger in my mind. I get to work through all the games my mind plays about what my body actually needs. This sometimes takes longer than 1 day but it is usually sufficient to get my point across to my mind within this time. Awareness heightens at this point and my mind seems to go through all phases of grief, including hangry. In the end though, I feel at peace. The connection between my mind and body is restored and communications are beginning to flow again with honesty and clarity.
On day 2 it is about my body. I focus a great deal about how my body is feeling in this process of a fast and what it needs to stimulate healing. It is amazing what you can feel in this process for what is happening all around your body. How your toes feel to wiggle, what water feels like running down your back. It is like your senses get turned back on and you feel the blood pump back into your veins. What I have found interesting is how much my body speaks. When we get busy going about our day we tend to ignore those signals from the body that says there is a need. How many times have I ignored simple requests like needing to use a restroom because I was in a meeting or on errands. I’ll get to it I say but not as the need arises. This day is about letting all those pent up words my body has to say out. It is a freeing experience that leaves me exhausted and content.
The last day is my spirit day. This is where I build the strength to talk about what’s next, where my heart is calling me and what this experience has taught me. It is where affirmations and woo things come in. I used to think these things were stupid frankly because who has time for them in the first place and do they really even work? When you are connected in mind, body, spirit the answer is yes. When you are emerging from a healing process such as a fast, the answer is definitely yes.
During fasts like this I find myself drawn to meditation. It helps when I’m struggling to understand what is going on or the fast is showing me things that I need to work through. Tough emotions that come up, my bones expressing pain, my mind going in a million directions. Fasts are meant to stimulate healing and meditation can help us process and support that healing.
When it comes to sugar, a fast such as this is effective with creating enough of a break in our diet of sugar to make awareness occur. We feel calmer, more in control of our body and able to make decisions that effectively improve our relationship with things like sugar. Cravings also tend to be lessened at the outcome. This is a great example of how to create the unity necessary within yourself to have the power unlocked to control sugar. It is the only cold sugar approach I recommend to my clients.
Gradual Sugar Step Down
The other method of breaking up with sugar is the gradual approach. The problem with this approach is it can be very easy to slip into diet thinking, where sugar is evil and must be limited. This can lead to further breakdown in the alignment of self preventing a true healing of the situation from occurring.
In using the gradual step down approach it works to let each day flow and unfold without pressure and punishment. You intentionally look at where you are consuming sugar and simple make a decision on if you want it or not. It is easy to say yes you want it which is why we need to first build alignment in our mind, body, spirit to get to the real answer. Sometimes still the answer is yes but it is understood why.
In this approach we encounter a lot of emotional responses triggered through sugar. Many times when we reach for things like cookies and chocolate it is out of emotional pain, frustration and stress. Cravings are often based on these emotions and sugar provides a balm.
Whether you use the cold sugar approach or a gentler step down method, many of us will suffer what is known as the sugar flu. The symptoms can feel just like a regular flu too. It is uncomfortable and not much fun but sometimes a necessary experience to begin the process of healing from sugar.
You may get a sugar flu regardless of approach you take to reduce your sugar intake. That’s because our addiction to sugar reacts differently for each of us as we change those patterns. The good news is it is not long lasting and it gives us increased motivation to not want to experience this again.
How long does it take to break up with sugar?
When it comes to putting a duration on reframing our sugar relationship that is largely dependent on you. It is important to understand that while significant changes to your relationship with sugar are the desired goal you are not aiming to completely eliminate sugar from your diet. For one, it is impossible and secondly, long term your success rate is improved if you set boundaries rather than restrictions.
In general though, most people can rebuild their sugar relationship using moderate approaches that include dietary changes within a couple months. That is not long at all given how quickly sugar can overtake our mind, body and spirit.
Detoxing from sugar is a process. It will be different for each of us because we’ve all had different experiences with sugar to this point. The goal is to reset boundaries with sugar and feel like we are in control for how and where it comes into the picture. In that journey you are going to see where you have fallen for sugar’s lies and work through those storylines to build a new healthy version.
In my workshop, “How to have a Healthy Relationship with Sugar” I talk about the effects of sugar to the mind, body, spirit and give you tips and support for changing your relationship. The beauty of this journey is we not only reset the sugar in our life but we often find we break up with diet mentality too! That leaves us healthier, more confident and able to set a map for our own needs that allows us to move forward in grace and peace with ourselves.
You can access the workshop here: https://www.dragonspitapothecary.com/book-online