White, crunchy sugar spooned direct from the packet into my mouth; cheap, tasteless, greasy chocolate hastily swallowed in senseless proportions and immediately regretted; bowls of dry crushed weetabix mixed with skimmed milk powder and sugar stuffed down and then second helpings swiftly following suit; entire packets of biscuits consumed within minutes and then wept over with hot tears of guilt and shame.
I was that girl. No substance too sweet, too sickly, too syrupy. It was my secret. Nobody could match my insatiable hunger for the the lure of that white powder and its stress soothing assets. The immediate rush as the glucose hit my bloodstream followed by the delicious food coma that called forth sleep and excuses and emotional slumber. When other stuff wasn’t going so well I could do this. And I was an expert at it.
If you are addicted to sugar the idea of cutting it out is deeply distressing. No matter how you “sugar-coat” the process you will still look for any excuse to find that hit. Trawl through any paleo/primal/lchf blog, book or forum and the recipes for desserts come thick and fast. Maple syrup is natural, fruit is good for you, honey has vitamins, dried fruit is the perfect paleo sweetener. If you are clutching at “natural sugar” straws then alarm bells should be ringing loud and clear, “addict!”
Even when you go cold turkey on glucose, fructose, sucrose – hell, anything with an ose, you find yourself justifying any kind of artificial crutch just to tide yourself over before that next craving threatens to overwhelm you. If you can’t have a sweet “treat” then life isn’t worth living right? But you can’t kid your body. It knows. It recognises that today’s sugar-free-caramel-cappucino will too easily become tomorrow’s oh-what-the-hell-double-shot-toffee-latte with squirty cream and a chocolate flake.
You know what? I’m still learning this for myself. I make two steps forward and one step back on the path towards recovery. But I am moving forward. Constantly, continually and calmly. It’s taken plenty of research, experimentation and re-evaluation over the past fourteen months. But it’s largely been fun, and I am no-longer a slave to the white stuff. I do not crave sugar or sweetness these days. Sometimes I have a sweetener in my coffee. Not always. Sometimes. Once or twice a week I might have some berries. And I keep chocolate in the house. Good stuff. I make a conscious decision to eat a bit, a lot, or none. And it’s none more often than some.
This summer I have discovered my favourite pudding. I feel good making it. I feel great eating it. I feel smug after eating it because it doesn’t knock my blood sugar or cravings out of whack. One bowl and I’m done. I’m thinking of the next activity rather than the next source of food. Please try it – I hope you like it too!
Wash a handful of berries (any kind while they are in season) and pop them in a bowl. Top with whipped organic cream. Sprinkle with shaved chocolate. Make sure it’s the best kind you have access to and just use a bit. Eat, enjoy and feel calm. You’ve got this.