Monthly Archives: May 2011

Standing in Front of the Refrigerator

Ever find yourself standing in front of the fridge, door opened, eyes scanning? Are you looking for that tasty and healthy lettuce, carrots, or the left-over pot roast or pickled mushrooms? If you are a Sugaraholic you stand there looking for something that will satisfy the sugar-carb cravings. All the purely good food is not what your brain is scanning the big box for, or honing in on if some nice pudding or fruit-salad happens to be there.

Ever find yourself wandering time and time again to the kitchen, scanning the cabinets and pantry, exploring the cupboards, checking those hiding spots just in case a stray package of cookies or candy is still hiding there? Fat chance! The kitchen trek could potentially turn up many delightfully good things to eat if hunger were really the problem, but it isn’t

In fact, for Sugaraholics, real hunger is likely unknown, or, if ever known, long forgotten. My experience was the longer I was a Sugaraholic the poorer my hunger sensor became. I could go all day and never feel hungry if I was busy, but once I did begin to eat it was not a pretty picture, especially if I was away from home. At least at home I might have cooked a decent meal, but if I were still late at work, or driving home and realized I hadn’t eaten all day, then it was a likely I might binge. I’d stop at the first convenience store or drugstore (increasingly a misnomer) for milk, a package of cookies, chips, or several things which would get eaten on the way home. If I didn’t need to get home a make a meal for my spouse, I was likely to hit one of the fast food chains for one of my predictable fixes.

You know all this, don’t you? You have been there those hundreds of times. You and I have eaten a very healthy meal, then had to have a treat—may have driven to get that “little” treat. We are fix-oriented when we keep eating food in a way that we know is unhealthy and is making us fat and miserable.

We know there are some people who can eat a couple cookies and go on their way, and for years we may convince ourselves we will do that, too, after this one last binge. We live in the world of tomorrow. Tomorrow I will start my diet; tomorrow I will not eat anything sweet except fruit; tomorrow I will exercise more. We have given up years of our lives in expectation of tomorrow magic.

Like the alcoholic who must accept that s/he can no longer drink any alcohol, we sugaraholics must give up all the sweets, carbohydrates, artificial sweeteners that keep us repeating these dead-end behaviors. (More on this tomorrow.)

I no longer stand in front of the open fridge for I know there is nothing there but good, wholesome food. If I’m hungry I get something to eat, but it is to feed the body, not the sugar-sweet addiction. However, now when I stand there I remember all those lost years of looking for the sweet, and glad to have it behind me. But only if I stay away from the sweets-carbs-artificial sweeteners.

Yours in health and happiness,

The Forces Within

This is Memorial Day weekend and I am thinking of my son and others who have served, many have died, to protect our country. My deepest wish is that no one who serves should be forgotten or neglected.

We understand what it means to fight an enemy that is outside us, but what about the forces within. Those forces are not our enemy for they evolved to insure our survival, but sadly Mother Nature doesn’t know we aren’t still living as hunter-gatherers. Mother Nature has not caught up to modern times when we see food everywhere in the media, and can get food on every corner; not just food, but the most highly condensed calories of the most addictive quality.

Remember the old Parkay margarine commercial (ironic on several levels): You can’t fool Mother Nature! Well, that is true. You can’t fool the way your body will react to sugar-sweet tastes-carbs, nor can we escape the long term consequences of a diet artificially concentrated with all kinds of sugars, sweet tastes, faux foods, frankenfoods, and chemicals from herbicides, pesticides, preservatives, et al, that Mother Nature never equipped us to handle. So people eating the Standard American Diet (SAD), are flooding a primitive system with complex and poisonous products, and we wonder why we are become morbidly obese faster than ever, and in ever greater numbers.

The forces within, that limbic brain designed by Mother Nature over thousands of millenia, is far greater power than our frontal lobes where rational thinking resides.

For many, if not most people, continuing to eat sugars-sweet tastes-most carbs is fighting against a force you cannot defeat.

Yours in strength, working with, not against, Mother Nature,

Deprived? Really?

Does giving up sugars, sweeteners, and most carbs make you feel deprived? I know I felt that often, but what does it mean to be deprived? Are you truly deprived if the things you want are making you fat, unhealthy, and unhappy? We know the answer to that. Yes we want sweet tastes as long as we keep feeding them, but that passes fairly quickly. So you can’t have something you wanted, does that mean you still can’t have lots of wonderful things in your life that will be more rewarding–of course not. I would rather be able to walk up a couple flights of stairs without huffing and puffing. I would rather eat better food at better restaurants. I would rather wear attractive clothes instead of hiding in loose garments.

Make a list of all the things you want to do that you can’t do now, and as long as your brain is obsessing about the next sugar-sweet fix.Want to ski, dance, meet a special person, play with kids, go hiking, enjoy the beach. Life was not meant to be lived for food; food is supposed to support life–a great life.

There’s an old saying about people who either live to eat, or eat to live. I’ve made my decision. I now eat to live. Even if that means I’m the oddball, eccentric, health-nut, or any other thing people might throw my way. Words can’t hurt me nearly as much as sweet can. Besides, I don’t mind being special; being the person who goes against the old Conventional Wisdom (which is in fact the new foolishness).

I have no desire to convert anyone who doesn’t want to be on this path with me. But for those who have struggled desperately with sugar-sweet-carb craviings,who know they are sugaraholics, there is a healthy and safe path to freedom: Give up the sweet.

Until next time,

Sugar by its Many Names

Most people think of just a handful of foods when they hear the word sugar, but to the brain-body anything that is a carbohydrate food becomes sugar when broken down in the body. Sugars from all sources including fruits and vegetables, starches from all sources, even excess meat protein can be converted to sugars. Artificial sweeteners are no solution, since they trigger cravings and raise insulin, too. What sugars we get should be from vegetables, especially leafy greens, and fruit; however, if weight is an issue, stick to leafy greens and lower sugar berries.

Finding the sugars hidden in processed foods takes some work reading labels. Reading labels for sugar is made more difficult since sugar has many aliases. Here are the main ones; if you know of others, let me know.
Agave nectar
Barley Sugar
Brown sugar
Cane crystals
Cane sugar                                                                                                                                             Corn Solids
Corn sweetener
Corn syrup
Crystalline fructose
Evaporated cane juice
Fruit juice concentrates
High-fructose corn syrup
Invert sugar
Malt syrup
Raw sugar
Barley malt
Beet sugar
Brown sugar
Buttered syrup
Cane juice crystals
Cane sugar
Corn syrup
Corn syrup solids
Confectioner’s sugar
Carob syrup
Castor sugar
Date sugar
Demerara sugar
Diastatic malt
Ethyl maltol
Fruit juice
Fruit juice concentrate
Glucose solids
Golden sugar
Golden syrup
Grape sugar
High-fructose corn syrup
Icing sugar
Invert sugar
Malt syrup
Maple syrup
Maple sugar
Muscovado sugar
Raw sugar
Refiner’s syrup
Rice syrup
Sorghum syrup
Turbinado sugar
Yacon syrup
Yellow sugar

Sober News for Sugaraholics

Do you find yourself under the spell of sugar, starch, sweet tastes? If so most likely you are, as I am, a Sugaraholic.  Like alcoholics, the same part of our brains gets overly-stimulated, and we get messages to eat or drink more and more, even when we have just glutted on sugar. If nothing else has worked, the final solution is to get sugar-sober; meaning, to refrain from all sugars, artificial sweeteners, starches, and most sweet tastes.

Are you ready to be sugar-sober? If so, join me in this effort to give information and support to those who are suffering, struggling, and in some cases destroying their lives under the influence of most carbohydrates, especially sugars.

For much of the last fifteen or more years I have struggled with constant cravings. Not until I read Gary Taubes Good Calories, Bad Calories, did it all begin to really come home to me.  Dr. Robert Atkins at least got me on the road enough that I didn’t wind up too wide to get through doors, but it was a struggle, for I would have two or three great weeks, then fall off the wagon. I lived with private shame about binges, and having very little control over sweets and carbs.

The reasons I was falling off the wagon were mysterious to me. If it was purely about will power, then I had tremendous will power in most aspects of my life. If it was simply the food, I was eating well most of the time, better than 90%; so I remained in a stalemate with my weight. Then all hell broke loose; or perhaps a better metaphor, a perfect storm came into my life:  I was at the peak of a stressful career, I had to have spinal surgery,  my mother had a sad, pitiful death from diabetes complications, and my sleep flew out the window as I aged into the peak peri-menopausal years. Result, a steady 6-8 pounds of weight gain each year over the next few years.

This blog is an effort to help others who find themselves gaining or unable to lose despite good efforts. I have read dozens of diet books, tried many, failed many times, been through the gamut, but never gave up believing I would one day find the answer.Thanks to Gary Taubes, Dr. Atkins, Nora Gedguadis, Mark Sisson, Dr. Jack Kruse, and others who have been committed to learning and talking about the truth of the disaster that is our modern western diet, I finally was able to get on the right path to control of my problem and did one thing I never thought would be possible–I gave up sugars/sweets.  I really don’t care about sweet foods or drinks much any more. In fact, I am repulsed by the thought of much of what I once stuffed into my poor unhappy body. I am relishing being carbohydrate sane and sugar-sober.

Now, with the aid of these primal programs, I have been steadily losing the weight using a primal diet, and restricting intake, and the final coup de’ grace, stopping not just sugar, but artificial sweeteners, and avoiding most sweet tasting foods and beverages.  If that scares you, then you are a most likely a Sugaraholic.

I hope you will join me in creating a supportive forum to discuss the issues of being a Sugaraholic, discovering hidden sugars and sweeteners, finding ways to enjoy food in social settings without breaking the pledge to be sugar-sober, and working together towards good health.

Let’s begin.

Hello Sugaraholics!

I was/am a sugar baby, child, young adult, adult. At no point in my life was my brain not being flooded by sugar, which as some researchers have said (Dr. Robert Lustig most recently), if it were created today it would be a controlled substance.

I was lucky that for over half my life  I was lean, though only moderately fit. However, as I grew older I had cravings that grew, too. Eventually, after much denial, wishing, hoping, rationalization, and all the rest, I had to accept that I was and am a Sugaraholic.  After lots of anxiety about this one area over which I seemed to have virtually no control, I learned I was insulin resistant (IR), which means whatever an IR person eats is converted to fat before any energy is used, and the body won’t let go of the stored energy aka fat, which leaves a person constantly tired from lack of energy, and always craving. It’s like living in a freezing house in the winter, with plenty of fuel available, but the furnace doesn’t work.

A Sugaraholic is usually on his/her way IR, or extremely sensitive to the reaction of sugar on the brain (sugar acts on the brain exactly like heroin or cocaine), someone who cannot resist the call of the constant cravings stimulated by the drinking or eating of carbohydrates, sugars, and even artificial sweeteners.  The only way to break this pattern is to cease and desist; to stop consuming that which is making life a craving misery, a binge hell.

Join with me and all the rest who struggle with sweet cravings,  to bring insight and information to overcoming this problem.                                                                                 Yours,                                                                                                                                      Sugarbaby