February is food change month at school. It is our belief at CommonWealth Center for Holistic Herbalism that we can’t stand in our integrity as holistic herbalists, if we have not experienced the things we’re asking our clients to undertake. I was actually excited for this month on the outset, thinking “Oh, I’ve already given up gluten, dairy, soy, caffeine, fake fats, corn most of the time, alcohol most of the time, and switched to only natural sources of sugar like honey, maple syrup, and molasses. This will be so easy!”
But sitting in class knowing I needed to give up all forms of sugar other than relatively low sugar fruits (no bananas), as well as nightshades, I was overwhelmed with how loudly my inner addict was voicing her objections. Last month’s dairy free, gluten free, soy free chocolate chip binge notwithstanding, we don’t have a lot of sugar in our diet at home–certainly not much processed sugar anyhow–at least, I didn’t think so.
And then there was Day 1. That’s today by the way, and holy hell!! Last night my inner addict kept trying to convince me to have just one more day, one more day of the “good” stuff. Surely I could start tomorrow, right? But I knew if I didn’t start today, tomorrow would never come because well, sugar. It’s more addictive than cocaine. Truly. There’s a study to prove it and everything, and it’s such an ingrained part of our culture’s lives.
I have to admit right off the bat that we had French toast this morning. Hear me out, though! It was made with gluten free, dairy free, soy free bread, AND I didn’t put any honey or syrup on mine. Regardless, though, the bread was processed, and each slice had 3 grams of sugar in it. I won’t tell you how many pieces I had. Ok, fine. I had 5. I know, I know, but they weren’t very substantial, and I love food, and I hate feeling hungry. Ugh, inner addict, go away!
So ok, 5 pieces of french toast made with almond milk that no, was not unsweetened, so I figure with breakfast alone I had probably 20 grams of sugar, which is the recommended daily allowance for adults. Wow.
I immediately started to harp on myself about how I had screwed this day all up. I might as well go in whole hog for the rest of the day and start over tomorrow, I told myself. NO! No. All was not lost. This was merely a learning experience–a very eye opening learning experience. I had to remind myself what I have told many others over the years. This was only one meal. All is well. Plus, we don’t have French toast, or even bread, on most days, so my inner harpy could retreat back into her lair.
Unfortunately, for me my inner addict did not choose to join her. I ping ponged back and forth all day from craving something sweet and preferably chocolate to craving french fries. On top of the constant nagging from my inner addict, I am right in the thick of my monthly cycle (hello mood swings!), and we were in the house all day because of more snow. I must have been out of my ever loving mind to agree to this, which my husband very kindly pointed out to me. Luckily for him, it was after I had eaten some chocolate peanut butter mousse made from avocado that had no sugar added, and I was able to laughingly agree with him. I was actually smiling for what I’m pretty sure was the first time today, I was feeling full for the first time today, and my sugar addict was happy for the first time today. Yay! Avocados, cocoa powder, and peanut butter for the win!
Clearly, what my teachers said would happen, happened. I’m sure tomorrow will be another rough one, and perhaps even the day after that. BUT the good news is there is light at the end of this hopefully short tunnel and the benefits outweigh the struggle. My health is really important to me. I am willing to and can withstand anything, if it means feeling truly healthy.
I’m just thankful I have this blog to document it all, and great family and friends, and classmates going through similar changes this month to talk it all out with. When I post my progress in a week, I expect to be over the withdrawal period and in smoother waters, perhaps even pain free? I don’t want to jump any guns, but fingers crossed!