Just recently, my diet began to swing back towards less animal foods and more plant foods. After a couple of years of feeling like I could not get enough animal protein and fat in my diet, I am noticing that I no longer have much of a taste for it, and my body is able to digest certain plant proteins that, for a while, gave me bloating, gas and indigestion. I’m not going to lie–this shift in my body’s food preferences is making my mind very happy! I love the idea of not feeling that I need to eat the flesh of other living beings in order to feel good physically. Some people have reported that eating meat makes them feel aggressive or otherwise “yang”, and I never found that to be true. However, after being a vegetarian for the first 20 years of my life, I am much more comfortable with the idea that I can feel good without having to eat animals. This was definitely NOT the case last year, and having seen my body go through these changes makes me much more understanding of all the different diets people choose in order to feel better. I find that the following animal foods still continue to feel important to my healthy diet: ghee, raw milk or kefir, eggs, occasional grass-fed/pastured meat and some fish. Otherwise, I eat a LOT of vegetables, some fruit, and have been playing around with sprouted beans, nuts and seeds. The adventures in eating continue…
Along with slowly phasing out some animal products from my diet, I have ditched the sugar (again). I recently shared with a friend about my realization that sugar really does not belong in my diet, and when I eat it, it wreaks havoc in all areas of my life. I said to him, I’ve really gotten clear that I’m a sugar addict. He laughed and said, wait, I think I’m having a deja vu. I feel like I have heard you say that many times before. Oh geez, I thought. This time it’s different, I said, because now people are admitting it’s really a thing. Now there is proof that sugar is something like seven times as addictive as heroin, and that it can cause depression, etc. Wait, he said, what about Sugar Blues (a great book by William Duffy that was written in the 70s, and that my friend and I read almost 10 years ago)? Yes, I said, that was a great book, but no one really paid attention. The country seems to have been too caught up in the low-fat craze. Anyway, now that sugar addiction is recognized as a “thing”, I seem to be able to take myself more seriously, and commit to the sugar-free diet I have known I needed for so long.
For so many years I have known that sugar didn’t really work for me, but I also tried to talk myself out of that truth. The fact is, though, that when I eat ANY added sugar, I just can’t stop. Also, it makes me depressed, it gives me pimples, it messes up my blood sugar and insulin levels, I get a stuffy nose, I have no energy, and the inflammation in my body increases so I end up feeling achy all over. So now I don’t eat it. And I feel SO MUCH BETTER. And I don’t feel deprived. Which may be hard to believe but it is actually true. When I don’t eat sugar, after a few days to a few weeks, I honestly don’t miss it. I have been blessed with the love of vegetables, and these days we’re back in the honeymoon stage. I will occasionally miss the emotional state I have linked to eating foods with sugar in them, and then I get to do a little brainstorming about how else I can create that feeling of comfort or sweetness I crave.
The thing about sugar, though, is that it’s everywhere. Sweetness is a part of life. And my choice not to eat sugar is not a static one. And I’m learning to be ok with that. I can see that it is probably going to be an area of life-long exploration and growth for me. Right now I’m still experimenting with how far I need to take it. Can I have a little honey in my tea without it kicking off my sugar cravings? Can I have an occasional dash of maple syrup in my kefir or will it send me on a day-long search for sugar? Does it work for me to have a few dried apricots, or will I sit down with them and eat the whole container? Most days it is an inquiry that I feel grateful for. I am thankful that I am willing to be honest with myself, and to search out and give myself the support I need to make these changes.
Some of my favorite resources for support around kicking sugar addiction and finding freedom from compulsive or emotional eating can be found HERE.