I guess technically it's me that's doing the bullying, since I came up with the list for the ABC's of 2012, but in my defense I tried to make it with a little bit of cushion so that each week wouldn't be insanely hard. I wanted to give myself a few that I knew I would have no problem succeeding with, and in doing so boost my confidence in myself as well as my willpower. Instead, at the beginning of week 7 I have somehow already picked 6 of the hardest letters on the list. I knew that they were coming but I didn't picture myself getting them in the very beginning or all in a row. This morning I went to random.org to generate my random number, and was given number 19. Very scientifically I went through my alphabet while counting on my fingers and came up with the letter 'S.' That couldn't be right. I counted through the alphabet one more time with the same results. I had Carl watch me do it a third time just to make sure. I started to get a little panicky. I briefly considered picking another letter and letting myself off the hook, but I stayed strong- plus, Carl bore witness to the whole frantic episode and would have known if I cheated! So, without further ado I present to you this week's ABC: Sugar.
Sugar and sweets have always been my vice. If you put a plate of cookies within a 100-foot radius of me I will find them and eat every last crumb. If there's ice cream in the freezer, well- not for long. I can't say no to sweets, and for good reason: sugar has been found to be incredibly addictive. When we consume it dopamine is released in our brains, making our bodies crave more and go through withdrawals. So if our bodies crave it that much, it must be good for us, right? Wrong! The same effect is found in heroin and cocaine addicts, and I think we can all agree that drugs are bad. Here's another one of my recent reads:
I really can't recommend this book enough. It's a quick read but jam-packed with tons of information about diet and disease prevention. When I pulled it out today as a reference for today's sugar post I ended up reading about 3 chapters unintentionally. Kris talks a lot about our body's pH, which is something I hadn't ever given much thought to- I tried to swear off science in general after high school. In a very small nutshell (check out the book for a much more thorough explanation!), our body's pH needs to be slightly alkaline in order to function properly- even small fluctuations wreak havoc on our bodies, and when our pH becomes too acidic (from stress, lack of exercise, consuming acid forming foods, etc) our bodies become a better host for disease and bacteria. There's a long list of culprit foods that are acid forming and you better believe that sugar is one of them. And so it got added to my ABC list.
Fortunately for me, I realized that this shouldn't call for a huge change in what I've been eating the past couple of weeks. In giving up gluten I've had to say goodbye to most baked goods, which were my main source of sugar in the past. Now I'll just have to be on the lookout for sugar hidden in unlikely places, particularly store-bought salad dressings, which I consume a lot of. I think the hardest part will be the cravings, which will hopefully go away with time. To help me, there are a few great alternatives to sugar, including agave nectar, stevia, and carob powder, which has more of a chocolatey taste. I've got a few cookbooks that have recipes for gluten and sugar free cookies and other desserts, so I'll have to put on my apron and whip up a batch and let you all know how it goes! Wish me luck and don't judge me for the bowl of ice cream that I'm about to eat as I bid sugar a tearful goodbye.