A feature of the last two days has been me snatching pieces of “Lucky Chinese New Year Candy” (I don’t really know what it’s called, but my Chinese co-worker brings it in every year and it’s nutty and it’s sweet and it’s delicious) from the office communal “buffet” table. I have also been drinking quite a lot of coffee loaded with agave syrup (except, truth-be-told, I ran out of agave syrup last week and have been using office-supplied sugar this week) and almond milk (ran out of that, too, so, office-supplied cream…ahem). My Starbucks vanilla soy latte intake has been steadily increasing over the past couple of weeks (I even had a Venti yesterday), and yesterday I ate french fries for lunch. The fries induced me to grab a chocolate bar for afternoon snack (fries always do this to me: blame the fries!), and, when I got home last night, it wasn’t long before I found myself re-heating leftover pizza and washing it down with mint chocolate chip ice cream, when I wasn’t even hungry. Let’s just say that I’m not feeling too light on my feet today. And that I’m beating myself senseless with negative self-talk. Sigh.
Let’s not mention* that I still haven’t “recovered” from the cookie festival that was the holidays and I’m a good number of pounds above my “safety” weight zone. (*Oops: I mentioned it.) Double-sigh.
Anyway, I think I hit bottom at around 8:33 last night, as I set down the empty ice cream dish for my cat Griffin to lick (should I not be admitting this?). Not only did I chastise myself for eating dairy (which, even today, has my insides notifying me of their presence every three minutes), but I took note of how quickly I’d jumped into my “jammy pants” (hello elastic waistband) when I got home from work yesterday, and did a mental review of how sluggish and restless (yes, it seems I can be both at the same time) and unmotivated and disorganized and sleepy and ADD-ridden I’ve been for the past two weeks. I’m experiencing the same irritable skin-crawly feeling I get late at night when my body tells me I’ve gone past my bedtime. Except I’m feeling this way all. the. time.
It’s bad. I feel bad. And I blame sugar. Because I crave it and then I eat it and then I crave it and then I eat it and then I need it.
I’m not going to go into a whole bunch of junk about sugar addiction. You can Wikipedia it: there’s an entry. And I know sugar is bad: just Google “sugar health risks”. I’m just going to acknowledge that I’ve noticed a dramatic shift in my physical and emotional behaviour since I’ve “upped” my sugar intake. I’m craving and eating much more food in general (not just sweets) than I do when I’m “off” sugar. I’m making bad choices and I’m not getting myself out of bed in the mornings, which means I’m not doing my morning gym routine. In fact, there hasn’t been a routine for a while.
So, even though sugar isn’t technically off-limits when it comes to veganism (but there’s a very good article here on why many vegans decide to reduce or eliminate sugar from their diets), it’s a definite roadblock for me, and I must significantly reduce intake. I believe kicking the sugar addiction will go a long way toward motivating me to face the other challenges of going vegan. I may even bump cheese from the top of my “Vegan Humps” list and replace it with sugar.
Poking around a bit on the Web, I found a detox (oh, how we love to throw that word around: just goes to show how addictive so many foods are nowadays) on the Dr. Oz website. (Hey, I like Dr. Oz!) Sounds simple and logical enough. As Dr. Oz states:
It takes 28 days to detox from most addictive substances, and sugar – hidden in fast food, low-fat options and condiments – is certainly an addictive substance. On this plan, you’ll detox, eliminate hidden sugars and learn how to incorporate alternative sweeteners.
So here it is in a step-by-step four-week “action plan”: Sugar Free in 28 Days. 1) Detox, 2) Eliminate Hidden Sugars, 3) Use Alternative Sweeteners, 4) Trick Your Taste buds. I’ll probably end up combining/moving some of the tips from week-to-week, but it’s a good guide to follow. Let’s go! Week one starting in t-minus… now.