A Year Of No Sugar: Post 51

May 29, 2011 § 5 Comments

Something is definitely wrong.

And I’m totally stunned by that fact. I think I was starting to feel so good, so healthy, that nothing could touch us- that our commitment to No Sugar was so profound that it would be the cure-all for all things. No more colds! No more hang nails! No more trouble finding a parking spot at the All-School Concert! Of course, this is silly, but the mind thinks silly things, makes deductions in the background when we aren’t looking that we realize later are deeply flawed, and, you know, dumb.

The problem is me: I’m sleeping all the time. I cannot get enough sleep. This isn’t your everyday, I’m-a-busy-tired-mom fatigue- which feels very normal to me- this is… strange. Like, I went to bed the other night at 9:30, slept until 6:30- a good nine hours- and then after the kids were off at school fell into a stupor for another two hours when my worried husband finally pried me off the couch with a crow-bar and made me eat something. I did not feel rested, or ready to get up. This morning after the kids got off to school I ate a piece of toast and then rendezvoused with the couch until nearly eleven AM. The morning gone, I woke up disoriented and kind of scared… what is happening to me?

My normal interest in our family meals, varying the kids lunches, making a good breakfast- all has gone out the window- I’m surviving at this point until the next time I can lie down and zonk out. Consequently, this week has been sketchy in the food department and I’m long overdue for visits to our supermarket, BJ’s Warehouse, stocking up on wholesale organic produce from our buying club, you name it. We’re out of everything: no fresh fruit in the house, no vegetables, no cream cheese, no milk, not even emergency Amy’s Bean Burritos in the freezer… my mental list of what we need is getting ever-longer and I haven’t even got the energy to get up off the couch and find a pencil.

Fortunately I don’t feel this way all the time- this is the third episode in the last perhaps two months. I hate it, but then after a few days it subsides and I figure it was a virus or something. But last week I decided the third time was the charm and I went to my general practitioner who ordered blood-work. According to him, by the way, five months of No Sugar shouldn’t show up in any significant way- except in our blood sugar count, which of course varies constantly.

So some of the suspects are: anemia, lyme disease, and thyroid disease. Fun stuff. And I know what you’re thinking, but no, definitely not pregnancy (phew!) since my dear “aunt” just visited last week…

Meanwhile, I’m trying very hard not to go back to sleep right now. It’s a very weird feeling to sleep and sleep and sleep and finally wake up ready to do… nothing. No energy, no strength, no va-va-voom. I’m getting a lot of reading done, since that’s one of the few things I have enough stamina for. I’m about to start “Suicide by Sugar” by Nancy Appleton, and I’m curious what she can tell me at this point that we have not already learned in our No Sugar journey thus far- so I’ll let you know how it goes.

Wish me luck. Better than that: wish me energy.

A Year Of No Sugar: Post 43

April 26, 2011 § 2 Comments

So yesterday it finally happened, My older daughter called me on it.

She had been complaining about how most of the kids in fifth grade get school lunch and today that meant sugar cookies. I was startled to learn that out of a class of about twenty-four children, Greta is one of only three who bring home lunch. “I know it’s hard honey,” I said feeling genuinely sad. I know that A Year of No Sugar means one thing to a forty-year old, and quite another to a nearly eleven year old.

“Mom,” she said, suddenly, “What do I get out of it? What’s good about it for me?”

“Well, it’s our family project,” I said, a little uncertainly. “We’re doing it together.”

“Yeah I know, but you’re going to get a book out of it. So it’s really for you. Right?”

Whoa.

“Well, yeah,” I said, thinking: and that would be the best case scenario. Right now, having something so concrete as a published book to prove what we’ve done here meant anything isn’t guaranteed. “But you can be part of the book too,” I reminded her, referring to her journal entries and Smoothie recipes she’s been compiling, “if you want to.”

“I know,” she said, reasserting “But it’s really for you.”

“Well, sort of,” I said lamely. “I am sorry it’s so hard.” And after a pause, “That doesn’t make it any easier, does it?”

“No.” she said.

“Well then how about I make it up to you by… buying you a fancy new pair of shoes?!” I exclaimed. Parent tip #24: when all else fails resort to outright bribery. (I should point out that we had just arrived in the parking lot of the shoe shop in order to find her a pair of “fancy” shoes for her upcoming birthday. We looked all afternoon and never did find any- this being Vermont where patent leather shoes are in significantly lower demand than muck boots- so we bought bagels with cream cheese instead.)

“Okay” she said laughing.

Phew. That was a close one. The worst part about this exchange is that she’s got a valid point. I mean, I could pull out some charts and graphs explaining the growth of sugar consumption in the US and how it mirrors lovely things like incidence of pancreatic cancer and metabolic syndrome… but she’s about to be eleven. I’m pretty sure, in the war between pie graphs and pie, I’d lose.

So the health argument is pretty much out; the “you can help” argument is marginally persuasive, but not a surefire winner. And of course, there’s the fact that I’m still searching my soul for the real Why of this project: I mean, you can have a blog or a book about anything… why this? As someone recently asked me point blank: what’s the payoff?

I’m not trying to lose weight. Certainly, I’m trying to be healthier, which, by subjective standards the whole family does seem to be. But to effectively separate me from my Reese’s Peanut Butter cups there would have to be more to it than that… What seems to be stoking the fire of my resolve is the fact that I have been convinced by intelligent, thoughtful people like Dr. Robert Lustig (The Bitter Truth), like David Gillespie (Sweet Poison), who connect the dots in such a convincing way as to make you feel as if a veil has finally been lifted from your eyes and suddenly it all makes sense.

Like any new convert, I have developed a fervor about this knew revelatory knowledge and I feel people should know about it and shouldn’t be afraid to find out- if true- what it might all mean. Like I’ve reported on other posts, the hardest part for me in our Year of No Sugar isn’t resisting temptation, it’s dealing with the conspiring societal norms which come together in a tsunami-fashion to break down the walls of our better judgement. With this project I figured that if we could just show in a dramatic way what was possible, and consequently bringing a greater public awareness to the issue, that might be enough for others to follow in a more moderate fashion.

How to explain this to my near-eleven year old? How about: “We’re just trying to change the world, honey.” I’ll try that next time, and let you know how it goes.

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