Okay. Check out it. Everybody’s doing it. What’s the problem? I’ll make you feel good. I’ll make you feel safe. I’ll make anything possible. Come on. Just one hit. You know you want it. You can start again tomorrow. Just enough to get you through this rough patch. This’ll be the last time. What’s the difference? No one has to know. No one has to see. What’s it gonna cost you? I am saving you. I am your only friend. I am–
Addiction. Do we all have at least one? Mine is sugar. It is my cocaine. It is my heroin. Take a hit after a few days off the stuff and I can feel the rush of it coursing through my body. Then as I am chewing my last bite of a sweet treat, flavors mingling, I’m craving and planning my next fix. I’m careful. I’m not a binger. I am the “take daily measured hits until those measurements get larger and larger”-type. Then I have a problem. Then coffee becomes a vehicle for sugar. Then coffee becomes an addiction. Then I keep a hidden stash of cake layers and cupcakes in the freezer. Sugar is especially problematic because I love to bake and cook. But that artistic relationship gets distorted when sugar’s importance get out of whack and priority.
How do I redefine my relationship with sweet food?
Retrain my body. Lower my sugar tolerance. Sounds simple enough, right? Wrong.
A common theme in my short stories is addiction. How do I write about the struggle of reprogramming the brain around addiction if I have never taken that journey? I always stop around 29-30 days. It takes 100 days for the brain to begin the healing process of living without an addiction. Last week, I started that journey. I wanted to give myself a week before mentioning it here because those first seven days of detox can be a bitch. I have put together my protocol based on the best of the different programs I have used in the past. The crux is the “Paleo” diet. I’m sick of that term. It’s faddish, overused. I’ll call it what it is to me: eating high-quality, whole foods (pastured meats, vegetables, some fruit and fats). These foods are my body’s default preference, not because someone told me they should be. No, if left to my own resources at a buffet line, my body says “Fill ‘er up” to these foods and I feel whole and satisfied. If I am present in mind, that is.
I don’t naturally crave breads, pasta, cereals, or grains. Or sugar. They leave me feeling edgy, hungry. But I go to them, nonetheless, because they give that rush, that burst of some forgotten comfort. My goal is 100 days away from these triggers. I need to understand and work through what is behind the psychological “cravings” for these food stuffs. Hence, a food journal and sharing my goal on this blog.
I have done Whole30 and got good “results”. But Whole30 is a short-term, elimination diet “fix”, a tad bit on the Type-A spectrum. As a recovering stress addict, I don’t need Type-A anything. I just need intuition. I just need to shut my damn mouth and let my body (not sugar or outside voices) tell me what it needs. We are built from the stars. There is a rhythm, older than time, that courses through us and, if we listen hard enough, over time it thrums louder and louder until we move with it. It informs our choices and actions. It is the same rhythm that tells me if I don’t STOP NOW and listen to what my body needs I will damage it beyond the help of diet, exercise, sleep or meditation. Another way to put it: I invest fully (not short-term) in a wellness protocol and kicking the sugar habit now or I invest in medications and hospitalization later. Period.
Thanks for sharing, but…
Unlike during my Whole30 experiences, I am investing a considerable amount of time at the end of my cooking week planning in detail the next week’s menu and shopping list. The results? 1) I make beautiful food that keeps me full and satisfied and that my kid is eating (whaaaattt?!). 2) My kitchen time is efficient/focused. 3) I have less food waste at week’s end (huge for me).
In the past, friends have flat out asked me, “Please, just tell me what to cook/eat.” Organization is their obstacle for change. Cooking and organization comes easy for me. I am more than willing to post my menus, reference cookbooks, and my recipe tweaks that make the prep faster and the output tastier or adjust where the cookbook instructions seem off.
Just leave a comment on this post, and it shall be done. Consider it my offering back to the world. An investment in you, gentle reader, that you will pay forward in some way. Ripples….