(Note from author: Today’s article the first in a 3-part series on sugar addiction, what it is, how it impacts our lives and how to address it with the Savior’s loving help and a change in lifestyle.)
Dear lifetime friends visited us recently from Utah. Over the last year the two of them have slowly lost 76 with healthy life-style changes in diet and exercise. They’re about halfway to their goal. The wife was shocked to see that when her suitcase was weighed at the airport it weighed 36 pounds — exactly the amount of weight she has lost. She could barely lift that suitcase and marveled again and again. “No wonder I’m feeling better, but that explains why I’ve been so tired and achy at night for so long! I’m down one suitcase, but I’m still dragging around another one on my body and I’m going to get rid of it!”
Needless to say, they are working hard to change many habits and succeeding.
One evening, while we were all visiting with other friends from our long ago days in a Washington, D.C. singles ward, a large bag of M&Ms was brought out for a treat. When our out-of-towners quietly didn’t have any, our hostess, who also struggles with weight management, lowered her voice and said in a knowing, compassionate voice “Trying to quit?” The way she said it made me think of it as cigarettes or alcohol. I myself wanted more than just one or two of these tiny candies, and was distressed with how they had captured my attention.
My heart recognized a truth that most of us do our best to ignore: many of us are hooked on sugar. Intellectually we know that it is not good for us and we laugh about being “choc-a-holics.” Yet we privately obsess and reach for it morning, noon and night, both alone and when with others. We wonder how we will ever be free of needing way too much of it, and way too often.
Statistically it’s documented as well for the United States:
In 1700, the average person consumed about 4 pounds of sugar per year.
In 1800, the average person consumed about 18 pounds of sugar per year.
In 1900, individual consumption had risen to 90 pounds of sugar per year.
In 2009, more than 50 percent of all Americans consume one-half pound of sugar PER DAY-translating to a whopping 180 pounds of sugar per year! (See sources below)
Can Sugar Be An Addiction?
But does a compulsion for eating sugar make it an addiction?
“The term “addiction” is used to describe an individual who has physical dependence on a substance or on an activity. Real addiction is considered a disease. If you have a honest-to-goodness addiction then you’ll be able to build up a tolerance to the item, and when you try to stop you’ll experience withdrawal symptoms. There is also a strong emotional and lifestyle component to addiction. Addictions often result in a disruption of normal life activities – the addict’s work or home life may suffer and the user often experiences relationship problems.
If you look at sugar, you can clearly see the emotional problems involved, but whether it creates an actual physical dependence is up for debate. Many researchers believe that the withdrawal feelings someone experiences when they don’t eat as much as normal are more emotion and habit based than actually physically based.” (See sources below)
One woman contradicts: “Since I was really young I have not been able to go more than an hour without sugar. I go through withdrawal. I get the shakes, i get the sweats, and I have horrible mood swings and headaches. As I write this, I have a migraine so bad and I know it’s because I haven’t had any sugar in the last 2 hours. I don’t know how I can give up sugar when it causes me this much pain to even attempt. However, I know I will have to soon. The effects of sugar addition runs in my family — diabetes on both my parents’ sides of the family. We are all prone to heart attack, bad blood pressure, arthritis etc. In addition, I am not morbidly obese but I would be a ton skinner if I cut out my sugar intake.
A Sugar Test
What about you? Here’s a little test to see if you are dependent on sugar:
Do you often use sugar as a reward for something or feel that you deserve it in some way? Was sugar the treat you gave yourself after you completed a task or a job well done?
Do you often use sugar to change your mood, like when you felt sad, tired, or when you needed a lift?
Do you often eat sugar when you aren’t hungry? You just finished a meal and are very full, but still you order dessert or go to the fridge and pull out the ice cream.
Do you often try to stop eating sugar and find you can’t? You tried a diet like Atkins or South beach, but felt endlessly drawn by sugar and foods that act like sugar and couldn’t stick to the diet.
Do you often take a bite of something sweet and feel compelled to finish the whole thing? You thought you were just going to have a bit of something, but then you at the whole thing. Sugar foods count here too: have you ever started to eat a bag full of potato or corn chips and finished the whole bag?
Have you ever quit eating sugar and when you started eating it again, couldn’t stop binging? When you took sugar out of your diet and then returned to it, did you binge on sugar and sugar foods?
Do you often eat sugar or sweet foods while alone or late at night? Have you ever hidden sugary foods, eaten them quickly, or gotten rid of the evidence from indulging so that no one will know?
Signs Of Addiction
The signs of addiction are typically:
Using the addiction for a reward
Using a substance to change a mood
Feeling compelled to consume the addiction even though you don’t need it
Binging, especially when the addicted substance is removed for a while
Sugar has all characteristics of an addiction and the scientific community is just beginning to wake up to that fact.
But before you dismiss the addiction as just as a funny thing we all do, you need to realize that sugar addiction ultimately means harm to your body. Sugar consumption is associated with increased weight and obesity, diabetes, heart disease and potentially many other diseases.” (See sources below)
“I know,” I hear you saying as you read this. “Tell me something new.”
What if I told you that others have overcome sugar dependencies, and you can too?! And provided some questions to help you determine and better your readiness?
In next week’s article we’ll chat with a very special couple who are returned missionaries and Stake leaders of the LDS Addiction Recovery Program meetings in their area. I’ll share the stories of people who have kicked sugar for good, and how they’ve done it.
What You Can Do
In the meantime, you can
1) Detox with a new recipe! Scroll down to the bottom of the article or CLICK HERE to download five delicious detox recipes
2) Memorize this beautiful scripture and quote it to yourself instead of reaching for sugar:
“And now I would that ye should be humble, and be submissive and gentle; easy to be entreated; full of patience and long-suffering; being temperate in all things; being diligent in keeping the commandments of God at all times; asking for whatsoever things ye stand in need, both spiritual and temporal; always returning thanks unto God for whatsoever things ye do receive.” (Alma 7:23)
3) Click HERE to hum the beautiful melody of “If The Savior Stood Beside Me” substituting the words “eat the foods I eat” instead of “do the things I do.” It’s especially helpful to picture the Savior with you and his desire for your health, happiness, well-being and self mastery:
You can also CLICK HERE to check out an excellent and very quick all-natural detox product that is loved by many Meridian readers for how it helps with cravings and feeling better. Drinking this in the mid- afternoon will quickly address sugar cravings and start the cleansing process:
With all the information, however, the sweetest thing of all is to know that the Savior lives and loves us every day, no matter what point we are at with caring for our bodies. Stay Tuned for my next article!
Carolyn Allen is the Author of 60 Seconds to Weight Loss Success – One Minute Inspirations to Change Your Thinking, Your Weight and Your Life, available at her website.
She has been providing mental and spiritual approaches for weight loss success both online and in the Washington, DC community since 1999 presenting for Weight Watchers, First Class, Fairfax County Adult Education and other community groups.
She and her husband Bob are the parents of five children and grandparents of eight. They live in the Washington D.C. area where they are delighted to serve each week as the nursery leaders. Learn more about them and the herbal detox product they share at Meridian HERE.
FIVE DETOX RECIPES:
Recipe 1:Alkalizing Raw Soup
This is definitely a highly energizing soup and is a big favorite while on a cleanse or detox. Contains avocado which is high in healthy fats and cucumber which is well known for its cleansing properties. The taste of this soup can be dramatically altered by the use of the herbs and spices mentioned or by alternating between lemon and lime.
2 spring onions
1/2 red or green pepper
2 handfuls of spinach
1/2 clove of garlic(or 1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1 /2 to 1 cup of light vegetable Bouillon (yeast free)
Juice of 1 lemon or lime
Optional: coriander, parsley, cumin.
Blend the avocado and stock to form a light paste, then add the other ingredients and blend.
Recipe 2: Vegetable Super Juice
This juice is a popular one for breakfast as it gives your energy levels a boost, wakens your digestive system whilst giving your body a nutrition, yet gentle start to the day. 250ml mixed with 250ml of distilled water is usually enough to keep me going until lunchtime. If you are keen to get ‘5-a-Day’ this is a pretty good start!
1 whole cucumber
4 sticks of celery
2-4 handfuls of spinach
8 lettuce leaves
Any other greens!
Optional boosters: parsley and fresh alfalfa sprouts
Juice all ingredients and mix 50/50 with distilled water. Add optional lemon juice to taste and Prime pH to boost the alkalinity of the juice.
Recipe 3: Healing Detox Juice
A sweeter, more subtle juice which still packs a nutritional punch! The combination of the carrots, spinach and parsley provides an excellent source of antioxidants, while the celery lends its cleansing properties.
2 Handfuls Fresh Spinach
Handful of Flat Leaf Parsley
2-3 Sticks of Celery
Juice all ingredients (putting celery through last). Mix with water to taste or drink neat (your preference).
Recipe 4: Warm Broccoli Soup
This is definitely a winter favorite and destroys the myth that all raw food has to be cold and unwelcoming! By steaming the broccoli for just 5-6 minutes, the meal remains raw, but gains enough warmth to give that filling, comforting feeling of soup.
The texture given by the broccoli and the kick of the ginger make this an excellent choice for those new to alkalising.
6 -8 Decent size Broccoli Heads
1/3 Red Onion
1 Celery Stick
Big Handful of Spinach
An Inch of Root Ginger
Lightly steam the broccoli (5-6 minutes) and put with all ingredients in a blender. Add garlic, pepper, Mrs. Dash to taste. The heat from the broccoli makes this a lovely, gently warmed soup great for winter.
Recipe 5: Autumn Tomato & Avocado Alkalizing Soup
This is a nice soup to have either cold (a bit like gazpacho) or warmed (on a slightly chilly morning or evening)
5 large ripe (preferably vine) tomatoes.
1 ripe avocado
1 spring onion
1/4 cup ground almonds (freshly done yourself, not packet)
1 cup broth from Vegetable, Chicken or Beef Bouillon
1/4 teaspoon dill seed
Dash cayenne pepper
Sea salt & cracked black pepper to taste
All you need to do is place all of the ingredients into a blended (except one of the tomatoes) and blend! Depending on whether you are going cold or warm – then place the soup into a pan and warm very slightly. Warming so that it is not painful to put your finger into still means that the soup is raw. Add the last tomato (sliced) on top and serve!