Aren’t kids something? The things they remember? And the things they don’t? Last summer we helped a dear friend who lives in Washington State get her son situated for his freshman year at Southern Virginia University, about three hours from our home. Their family had visited us ten years previously, when he was just a little boy.

Although we’d seen the truly memorable sites of Washington, D.C., been to an evening sunset concert with the Marine Band at the Capital grounds, swam every day at the pool and even been to a water park, do you know what he remembered? A video game that they’d played for hours called “Jet Moto” and – a box of Lucky Charms. Enjoy today’s message!

Today’s Quote: “All philosophy lies in two words, sustain and abstain.” Epictetus

Apparently we’d had a box or two of Lucky Charms (a rare thing even now at our house) and he felt he hadn’t gotten his share between our five kids and his two brothers. Well, as a friend and cheery hostess with the mostest, I stopped by the grocery store that afternoon to get a box to surprise him and to make a new memory of being at our house.

Good news! Lucky Charms were on sale! Four boxes for $6.00! Not only a hostess with the mostest, but a shopper who knows a bargain, I made the mostest of the sale and bought all four boxes. For the kids, you know – always for the kids.

Bad news: I love Lucky Charms too. At least the way they taste. With lots of activities and people coming and going, our meals and time to exercise were fragmented. I ate more than my share of the cereal, without enough of the other good stuff, water and exercise to balance it out.

Some 36 hours later, I was sunk. I was out of sorts, sad about nothing I could put my finger on, and generally irritated with everything and nothing all at the same time. I was hardly the hostess (or anything else for that matter) with the mostest.

When my mood didn’t shake within the next day or so, it dawned on me that it had arrived at about the same time as the cereal. This was a light bulb moment. As I pondered it, and started drinking water and exercising to eliminate it, the perfect mantra came to me:


Does my situation sound familiar? Is it ringing a bell? I think if I could have managed with just one bowl of sweetened cereal, I’d be OK, but that one bowl just opens the door for me.

SOOOOO, instead of calling them Lucky Charms, I’m calling them “Yucky Harms” and promising myself and you that I will not be eating them again. When I see them and hear them calling my name, I’ll remember my over-riding mood of those several days and say to myself:

“JUNK FOODS = JUNK MOODS!! Make another choice, darlin’!”

You see, the problem with eating these foods (with whatever excuse we use) is that sugary foods are very rapidly absorbed into the blood. The sudden influx of sugar causes a serotonin rush, (that happy feeling we love), but unfortunately a secondary effect is a rapid production of insulin.

Insulin is a hormone that breaks down sugar so the body can absorb it. If there is a sudden rise in the sugar level in the blood, the insulin quickly breaks it down – leading to drop in both sugar and endorphin levels. This leaves you feeling even lower than you were before.

Some people seem to be particularly sensitive to this effect and experience extreme reactions. The swings in endorphins make them agitated, moody and aggressive. These people should therefore avoid foods that are very sugary. Some even have to avoid all sugar-containing foods, but this is an extreme precaution.

For most of us, however, a real meal as soon as possible after you eat the sugary food or choosing to get your sugar/endorphin “fix” from a more slowly absorbed carbohydrate will do the trick. Good examples include a whole-meal biscuit or a piece of wholegrain bread, with or without a topping or fresh fruit or low sugar fruit spread. Having a little fiber along with the sugar in these foods helps to lift a low, but not too fast. You are therefore much more likely to stay happy for longer.

Well, there is no failure as we change our eating habits and our weight – only the opportunity to make different choices the next time!

Today’s Empowerment: “Junk foods = junk moods. Make another choice!”

Today’s Journal Prompt/Discussion Starters:

  1. When was the last time sugary foods caused a mood disturbance? Turn it into a “light bulb moment.”
  2. What were the foods and the occasion?
  3. What will you do the next time this food and occasion occur?
  4. How can you use this experience as a turning point?

Today’s Recipe: Watermelon Salad

… and we thought watermelon was just for fruit salads!

Watermelon Surprise
(Serves 6 at 55 Calories)

6 cups watermelon; cubed, seeded, peeled
1/2 small red onion; cut in thin slices

1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
2-3 tablespoons mint leaves; chopped
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Chill melon before preparing, especially if it is very ripe.
Combine all ingredients gently.

(1 g Dietary Fiber; 55 Calories; 0 g Fat; 13 g Carbs)