Only four days left in this infernal month, but just when you think it’s going to start looking up, there’s February.
Every dang year.
I don't want to talk about it.
Moving along. I’ve now lived 27 days without sugar, including honey and maple syrup. Once I make my mind up— really make it up— to abstain from something, and I have a good starting point (Jan 1!), and I tell a few people, I’m good. (I learned that I am an abstainer and not a moderator from Gretchen Rubin’s completely interesting book, Better Than Before, last year. I’m also an obliger, once I’ve questioned through things on my own and drummed up some accountability.)
Why quit sugar for 27 days and counting?
- From my reading and my own experience, I’m convinced sugar is absolutely no good for me (or for anyone else for that matter, but I’m mainly concerned about the plank in my own eye for right now). It’s no good for my teeth, my sleep, my skin, my mood, my weight, my blood sugar, my healthy cells, my longevity, my everything.
- Sugar is highly addictive and I encounter substantial difficulties in Just Saying No when there are foodstuffs in the house that contain it. I will eat 10 sandwich cookies in one day. I will eat half of a baked oatmeal on my own. I will put down at least half a bar of any dark chocolate below 77% and cause my husband to inquire as to the whereabouts of the chocolate we just bought the day before.
- I don’t want to rely on any substances that aren’t life-giving to make me feel better when I’m upset or to make me happy when I’m bored. I don’t want to be addicted to anything that ultimately harms me and doesn't bring healing; this includes sugar.
- Because I am addicted to sugar, because I believe very solidly that eating sugar is damaging to me on many levels for the long haul, I felt like I should live with integrity and let my actions be dictated by my beliefs, and stop eating the stuff!
What about honey and maple syrup?
- As far as sweeteners go, I’d pick these first, but what has happened in the past when I cut out refined sugars is I just start pouring on the honey or maple syrup, doing myself no favors in the daily sugar intake department. To my body, sugar is sugar, I’m sorry to say, and while honey and maple syrup aren’t devoid of all nutrients and raw honey may possess healing properties, including them in my daily diet for now isn’t going to stop my habit of overdoing it with the sweet stuff.
Is this forever?
- It is for the 31 days of January for sure, though I plan to add liquid stevia to my warm drinks as soon as the FedEx driver can find my house and bring it to me. (He has a terrible time with our address.) I’ve missed my warm drinks a lot this month: they are a comfort, provide a good anchor in my day, and can be a pleasant way to add in some good fats and spices. Unfortunately, tea just tastes like herby warmish water to me if it’s not sweet. (Aside from peppermint, which I’ve been having a lot of lately.) One helpful feature of the liquid stevia is that if you overdo it, it just gets gross, not sweeter, so I’ll utilize that to control myself with the rooibos chai and coconut milk.
- If all goes well (up for grabs at this point) and I ever feel like I could live within some healthy guidelines (ha), I might add in some honey or syrup or concessions for special occasions (Pascha, Christmas day, my birthday, days ending in Y?). But I think I need to learn to be satisfied with 1-2 pieces of daily fruit and my stevia sweetened teas for now.
Sugar Cheater Notes of Full Disclosure: I have had a couple of sourdough pancakes sweetened with maple syrup (I forgot they had the syrup in them), ketchup a couple of times (I somehow restrained myself from drinking it straight from the bottle), and a spoon of honey poured down my throat when I was awake coughing all night.
Bonus! I stopped consuming caffeine this month. I have gone through this cycle many times— caffeine seems to have a cumulative effect in my body. I stop drinking caffeinated tea (coffee has always had way too much caffeine for me, though it seems like it would be such a lovely ritual to share with my husband) and my body seems to reset, then I think some earl grey with cream sounds awfully good, so I buy some and start having a daily cup without repercussions. Then I start having a morning cup and a 3 o’clock cup. And then after a while of that, I start feeling weird— the only way I can describe it is scraped, dry, and thin. Then I have to quit again. I think I’ll just quit for good now. I can live without caffeine—it’s the tea I’m after, and there are plenty of caffeine free options.
Next month: wheat! This is really going to be awful, as Chad is making sourdough again and, well, sourdough and kerry gold are really something to sigh for, not to mention super handy for breakfast with an avocado on top. But I’m brain foggy, I’m puffy, I always suspect lurking thyroid issues, and my left knee hurts. Wheat needs to go. Since February is dreadful anyway, I might as well just get it all over with at once…in torturously slow fashion over 29 long days, that is.
Heaps of love to you as we trundle through the winter.