New Thoughts about Sugar

The second week of December I started another round of eliminating sugar from my diet. Ideally, I would get off sugar and stay off for the rest of my life. However, the best I can seem to do right now is continue to set my compass in that direction. Less days with sugar. More days without.

Sugar can mean different things for different people at different times. To clarify, I am talking about refined sweeteners. I did not take fruit out of my diet. I still drank some hot apple cider and warmed up carrot juice. But I didn’t even consume brown rice syrup and maple syrup.

What I want to talk about today is my experience. From the moment I made the decision to quit sugar, it felt very different from other times in the past. So different, actually, that it scared me.

Photo courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography at
Photo courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography at

One of the things I have been doing in the past few years is healing my drug history. From antibiotics and anesthesia as a child, to alcohol, marijuana and antidepressants as an adult, with sugar and chocolate woven throughout.

As part of this healing, I realized that one of the biggest problems with marijuana is that it makes our brain think that nothing is a big deal. Sound familiar? It’s part of the way that particular drug affects our brain.

This December, the moment I stopped eating sugar, I actually had a really hard time even remembering why I was doing it. I had none of my earlier convictions at all. This is what scared me. Always in the past when I stopped eating sugar I knew that it was important and that was what drove me to keep going. Not this time. I am so glad I had two friends to help hold me accountable with hourly texts (yes, it’s this hard for me sometimes) and the memory that at some point in the past it had been really important to me. Even if I couldn’t remember why.

This got me thinking. If marijuana causes our brains to think that nothing is a big deal, then what is sugar doing to our brains? And I finally made the connection. It makes us forget.

There has been a lot of significant research about sugar and memory. I just hadn’t linked this forgetting with why sugar is such a powerful way for people to numb emotions. We forget the past. We forget the pain. We forget our frustrations. We forget our hopelessness. It doesn’t just numb us. The numbing is a result of the effect on our memory.

Viewed in this way, my act of eliminating sugar becomes an act of reclaiming my past and reclaiming my ability to remember what I want for my future.

I still haven’t grasped the full importance of this. But it’s life-changing for me. I am sure I will have more to write about in later posts.

Any thoughts or comments?


2 Responses

  1. Sylvia

    Thank you Teresa. I am working on using less sugar but it is HARD. I’m loving your recipes to help in that direction.

    • sweetveg

      Hi Sylvia.
      Using less sugar is hard. Cane sugar, especially, is one that I try hard to stay away from because I really notice its affects on my body and my blood sugar. Reducing consumption of it doesn’t work for me. I usually have to go cold turkey and my cravings for it become much less after about three days.
      Please let me know if there is any way I can support you in this endeavor. I am glad my posts are helping. Feel free to call any time.