Okay, friends. I’m ready to tackle sugar.
Earlier this week, I was preparing for a talk I’m giving on Sugar Cravings next month and found myself making trips to the freezer for handfuls of chocolate chips. The irony was not lost on me.
It’s ridiculous how much power sugar has! I know I need to take a little break from it, and thought a detox challenge could be fun. (Like this story about Gandhi, how can I tell others to cut out sugar if I’m not doing it myself?)
Why Detox in the Spring?
Did you know that spring is the best time to detox? It’s actually nature’s timing. If we were living off the land, it would happen naturally as we would begin to consume healing roots, sprouts and new baby vegetables.
These foods work with our system to cleanse the body of toxins from winter’s increased consumption of animal products and heavier foods that our ancestors relied on to make it through until spring.
Detoxes come in all shapes and sizes and some are quite radical. I don’t believe we need an extreme fast to cleanse our body- it’s a powerful machine that is always working to clean us out and balance itself. However, we can help it along (and help ourselves to feel better) by cutting out some of the most unnatural foods.
The Sugar Addiction
Sugar is the biggest challenge for me. William Dufty writes in Sugar Blues that “Like heroin, cocaine and caffeine, sugar is an addictive, destructive drug, yet we consume it daily in everything from cigarettes to bread.”
Those are serious words! But I’ve certainly experienced the sugar addiction. And the roller coaster it brings with it- our blood sugar spikes, we feel a temporary boost, and then we crash and want more sugar… which can lead to irritability, mood swings, exhaustion, and the list goes on.
I don’t believe we have to give up all treats. Life (and food!) is meant to be enjoyed!
But sugar is a very slippery slope. Even a small amount creates a desire for more. And suddenly quitting can cause withdrawal symptoms including headaches, mood swings, cravings and fatigue.
Is Sugar Toxic?
There is also a growing body of research pointing to sugar as one of the main culprits in our country’s health crisis, with ties not only to diabetes and obesity, but to heart disease and cancer as well! (For more on this, check out the NY Times article, Is Sugar Toxic? or watch this segment from 60 Minutes.
Kind of scary!
As you all know, I consume most of my sugar in the form of dark chocolate, and I can usually justify it, especially with organic, fair trade varieties. But I do like to step back a few times a year to prove to myself that I am still in control!
Benefits from cutting out sugar:
- acknowledging how powerful our “addiction” is
- allowing the body to detox and cleanse itself
- resetting our palate so that sweet foods taste even sweeter when we add them back in
- identifying what triggers our sugar cravings (stress, exhaustion, boredom)
- practicing alternatives to satisfy those cravings (fresh fruit, a short walk, calling a friend, etc)
- weight loss and finding foods with more natural, longer lasting energy
Okay, enough talk. Would anyone like to join me in a short and sweet challenge to avoid sugar?
Edited to add: This challenge is complete. I now offer a monthly Sugar Detox Jumpstart teleconference. Find more information here!
Here’s what I’m proposing:
- What: Choose Level One- eliminating all added sugars (honey, maple syrup, rice syrup, added fructose, etc) OR Level Two- sugars and processed foods, which often have the same effect as sugar when broken down in our system, including white flour/bread/crackers/energy bars, etc
- When: Seven day detox, from Monday, April 1st to Sunday, April 7th (have your Easter Sunday final treat if you want to!)
- For extra support, use the hashtag #sugardetox to connect with other participants on Twitter or Instagram
- PRIZES! Sign up below, and (optional) tweet or share for an extra entry to win a few fun prizes, including ProCompression socks, a box of healthy snacks from NatureBox, a box of Bites of Bliss Superfood Bites, and more.
You could tweet something like this: “Need accountability to cut out sugar? Join @mommyrunfaster for a 1 week sugar detox + chance to win prizes! http://wp.me/p2fC61-1qV”
In the next week, I’ll share some of the foods you should include to assist your body in the detox process, and snack ideas for when the sugar cravings hit.
I’ll continue to host sugar detox challenges every 2-3 months. If you’d like more simple tips for living a healthier and happier life, subscribe to my monthly newsletter.
Tell me about your relationship to sugar. Do you crave sugar? Have you experienced the sugar blues roller coaster?