If you’re looking for a quick fix to lead you to better health and well-being, I’ve got you. Remove all processed items from your home and office. If they don’t exist, you can’t consume them.
When we were teenagers, Lisa, my darling ex-wife, and I used to spend hours at her mother’s home during the summer. Being a typical teenage boy, in addition to the usual sleeping, watching television and posting up in the sun in the backyard, there was a lot of eating.
Lisa’s childhood home was stocked to the ceiling with love…and sugar. The variety of her pantry put your local convenience store to shame. Red Vines, Jolly Ranchers, Chips Ahoy, Oreos, Cool Ranch Doritos and my favorite, Turtles (a perfect combo of milk chocolate, caramel and pecans) all shared living space with my first love (the girl, not the sugar).
My common practice around this time was to casually graze. A Jolly Rancher (apple, baby) here, a cookie there was totally innocuous, or so I thought. Consuming sugar in bits and pieces didn’t seem like much, but it adds up. At the day’s end, I had high fructose corn syrup running through my veins, and HFCS is an addictive drug.
According to the researchers, the findings of their study suggest that foods with high levels of HFCS have the same addictive properties as cocaine and could partly explain the global obesity epidemic.
Maybe we should consider ourselves a country of addicts. If you were addicted to cocaine and had a pile of blow in your cabinet, you’d probably know where the straws were, too. If you’ve got it, smoke it, right?
At this point, some of you are shaking your heads and thinking about how hard it would be. You fear not having these foods to regulate your moods, even though you know how dangerous it is – and counter-productive. However, removing the drugs from your reach is a necessity. From Oprah.com (yes, I’m quoting Oprah, and I remain comfortable with my sexuality):
Forget the sensory pleasures of digging into a garlicky bowl of pasta or licking a dripping chocolate ice cream cone. All your body really wants of a culinary creation is to mash it, dissolve it into a slurry, and break the carbs down into simple sugar that can float in your blood to each and every cell.
When you overdo the sugary foods or processed carbs, your body isn’t equipped to handle the overload. From the same article:
Inhale a big load of pure simple carbs at one sitting (a box of fudge, a big stack of pancakes), and your blood sugar will shoot up. To deal with the jump, insulin will shoot up, too… An overenthusiastic insulin response sweeps too much sugar from the blood, dropping it below your normal set point. That triggers a release of other chemicals bent on raising blood sugar, among them adrenaline, one of the stress hormones that produces the fight-or-flight response in a panic situation. All you did was pour a little too much syrup on your pancakes a couple of hours ago, and here you are with the sirens blaring, red lights flashing, and then come the jitters, racing heartbeat, cold sweats, that I-could-kill-someone feeling.
There’s a much better way to get your fix without the crash afterwards. If all I have for sugar is berries, I’ll eat those berries. If my best option for sustenance is sweet potatoes rather than Sweet Tarts, I’ll be strengthening rather than weakening my system. Real, whole, natural foods can satisfy your cravings, keep your blood sugar (and your mood) in check and provide satiety throughout the day.
Replace everything processed in your home with foods from the earth. No packages, no preservatives. You’ll feel and look healthier, and I won’t have to organize an intervention on your behalf.