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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

21 Days Sugar-free

I have known for a long time that granulated sugar is poisonous in the body.  I have also known that I should stop using it, but, even though I've abstained from sugar for years at a time before, I haven't been able to do so completely and forever.  And for the last year and four months, I've been eating a healthy (and I use that term very loosely) dose daily in the form of cookies, chocolate bars (especially Snickers and Turtles), Hagen Das ice cream and Starbucks vanilla lattes.  I mean, dark chocolate is good for me.  Right?  It has all those antioxidants and acts like morphine in the blood stream.  Ahhh! The point. 

Yes, I'm addicted.  For thirty plus years, I have abstained from alcohol and other pharmaceutical mind altering drugs.  Well, I did use anti-depressants for a couple of years, a few years ago until I gained twenty pounds and felt more depressed than ever.  How is that helpful?  Create a drug designed to alleviate depression but make the drug deaden your ability to have orgasm, give you insomnia and anxiety, and make you gain weight not to mention that you might kill yourself because now you are not only depressed but suicidal. 

Anyway, I also eat a gluten-free diet and avoid dairy.  There are very good reasons for those choices but that is a topic for another day.  What I mean to say is that I have precious few feel-good, "take-me-away-Calgon" food choices left if I don't eat sugar.  Well, there's still caffeine.  Right?  Wrong.

Caffeine and I itch and zing.  Plus the dirty bastard picks me up like a roller coaster and drops me like a rock.  So does sugar.  So what?  Every addict knows that's the whole point.  UP!  No matter how far down you have to go afterward, UP! or mellow, not feeling what you WERE feeling is what matters.

So for thirty years at least, I've known that I use sugar and caffeine as a substitute for alcohol.  There's no shame in that.  In fact, some wise individuals helped me learn how to use them as substitutes when I decided not to drink again.  It worked along with lots of other interventions.

"Why quit doing what works now," you ask.  Apparently, I'm being called through my body to a higher plane of existence.  Do I go there voluntarily?  No.  I go there because what I was doing doesn't work anymore.  Period.  Despite five years of medically unexplainable debilitating fatigue (Oh! Sure. Docs have wrapped a name around it but can't find the root of it), despite unwanted weight gain and clear signs of allergic reaction (especially coughing) to the use of the two drugs together (sugar & caffeine), despite profound manic-like spikes and dips in energy, despite a bought with cancer and the knowledge I have that cancer feeds on sugar, I have been determined not to give up one more blessed thing until I have to do so.  Did I mention I quit smoking too?  You see how I might be resistant to letting go of these two VERY DEAR substances.

But, now I have to.  Turns out I've had a low grade bacterial (and viral, but I knew about that one) infection for who knows how long.  Bacteria and viruses feed on sugar.  Coffee and sugar acidify the system.  Foreign organisms thrive in an acidic environment.  (Read Alkalize or Die: Superior Health Through Proper Alkaline-Acid Balance).  On top of that, I'd begun to be less and less able to breathe deeply (or even at all sometimes) without coughing and noticed that the "coughing fits" almost always followed (drum roll...) my morning, afternoon, and evening cups of straight-up, leaded, espresso-like coffee.  Yes, I made the brew stronger and stronger with each passing week, buying special whole beans, grinding them fresh every morning to get the most flavor and, let's face it, kick!

Why quit 21 days ago?  What's so life-changing about March 24, 2011?  That's the day I had to begin a cycle of two, count them, two antibiotics to kill the bacteria I was so successfully growing.  Not okay. 

So I quit.  Cold turkey on the sugar (still eating high glycemic index foods but not granulated sugar or honey, so give me a break!) and have weaned down to quarter-caff coffee twice a day.  Whew!  What a ride. 

I'm pissed off in a flash at every indiscretion.  It happened yesterday on the phone with a customer service representative from an organization I'd joined who refused to refund my money.  I never do that.  I'm the passive one in the back (mostly, unless I'm not and I'm in your face).  My point is, my passion has surfaced and I can't think of a way to ameliorate it's whims.  And maybe I shouldn't.  Maybe all that fatigue was really me trying to hold ALL THAT back.  And there's a lot.  I mean I'm the locomotive off its tracks in my recent dream.  I'm the gargantuan, red elephant in another charging. 

What am I going to do with all this energy, drive, and ambition that I've been drugging for so long? 

Watch out, Baby.  Here I come!


  1. I can see clearly now, the rain is is the rainbow I've been praying's gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright) sun-shiny day!

    At least singing uplifting song lyrics raises vibrations when nothing else can!

    I applaud you for what you are doing. I am wondering about voice and passion, how it seems to go hand in hand. Many more women I know are becoming more passionate and vocal. It is invigorating for me to hear and experience that. So if giving up sugar does that, I applaud those wonderful parts of you, girlfriend!

  2. Thank you, Tina! A comment on one of my posts by someone who isn't related to me. Wow! So interesting the lyrics you chose for me. In 1983, after 30 days of in-house treatment for a nervous breakdown (this happened after I was sober 1 year and my husband left me), these are the lyrics the counselors played. Hmmmmm...

  3. Congratulations on your success! I too battle sugar addiction, so I know the highs and lows. It's definitely a mood-altering substance. Good luck with the rest of your journey! (and I look forward to Playing Big with you)

  4. Kate: Thanks for reading and for your comment. Have passed the thirty day mark and am feeling much better. Have completely eliminated caffeine (three or four days now) without suffering horrific headaches (it's called W.E.A.N.I.N.G!). Just signing up for and cyber-meeting some of the fabulous women there has given me the push to do some serious writing. Wrote ten pages in my new novel today! Here we go!


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