Addiction, Alternatives & Advice

I recently was asked a question from a friend who's looking to eliminate sugar (and gluten) from her life, asking what I would recommend or advise to someone starting out on this cleanse.  So I thought I would write a blog entry to give any recommendations or tips on this subject because I know that sugar is in EVERYTHING that most people are buying (even things seemingly innocuous like dressings, condiments, salsas, etc.), and that can make people feel like it'd be difficult to quit sugar (it's not - there's always an alternative :)).  Plus, this is a multi-dimensional subject that actually spans so much more than just what you're eating, but also how you're thinking, how you regard "activities" or "working out", your relationship with yourself and food, etc. (but we'll get into that - maybe not in this blog entry so much, but definitely soon).

When we moved out west after my six months in The Bathtub™, my husband's sister had gone through something similar the few months prior.  Though nowhere near as intense or long-lasting or life-altering as what I went through, she was suffering with parasites and yeast infections and the whole lot.  So when we finally arrived on the island, she lent me this book by Donna Gates called "The Body Ecology Diet".

Now, the word "diet" is a loaded one.  After all, like many of you, I've been on so many fucking diets, I can't even remember them all!  *Ha ha ha!*  As a teenager, it was The Cabbage Soup Diet, The Scarsdale Diet, Atkins (this is one of the worst ones ever, and please do not EVER follow this diet if you intend for health - I will explain momentarily!), Weight Watchers, and so many others that I can no longer remember - and my mother and I usually did these (unsatisfactory, didn't-solve-any-of-our-root-problems) diets together.  Neither of us really saw any improvement, save for the odd two pounds release here, one pound release there, but I do look back on it fondly, considering it was both something we could do together, and it armed me with lots of experience and knowledge in this arena.  :P

Before I get into what I told this friend, I will explain the Atkins statement above.  Atkins could be a great diet because a main point to the whole diet is about eliminating sugar and simple carbohydrates and putting yourself in the ketosis process ("ketosis" meaning that, when your body no longer has a store of carbohydrates, especially simple ones, you start burning fat like crazy).  Eating meat and cheese is encouraged on this diet, however I remember no talk going into what meat and cheese was encouraged.  The two times in my life I went on this diet, I was eating Kraft singles and meat from Wal-Mart and shit like that!  I wasn't taking into account (because at that time, I didn't know) the antibiotics, growth hormones, vaccinations, and dis-ease one finds within the factory farming meat industry (not even right now gonna go into the energetic implications of ingesting something that was kept its whole life in captivity and fear and then murdered in such blasé form).  Nor was I taking into account these same things when it came to cheeses (so that explains the Kraft singles - something you couldn't pay me a billion dollars to eat a slice of today).

Another aspect of this diet is the acceptance of ASPARTAME.  Dude.  Aspartame is just as bad for the body as sugar.  It's a horrific Monsanto Frankenfüd that we should never put into our bodies.  And I was eating aspartame multiple times a day - fuck, I used to go through five or six cans of diet Coke daily!  (I think I was cleansing that demon in the bathtub as well, though on a much smaller scale than sugar.)

This diet wasn't and has never been about creating health, no matter what anyone who represents it would choose to tell you.  It's about losing weight.  And just like every other fad diet in the past, the focus is on surface results (like dropping weight), and it's at any cost because the weight loss is the only selling point.  They can't sell "ultimate health" with most of the diets out there (including Atkins) because it's not something that will turn into ultimate health!  Something that bothers me about diets in general is that there doesn't seem to be an authentic look-in-the-mirror moment that I've seen we ALL need in order to move forward and expand as consciousness.  And by "look-in-the-mirror moment", I mean the art or skill of stopping . . . taking a good honest look at yourself, at your decisions, your choices, your mindset, the way you regard yourself . . . asking oneself what traumas triggered the addiction or had a connection to the addiction when it comes to food (or anything else under the sun) . . . and reaffirming who you are and that you deserve better.  There doesn't seem to be a tutilege with these fad diets (whose only focus is on the weight loss - which is the LEAST significant part, if you ask me) about reconnecting with yourself, getting away from the mentality of choosing convenience over your health, how one can build their sovereignty over time and recognise themselves as the divine being they are, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.  They are severely lacking in substance.  The only selling points I see with these fad diets/diet programs runs is this formulaic:  "Fat?  Lose weight!  Using our brand new diet!  Pay us now!"

I went on Atkins both in my mid-teens with my mother (and lost nothing) and then again with a friend of mine at 23 years old, where I dropped ninety pounds in eight months.  So it works, but like I said, it doesn't take into account where the meat and cheese is coming from, and it pushes the horrific Monsanto creation of aspartame in all its forms, while also not educating people about the many aspects of food addiction, selfawareness, and all that.  Just like with everything, I would take the good advice of this diet (like eliminating sugar and simple carbohydrates) and just leave the bullshit behind.

I also want to point out while we're on the topic something novel and mind-blowing: when you're eating healthfully, CALORIE COUNTING DOESN'T MATTER.  So please, instead of stressing about how many calories you're getting per day, just make better food choices, and that won't be an issue.  Calorie-counting, as far as I'm concerned, is just another way of keeping one in linear thinking - you can NEVER eat "too many" cucumbers when it comes to caloric intake, for example, because you just won't eat that much!  The mentality behind calorie-counting is about giving oneself a permission slip to still eat Big Macs and lose weight - when really the most healthful thing you can do for yourself is to quit the Big Macs entirely and make some beautiful organic burgers yourself at home, and begin fostering the Creator and Divine Being that you are.

Okay!  That being said :), Donna Gates' "The Body Ecology Diet" is not actually "Here, follow this diet", but instead it gives tips and information on what you can do to tailor your own cleansing and healing experience.  For example, she shares information about manufactured sugar and how the body deals with it, talks about grains and natural sugars, but she also includes some recipe ideas so the reader can start thinking outside of the box (figurately AND literally!) when it comes to how they've been eating and preparing meals.  So it's really about looking at what you're doing and reassessing.  I really really really recommend this book for anybody who's looking into cleansing sugar from your life - it's a great companion and reminder for what it is you're working toward.  I didn't use it extensively because a lot of my information came from reading other people's experiences but moreso from listening to my new body (because don't kid yourself - you completely reset your body when you get rid of sugar for a certain amount of time!) and connecting intuitively with what is going on within the body.  To this day, I still stop myself and listen to my body and pay attention to what it is it's telling me it needs (or what it currently doesn't want!).

The beautiful thing is, unless you're in the thick of it (like you've just received a diagnosis of some kind of dis-ease or something as serious as that), you don't have to quit everything all at once.  In fact, if food addiction has been something you've struggled with lengthily, I recommend taking it one step at a time.  Give yourself the nurturing you deserve.  Much like growing your own tree, you may not see apples for a few years, but every day, you are actively watering and caring for that tree so that one day, you will have plenty of apples!  :D  I would recommend taking a look at everything you eat and drink and then deciding what it is you'd like to eliminate first.

So, for example, let's say that every day, you go to Tim Hortin's (BLECH!) and buy a double double.  Stop doing that!  *Ha ha ha!*  The accumulation of that factory-farmed milk and that manufactured sugar are doing you no favours, none at all.  Instead, buy yourself some organic, non-GMO (and local, if you can) coffee beans, and try black coffee at home for a while.  You'll be surprised how DELICIOUS coffee can be when it's high-quality and you're not bogging it down with fucking garbage.  As a person who never drank coffee (and definitely not from Tim Horton's or Starbucks or any of those GMO places that we don't go to), my husband and I now drink a cup of coffee every Sunday, and it is delicious and organic and beautiful and a wonderful experience we share.  There is no addiction to either the coffee OR any sugar (though no white sugar goes in my coffee), and it tastes amazing.  :)

But how does one stop themself from going to Tim Horton's every day and getting that poisonous coffee?  Just stop going!  Take a different route to where you're heading.  Distract yourself.  Remind yourself that you deserve better than this, and act accordingly.  There's a reason I call these "mis-treats" - because it is a sure sign of mistreating ourselves.  Society conditions us into thinking that we deserve to be punished or that we don't deserve to have a great time while we're here in this realm, but that's all fucking bullshit that we all need to de-program ASAP.  Because we do deserve better.  Every single one of us.  And that includes YOU!  :D

If you're unsure however where your issues with sugar lie, I recommend starting a food journal for at least a few weeks, if not maybe a month (depending on how quickly you wanna get this process going - listen to your intuition).  Sometimes we get so busy in our lives with the multitude of things we got goin' on that we don't always remember what it is we're eating or drinking.  For some reason, that has been the "small detail" of our lives that has fallen to the wayside in lieu of other things that are nowhere near as important.  Remaining an observer to your life while living it, living consciously in the moment, helps with this of course.  However if you write it all down, you'll have an image right in front of you in one place.  And you'll more than likely be surprised after a few weeks when you see the patterns of what you're doing every day!

I will say though that I think the best first step for anybody in this process is quitting restaurants and takeouts and drive-throughs.  If you eliminate those immediately, the results will more than likely be instantaneous.  Brew your own high-quality coffee at home, make salads from organic ingredients from scratch and with homemade dressings, plan and prepare and create a meal with your significant other or best friend (though in my experience, the two aren't mutually exclusive :D), reconnect with people who are usually a blur to you thanks to this GO!GO!GO! world, and take your time.  You fucking DESERVE it!

In the spiritus of nurturing oneself, taking this one moment at a time, pick that one life-negating thing that you keep seeing repeat itself in your food journal and get rid of it.  And please, no longer sacrifice your health for convenience.  Sure, it's easy to grab that double double and that morning breakfast sandwich, but the empowerment that happens when you prepare your own food - coming from a source or company that you have researched and appreciate and whose ideals mirror your own (yes these companies do exist!  :)), or coming from your own garden . . . There is absolutely nothing that can compare to that!  And when you eliminate something, eliminate it.  That means not even once.  Again, this is about nurturing the tree you're growing - if you have a whole year without sugar of any kind, that may seem like a long time on paper (though not really, considering how quickly the construct of "time" has been going lately - a frickin' day feels about six to eight hours to me anymore!), but if it means you'll have the rest of your life without dis-ease or the kinds of pain you see the people around you enduring (when they really don't have to, and it's ultimately simple to change), isn't that worth being diligent and disciplined and dedicated?!  (Man I love alliteration.  :P)

We DON'T HAVE to grow old and wither and die in a crumpled version of our former selves.  We DON'T HAVE to get cancer and diabetes and MS while those unwilling to heal around us do.  We DON'T HAVE to lose our cognition, get Alzheimer's, AGE the way we've been conditioned to think we have to!  This shit is preventable.  This is ultimately what I'm talking about - living in a conscious and open way, willing to expand oneself, willing to allow ourselves to grow and try new things and break the cycles, whether perpetuated by society or ourselves!  It's being willing to change your mind when new information pings you and makes you go "WHOAAAA".  Living in the moment, living consciously - this is about being mindful, yes!  But it's so largely also about preventative health.

And choosing balance regularly?  Absolutely!  Once you cleanse the candida, it is totally "okay" to enjoy the odd glass of wine, but don't start drinking every day.  And when you aren't drinking the wine, buying an organic chocolate bar from an equally mindful company/source, or perhaps making your own desserts from organic honey or organic maple syrup, you're still choosing to abstain from the manufactured white sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, chemically-sprayed, colours and additives and flavours, GMO'ed world that way too many have been embracing (myself as well in the past).

In most people's cases, we've been addicted to sugar (and seeing the shitty effects of it) for YEARS, and in order to cleanse it without having a horrific(ally empowering :P) experience like I had, I would definitely recommend taking your time and nurturing yourself in the cleanse.  Remember that this is a process, and it's temporary.  No, the plan is NOT that you'll go back to Snicker's and Mountain Dew and Pizza Hut at the end of the year (an arbitrary number to give us a reference point) - you are finished with all of that shit!  However!  :)  There are alternatives to your favourite drinks, your favourite chips, your favourite chocolates, your favourite takeout, etc.  At the end of the year, you will have simply changed how you're doing things and how you regard these things.  It will change your relationship with food and yourself big-time.

Lemme share a bit about my experience with food and life now that I'm four and a half years past The Bathtub™.  (*Ha ha ha!*  That still makes me laugh when I'm writing it.  :D)  It's been four and half years since I was obese and had a slew of health issues.  It's been four and a half years of me LOVING myself, looking at my naked body in the mirror and flirting, "Hey baby, how YOU doin'?", and feeling AMAZING and BEAUTIFUL and SEXY and HEALTHY.  I lived such a lazy, unproductive life because of my weight problems in the past, but now it's been four and a half years of me climbing difficult mountains (both literal and figurative!); when I have the opportunity to choose going on a hike or doing something sedentary, 95% of the time I choose THE HIKE.  That is not who I used to be!  *Ha ha ha!*  I would always choose the lazier option!

When I eat a meal now, I take my time.  I remind myself that this is to nurture me.  This meal, and the love and knowledge and mindfulness that I put into it, will help me achieve and maintain greater health for the rest of my life.  Every bite is medicine.  I don't eat eat eat until I'm stuffed - I eat until I'm about 75% full and then simply . . . stop eating.  :)  This coming from the person who used to eat a Snicker's bar, then a big of Ruffles, then another chocolate bar, then maybe some ice cream - bingeing, bingeing, bingeing, always bingeing, always searching for happiness in the poisons.  I never used to know when to stop!  My body actually never even TOLD me to stop!  Now I eat half my dinner and can't eat anymore, and give it to my wonderful trash compactor of a husband!  *Ha ha ha!*  So when I say your relationship with yourself and with food will change during and after this process, I ain't kiddin', honey!

Look at it this way.  If you love your car, don't you wanna put the best, highest quality gas, oil, upkeep, gratitude, and respect into it as possible so that it purrs like a kitten and runs like a dream?  Well, if the body is the spirit's car . . . Y'see where I'm going with this?  ;)

For seven months, I had no manufactured sugar.  I had no fruit of any kind!  No fast food, no takeout.  On the odd time we went to a restaurant, I would drink lemon water and order a salad with olive oil and a lemon wedge on the side.  I got used to having olive oil and freshly-squeezed lemon juice on my salads, and I still do that to this day!  We buy an organic, sugar-free bottle of dressing about once a year.  I make our own cakes and cookies and homemade treats from better quality ingredients than the factory-farmed quadfecta of SugarFlourEggsMilk.
These are small examples (although we eat a huge salad pretty well five days out of the week for lunch or dinner :)), but these are the kinds of changes that can be made immediately, and it will change how you feel almost instantly.

When it comes to gluten, I don't completely buy into that whole thing. I don't think gluten per se is the issue, but instead it's GLYPHOSATE. While avoiding wheat IS a great idea (because it's a grain, so it converts to sugar in the body), I think the key to getting rid of a gluten sensitivity is avoiding GMO foods and prepackaged foods, and going from scratch and organic and non-GMO as much as possible. I don't have as much information on or experience with this (though I've since read glyphosate can easily play a part in obesity), but it definitely ties in considering the grains-become-sugar situation.  Avoiding gluten-free products is important as well because they're usually bogged down with other garbage to "make up for" that missing gluten, when really you can just stick to non-GMO and more than likely avoid creating the "gluten-sensitivity" reality for yourself.

Lastly, I wish to address something that I addressed in the opening paragraph in regards to this process being multi-dimensional because I would say it's just as important as being aware of what and how you're eating.  It's a blog entry for another day (because this has already gone longer than I had intended my longwinded self in going!  :P), but I wanna say that observing your stream of thoughts is just as important as observing your food intake.  What are you thinking?  How do you see yourself?  WHY do you see yourself that way?  What traumas are you not acknowledging?  What mistakes or regrets do you wish to atone for?  Are you punishing yourself for some reason?  If so, why?  And finally, in which ways are you willing to heal yourself - not "just" in the types of foods and amount of foods you put into your body, but into how you regard yourself and the world to begin with?

With that, I leave you with the utmost love and respect and gratitude.  No matter where you're sitting on the path in this journey toward optimum health (I'm still on the journey every day!), I KNOW you will make it.  Because you are strong, you are divine, you are powerful, and I believe in you!  :D  If you have any thoughts or questions, please never hesitate to contact me here or on Facebook or through my webhub,  I'm a great listener and a good cheerleader.  ;)



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