To give this post context, here is my personal definition of mindfulness about food, oversimplified for brevity. I have written it as an affirmation. As such, it expresses an ideal, which i strive toward but do not boast of achieving:
I take responsibility for my health by trusting my body. I am aware of its responses to food, noting what makes it feel better immediately and longterm, listening to (and sometimes abiding by, other times resisting) cravings, and otherwise studying my physical, emotional, and spiritual landscape consistently, the way a farmer studies earth and sky. My intuition helps guide food choices. I don’t mistake irresponsibility to myself for freedom. I make adult choices, instead of letting addiction, mood swings, or childish rebellion make them for me. I am willing to have the discipline, organization, and planning that healthy eating requires. This includes allowing myself to do without some foods that I enjoy. I understand a food that makes me feel good momentarily might cause me severe illness and depression in the long run. I refrain from saying, “I do not want to be rigid” if it’s an excuse to hurt myself with food. I indulge in ways that don’t hurt me. My food life is joyful. And with that:
Since 1980, I’ve basically been sugar free. I’ve also refrained from honey, maple syrup, corn syrup, and rice syrup. All this
* has given me the mental clarity to be successful in my career,
* provided emotional clarity,
* is one reason I’ve survived MS,
* and has allowed my shamanic skills to develop. (Sugar clogs every psychic pore in my body, but that is only one way it interferes with my mystical development.)
My experiences personally and in my shamanic work with clients has led to opinions you might find applicable:
It is awesome that people are talking about listening to your body and related beneficial choices, eg letting go of gluten when your body tells you to do so, no matter how common a foodstuff it is in our culture. However, in some ways, mindful eating is a waste of time unless a more core issue is addressed: sugar.
Sugar causes far more disease than all the gluten, other allergens, and pseudo-foods combined. When i say “waste of time,” I’m not suggesting you forsake healthy eating until you can forgo sugar. Anything we do to improve our health is important, and provides stepping stones to even greater action. However, in the meantime, good choices may take someone two steps forward while the sugar will take them twenty steps back, over and over, until they are very ill.
Sugar is a drug—a deadly drug that can numb the ability to know what your body wants. In the same way you might not know what your body wanted if you were drunk on alcohol, you might not know what your body wants if you’re drunk on sugar. Again, I am not making an all or nothing statement, am not insisting that anyone who eats sugar becomes unaware of their body’s needs. But it is true for some people. And sugar makes some very aware folks a lot less aware than they could be.
In addition to numbness, sugar sets off a series of physical and emotional “screams” for more of what hurts you, whether more sugar, other health-ruining foods, or health-destroying binges of real food. In the midst of that loud insistent screaming, you cannot hear what your body truly wants.
Letting go of sugar can be the root of mindfulness about not only food but also life. Just like stopping drinking for an alcoholic allows them to start becoming more spiritually aware.
However, sugar is an addiction. It will not be easily let go of. And it is a societally endorsed addiction, because sugar stupor can make us pliable, less mentally vigorous, unlikely to stand up for ourselves, or unable to pursue our dreams.
If this blog is irrelevant to you, ignore it. If your experience is different than mine, rock on! But i suggest you not rule out the whole blog just bc some part of it does not reflect your experience. For example, maybe you achieved your dreams, driven by candy bars. Perhaps without sugar, you would have achieved more of them or been successful without your health suffering. Please read this post for its gist, not pick apart its details.
I suspect sugar is more addictive than any other drug. Which does not mean a person can not overcome the addiction. It means they need support to kick this terrible, destructive habit. I hope this post provides some bit of support.
Sugar addicts are so threatened by talk about stopping imbibing sugar that they attack. So I except to be misquoted and otherwise misrepresented. An addict tends to misunderstand words that discuss letting go of their addiction.
I risk attack because i hope this blog helps someone out of the hell of addiction. I would love to hear supportive responses, please, so I do not feel like the Lone Ranger.
Want control of your life? Need inner shifts to make healthy life choices and stick by them? I am repeatedly told that a single shamanic counseling session with me “changed everything”: http://www.outlawbunny.com/pastoral-counseling/