Every so often, I forget why I stopped eating refined sugar. I forget how it makes me anxious, changes my mood and makes my heart skip a beat (literally – I get heart palpitations from the stuff). I lose track of all that and wonder… why am I passing up that ice cream / cookie / fill in the blank with any sugary treat. I dive in. I indulge. And then, I regret. With the consequences fresh in my mind, I remember why I’ve been avoiding the stuff for years. Yes, years.
You’d think, after years of avoiding it, the reasons would stick and I wouldn’t need these occasional reminders, but I find myself in this position every few months. It’s as if the lack of daily reminders pushes it in to the back of my mind. The temptation grows until I can’t remember exactly why I am depriving myself of these delicious treats.
It’s the same way with wheat. Although the consequences are more severe and immediate, I occasionally think, “Oh, I can have just this one pastry…”, and then I remember why. Perhaps it’s because I only gave up wheat a year ago; perhaps it hasn’t been long enough for me to fall in to the ‘Why am I doing this, again?’ trap. I even dream about eating wheat – realizing the error of my ways only when it’s too late. I wake up panicked, then relief sets in, knowing it was only a dream.
Back to sugar – my relapse came in the form of toasted marshmallows and s’mores this weekend. We decided to test our new camp gear and do a little backyard camping. We set up the tent, inflated our mats and unrolled our sleeping bags. Then, we told stories and roasted marshmallows while sitting around our firepit. It wasn’t my intention to eat marshmallows – it just happened. We’d toasted too many, C had her share already, and I rationalized that one marshmallow couldn’t be that bad. The first became a s’more, then I toasted another marshmallow, and I think possibly a third. Paired with a few glasses of wine, sugar levels were skyrocketing.
That night, I felt the effects. I was anxious about the smallest noise and couldn’t relax. My heart was racing and I couldn’t calm myself. Today, I’ve been somber and a bit depressed (also a common post-sugar symptom for me). A nice little reminder of exactly why I avoid refined sugar in the first place. (edit: did I mention brain fog? of course not… slipping memory is also one of my wonderful symptoms from too much refined sugar)
The thing is, I can get away with natural sugars and do fine. I have yet to overdose on honey or maple syrup – it’s really only the highly refined stuff that gives me these symptoms. I guess it’s only right; our bodies probably have an easier time processing these types of natural sugars. Alas, marshmallows made with these natural sugars aren’t easily found at the store. Looks like someone else had the same idea. :-) Time to get cooking, I guess!