Last year I quit caffeine and reassessed my relationship with alcohol. So I guess it was only a matter of time that sugar would be the next in line to be culled. To me the three together are quite symbolic: sugar, caffeine and alcohol fuel our lives in the West – they are all acceptable and highly addictive. Two are classified as drugs, sugar gets less attention. But all three affect our lives and health and are, within society, the topic of much debate.
I believe capitalism cannot really function without them. We drink at night to unwind from the busyness of our lives then when we get up at 7am and feel tired we fuel ourselves with sugar and caffeine to get us through the day and then guess what? At the end of the day we need a little help to unwind again. It’s a cycle: wash, rinse, repeat.
The last year has been a playful adventuring into this theory that I have long held, that this holy trinity of substances fuels capitalism and also fuels a lot of suffering. ‘To know and not act, is to not yet know’, as Mishima wrote. I cannot really know this is the case until I have rid myself of cravings for all three.
So here I go – 2018 and a sugar free, caffeine free, alcohol free life. Sounds fun, right? The bizarre thing is I couldn’t be more excited. I decided as alcohol and caffeine have already been dealt with my ‘dry January’ this year would focus on sugar.
Now out of the three, sugar is the one I was most reluctant to tackle. I have never eaten that much sugar, it seems a fairly natural, plant based, food. Where’s the harm in it? So I started this experiment fully expecting to find it pointless, not for me and revert back to my biscuit eating ways come the end of January.
But to my surprise I have enjoyed this mostly sugar free month. I’m not like super strict about it, I still have ketchup and have eaten some tomato soup in that time (both heavily laden with sugar) but I have stopped putting honey on my muesli and now buy sugar free muesli at that. I have quit, after so many years, my daily biscuit at around 3pm. It’s been replaced with dried mango and I have survived! I got lots of chocolate for Christmas which has been hidden away but I am sure it will get eaten at some point. Yesterday there was cake at work and I said no. Not because I felt I mustn’t but because I genuinely didn’t want it.
The comedown from sugar is just as bad as when you give up caffeine: headaches, cravings, flu like symptoms. If something makes you feel that bad when you quit I figure it can’t be that good. I have tried some adventures in sugar free baking and the kids are keen to try a sugar reduced life.
We never know how something will feel until we try it, all I know is that 3pm dip which I had everyday has now vanished. I feel more energetic in my mid-40s than I possibly ever have or at least post-children. I know there will be days when I say yes to cake but just to crack the daily biscuit habit alone seems a great achievement.
Today’s total practice time: 10 minutes movement 10 minutes seated