Confessions of a former addict who still struggles…
Truth be told, it was MY obsession for so many years. Kept a bag in the side pocket of my Mazda so my daughters wouldn’t see my stash. (Once they became drivers, I was in trouble… in more ways than one!) Crazy how addicted I was. Crazy how one little taste can plunge me back into the danger zone of happy highs. Friend… my poison is white and dazzling! You could even be under the spell too. Anyone struggling with SUGAR, like me? My secret stash… JellyBellies.
In fact, confession is good for the soul, and I am confessing that Starbucks did a number on me last week! (Are you detecting this victim mentality?) They had this unbelievable deal of half price frappuccinos at exactly the time I was leaving school. (Middle school teaching rocks! And uh dehydrates?). Sinister special price gig. My gal, Tessa, and I were sucked into the vortex, which ended with sucking on straws. We did not put up a fair fight. We had THREE frappucinos over 5 days! (And she doesn’t know about the TWO others I enjoyed with my man. So much guilt…) Oh such blissful beverages… with oh such budget and body bruising. One would have been acceptable… FIVE? Pray for me.
I really don’t think I will ever be a tee-totall-er in regards to sugar, but I am convinced that the dangers are astronomical! Honey usually satisfies my sweet cravings… and I will just say that the Lord promised a land of honey to the Israelites so we know it is approved! For most of my days, I try to use it in moderation… not daily. Just for those treats. LOVE IT!
And I do buy organic, raw sugar as well as stevia and coconut sugar and maple syrup. All of these are better choices for baking and flavoring. I do not plan to eradicate all sweeteners from my world. Who doesn’t LOVE fresh, ripe organically grown fruits? We can be confident that they are treats from our Maker for the good of the body! (I do like to eat fruits on an empty stomach though. Much better for the digestion!) We are indeed designed to enjoy sweet tastes! In fact, let me share a little reminder about taste buds…
We all have these remarkable buds embedded in our tongues and other far reaches of our mouths. All of our taste sensations are quite complex. Researchers know that our sense of smell is remarkably connected to our ability to appreciate flavor. Yet, the taste bud is actually connected to microscopic neurons which send electrical impulses to the brain resulting in all of the countless flavor sensations. (“Oh taste and see that the Lord is good.” Indeed!) We are all familiar with the basic four tastes: sweet, sour, salty, and bitter. But, did you know that research has now indicated that we are all equipped with one – maybe two – more categories?
Actually we have the ability to detect the salts from glutamic acid which has been labeled as the “savory” taste. This information explains why the addition of the very dangerous neurotoxin, monosodium glutamate, has become such an addictive flavor enhancer. Naturally occurring, and healthful glutamic acid is found in broths (another big hoot for bone broths), cheeses, and kimchi, for example. And finally, French researchers are pushing for the inclusion of taste bud detectors of “fat” as the sixth taste sensation basic to all humans. (Love the French for modeling true love for raw cream and real butter!) So there we have it… sweet, salty, sour, bitter, savory, and possibly even fat.
And we all know the favorite… Actually that “sweet tooth” morphs into “sweet jaws of death” when our desires and cravings run un-tamed. (Think, half-price-frapp-week.)
Have you noticed the lure of everything sugar-coated? No surprise that we are wildly addicted to the stuff. In the world of taming the taste-buds, we have many casualties of war! Serious casualties! Truth is, we are designed to enjoy the sweet things in life! BUT, we have given over these natural longings for sweets to the hands of processed, ultra-refined and totally nutrient deficient white sugar found in 5 pound bags at every grocery in America. AND, the list of ingredients on our processed foods usually includes an even more toxic form of sweetness… our enemy. High fructose corn syrup (HFCS).
Consider high fructose corn syrup. WHAT IS THE STUFF? Well, we know it must come from corn. Corn is genetically modified in our country and sprayed with dangerous pesticides. The downhill slope just dropped off into oblivion!
With a little research, I learned some shocking details. HFCS is THE prevalent sort of sweetener used in the cheapest of foods, because the product is less expensive to produce than ole table sugar. And Americans consume 150 pounds of sugar per person… every year… with 70 pounds of that scary tonnage as HFCS!
This stuff is a chemically altered sweetener derived from separating the glucose from the fructose in the corn product. This stuff is actually the fructose component, and this goo goes straight to the human liver. The struggling liver processes the HFCS, but at great cost. Studies now prove that the grotesquely large consumption of HFCS will result in a fatty liver! The grave concern for 90 million Americans! And a fatty liver is THE precursor of elevated insulin levels in the body. Elevated insulin levels are present in all of our most dreaded conditions. Heart disease. Cancer. Dementia. Diabetes. Arthritis. Osteoporosis. Early aging of the body! Seems like a whole bunch of related factors, don’t you think?
Any good news for us? Well, of course! We have the POWER to stop this onslaught! We have the authority to rush into the pantry and search feverishly for ANY item with high-fructose-corn-syrup on the label. Purge, Friend! Throw it all away! And make a clear commitment in front of your mirror, and in front of your kiddos to KEEP these products out of your house! Our livers are so worth it! What we will encounter out there in the real world is not always completely under our control… wedding receptions, dinner invitations, church suppers, banquets… BUT we do have complete control over our own kitchens!
Any more bad news? Uh. Sorry. My dear attraction for Starbucks is not just MY attraction. The thought-provoking announcement last week named the top 5 stores most visited in our country today. Are you ready for this? The awards for most visited establishments in our culture…
Look really close at that list. Look really, really close at the obvious, glaring relationships. Where we buy our groceries, where we buy our food, where we buy our drinks, and where we run for our prescriptions.
Folks. We. Need. Help.
And that includes me. A little annoying thought pushed me to check out the awesome flavoring syrups used by my cherished Starbucks. You don’t even want to know the top ingredients for caramel, vanilla, mocha, butterscotch, white chocolate,…
When I (again) begin to truly push away from the white poison, my body truly ramps up the cravings for a short while. Coconut oil and kefir seem to help me through the bumpy ride. For more on the coconut oil help, please click here. I can NOT honestly say that sugar has no part in my diet, but I do know that every reduction of the stuff is well worth the extra discipline.
One last note today… Those dazzling white grains might simply be just a diversion from the TRUE TREASURE, which by the way, are ALSO DAZZLING WHITE GRAINS! KEFIR GRAINS! Ha! You knew I would get back around to that, didn’t you? Here we have the best example of a healing food! As we take more of the bad stuff out of the diet, let’s rush to replace the void with something wildly better! A friend to all! Click here for more thoughts!
If you have time, please watch this great little video by Dr. Mark Hyman on this very topic of sweeteners. Click and Learn!
Another interesting video from the TED talks network targets the problem of sugar in the diets of our children. Check out this link to view!
How are you managing the struggle? Any tips are always much appreciated! Please share your insights in the comments section. For me, I will be speeding on by the Starbucks drive-thru. Waawaaa. Maybe I better find a new route home until I regain some sense of control. Save the liver and all, you know.