Photo by What-Buddha-Said.net
Sugar Detox: My New Year’s Mindful Goal
“The longing for sweets is really a yearning for love or “sweetness.”
― Marion Woodman
There’s no question that I am addicted to sugar. I hid Reese’s Pieces in my work desk for many years. I frequently would stop at the store on my way home just to buy cookies or ice cream. When I felt stressed, which was often while I balanced family, work, and school, I’d reach for something sugary. It never dawned on me that my almost daily headaches and afternoon energy drain could be related to these habits.
Now, I’m sixty-three and I have low-level diabetes. No insulin but daily Metformin. I am retired; I have simplified my life, and I am dedicated to mindfulness and meditation. But I still crave sugar. Most experts agree that sugar is extremely addictive, although just how extreme is still under debate. I can testify, after the last five days without added sugar, I just had to eat the last four Oreos in the package last night! My goal for the new year is “sugar detox” and I know it will be tough!
According to Patrick Zeis (www.balancedachievement.com), we can overcome the cravings for sugar by understanding and utilizing a number of Buddhist principles and practices. There are two key concepts that can help us to overcome even the most addictive behaviors:
- “Impermanence– This truth states that everything in life is constantly changing. The cravings that you feel are in a state of constant fluctuation and are dependent on causes and conditions. You can notice this by watching how your cravings will arise and pass away depending on the circumstances you find yourself in. The Buddha’s teachings all revolve around the idea of impermanence.
- Detachment– Tibetan Buddhist nun Pema Chodron probably sums it up best when she says, “You are the sky, and everything else is the weather.” You have the ability to detach yourself from the thoughts of craving by becoming an objective observer of them.”
Meditation can help bring these ideas into reality and enable us to overcome sugar cravings. In Vipassana, believed to be the purest form of Buddhist meditation, we can learn how our cravings are impermanent. Detach and Observe – this is the way meditation takes us from bondage to freedom! By the way, a great book for understanding Vipassana is “The Art of Living” by S.N. Goenka.
While my sugar detox goal has to do with weight and diabetes, there are numerous other benefits that are magnified as we get older. According to Lauren Del Turco and Paula Vitale in the Prevention Guide, “Sugar Detox Made Easy,” eating low-sugar whole foods will result in even more wonderful things:
- Lose weight, clear our skin and have fuller hair;
- Reduce our body inflammation, which is associated with diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, and cancer,
- Boost our immune system with an infusion of vitamins, mineral, and phytochemicals,
- Increase our happiness and lower depression,
- Reduce stomach ailments and increase in energy,
- Have better sleep and fewer headaches,
- Decrease our risk of Alzheimer’s disease and lower our cholesterol levels.
So, I’m convinced that I need to make a reduction in sugar my New Year’s goal. I think the following 7 Rules for a 21-Day Sugar Detox are manageable changes for me:
- Fuel up to crush sugar cravings: I’ll eat a high-protein breakfast. For me, that means a couple of hard-boiled eggs or toast with low-sugar peanut butter.
- Never skip a meal: Skipping a meal lower my blood sugar levels and provokes me to overeat or crave sugar.
- Flavor bomb my taste buds: I already have given up salt. But I’ll ramp up my use of Trader Joe’s Everyday Seasoning and Lemon-Pepper Seasoning.
- Set a goal daily: I haven’t done this before but I like the intentionality of setting a goal daily. “Today, I will…..”
- Inject some joy, every day: For me, that means walking, reading, and listening to music.
- Keep it moving: A 30-minute walk and setting a 10,000 step goal with my Fitbit will help me exercise regularly.
- Feel before you eat: I need to break the emotional connection I have with sugar. Meditation and sugar substitutions will help me.
(Anne Alexander with Julia Vantine, Sugar Detox Made Easy, 2017)
I’ll keep you posted on how I do! What is your goal for the New Year?
By Sylvia Plath
There is a panther stalks me down:
One day I’ll have my death of him;
His greed has set the woods aflame,
He prowls more lordly than the sun.
Most soft, most suavely glides that step,
Advancing always at my back;
From gaunt hemlock, rooks croak havoc:
The hunt is on, and sprung the trap.
Flayed by thorns I trek the rocks,
Haggard through the hot white noon.
Along red network of his veins
What fires run, what craving wakes?
Insatiate, he ransacks the land
Condemned by our ancestral fault,
Crying: blood, let blood be spilt;
Meat must glut his mouth’s raw wound.
Keen the rending teeth and sweet
The singeing fury of his fur;
His kisses parch, each paw’s a briar,
Doom consummates that appetite.
In the wake of this fierce cat,
Kindled like torches for his joy,
Charred and ravened women lie,
Become his starving body’s bait.
Now hills hatch menace, spawning shade;
Midnight cloaks the sultry grove;
The black marauder, hauled by love
On fluent haunches, keeps my speed.
Behind snarled thickets of my eyes
Lurks the lithe one; in dreams’ ambush
Bright those claws that mar the flesh
And hungry, hungry, those taut thighs.
His ardor snares me, lights the trees,
And I run flaring in my skin;
What lull, what cool can lap me in
When burns and brands that yellow gaze?
I hurl my heart to halt his pace,
To quench his thirst I squander blook;
He eats, and still his need seeks food,
Compels a total sacrifice.
His voice waylays me, spells a trance,
The gutted forest falls to ash;
Appalled by secret want, I rush
From such assault of radiance.
Entering the tower of my fears,
I shut my doors on that dark guilt,
I bolt the door, each door I bolt.
Blood quickens, gonging in my ears:
The panther’s tread is on the stairs,
Coming up and up the stairs.