sugar allergy and the continued fight

Well, back when I started this blog I thought, there! I've kicked sugar, now I can relax into this good feeling of health and vigor. Ha! So innocent, I say now. The halcyon days.

Just as an alcoholic, it is one day at a time. It is about choice, it is about will, it is about being gentle with yourself when you aren't living up to your ultimate standards. It is about choosing to be the higher standard you hold and forgiving the slips, while reaching for the best health you can.

What a rough road!

It's funny, when I started this, I went through all the ways I could find in order to avoid sugar but enjoy life. I have a powerful sweet tooth, handed down to me by family (and likely genes, too; sugar is energy, energy is survival...) It is entangled with life's pleasures, the taste on the tongue. Within my journey, I have experimented with many different ways to keep that pleasure without the pain- the pain of crashing, mood swings, weight gain and all the myriad ways sugar destroys my balance. In those experiments I have discovered what I cannot tolerate, and have caused new intolerances along the way.

I am fully several weeks into avoiding fructose to the best of my ability. I cannot help but feel I brought this upon myself, this odd allergy. Has it truly been lifelong, or have I done this by overdoing things causing my flora so much upset? I used to tolerate Stevia, and now it causes me agony; I used to live on fruit every summer and now it causes me so much pain. Somewhere in my secret heart I used to wish I was allergic to sugar so that it would be easy to stop eating it. What if overdoing Stevia and other fake sweeteners has caused me to upset the balance like this? They say that overdoing high fructose corn syrup can trigger fructose malabsorption, and this syndrome takes all the other sweeteners with it! Oh, you wish to be allergic, wish granted. What a hypochondriac. Please.

Well, I have no wish to be some sensitive ridiculous girl who cannot eat as she pleases. That is just unacceptable. Right now I am eating a pared down diet, with the thought that if I give my GI system a break, I can heal and go back to being a normal human being who eats a normal diet. This is what we prescribe for dogs with GI upset; a bland diet with slow reintroduction into regular food once again. Why not people? Why not me?

Admittedly, I sometimes wish that I had access only to a more basic/ ancestral diet. Fish, ancient grains, fruits from whatever region my ancestors are from, maybe meat but rarely, good vegetables locally grown. I can do that if I'm committed. That's what I'm doing right now, anyway, in order to heal. Still, we are surrounded by a glut of easy prepared foods, stuff that is so oversweetened and oversalted you can't even detect the original ingredients. Don't even get me started on all that, please. I am eating basic, feel better for it and have no regrets. No regrets except one: that the deprivation of anything resembling sugar is making the siren song of it so strong I almost cannot bear it. It's terrible, ridiculous, I am an alcoholic sniffing out my next gin, a nicotine addict looking for a lost ciggy in the couch.

Now that I think of it the 5-HTP was helping. This is a building block the body uses to create dopamine in the brain, a serotonin precursor. Those chemicals are ones your brain uses for feelings of well being and calm, and help with things like cravings and addictions, loss of sleep and so forth. I was taking it regularly and then forgot the habit when I moved. I can see now that it was helping, a great deal! It sometimes isn't enough to be committed to an idea, the idea of kicking sugar, if your body will not climb aboard the train with you. Everyone's got to be along for the ride.

It can sure be a helpless feeling when you are years into an ideal, and yet cannot simply just get into it and stay there. I sympathize with all my heart for those who give up cigarettes and have to walk through a cloud of smokers on their way into a pub. Or those who have been sober for years and get invited by co-workers to the pub after work, knowing just how difficult it will be to sit in that environment. I am lucky enough to have never been addicted to those things, or other drugs. I plea the case that sugar is as addictive and as evil. That it can most certainly lead to other addictions. If you've read "Potatoes not Prozac" or other texts on sugar addiction, you can see others feel this way as well.

If you have been on this journey with me, I'd love to know how you're faring. It's a tough road, right? I'm on and off again. I'd love to sit on a high horse and say that all those years ago I threw down the candy and never touched the stuff again, but I'd be lying. No, I fully jumped off the wagon and bounced right back into the swings and bloat and moods and all that. Only with full knowing of the consequences, and guilt. Lovely. Bring the headcase gear along, folks, it's going to be a wild ride. Eeek!

Well, it's off again, since my body has said in so many ways "enough!". I hear you, loud and clear! No sugar, no stevia, no tropical fruits, no dried fruits, no concentrated juice, no sugar alcohols, hell, not even any wheat for now. Don't you just hate it? Being "sensitive"? Or "special"? B.S. Total crap. I hate it. Makes me want to live in the middle of nowhere that knows nothing of Cadbury or the cane, the magical extract of beets, trees or bees...