Survivor's Notebook

Survivors Notebook: Bittersweet A Testimonial


Many have an addiction to sugar that they sacrifice their health and sometimes even their lives to maintain.

Traditional wisdom tells us that poison comes with a sweetness. If poison was bitter, no one would eat it!

When I was a child, I used to get headaches. I was told they were migraines. You know, the kind that feel like there’s something inside of your brain that’s pushing it against the sides of your skull. The kind that throbs every time your heart beats. The kind that hurt so bad that I used to just lay in my bed and groan. I could barely function. To make matters worse, they would often be accompanied by intense nausea and vomiting.

My parents are both registered nurses. As professionals in the medical field, one may think that they would have a solution to my problem, or at least be able to tell me what was causing it. Unfortunately, I did not receive any insight or assistance as I continued to suffer this way for years.

When I was about 20 years old, I began to learn about natural health and diet and I completely changed my eating habits, basically cutting out any junk food, white flour, sugar and even salt, for the most part. From that point, my health improved significantly and I don’t remember having headaches during that period. However, as the years passed, some of my old eating habits were slowly reintroduced.

I remember about 3 years ago, I was in Philadelphia for my sister’s college graduation. We had a big family dinner at one of these Brazilian steakhouses. Of course everyone ordered dessert. Some people didn’t finish theirs so my father and I, being the enterprising gentlemen that we are, polished off several people’s dessert plates. The next day, we went to a restaurant for lunch before driving back to Chicago. It wasn’t until then that I was stuck with another migraine, this one being more intense than any I had experienced recently before that time. I then took some time to ask myself what I could have done to make myself feel this way. For the first time in my life, I pointed to the culprit that had been the cause of so much suffering throughout my life. It was the sugar.

I started to backtrack in my mind. When I was a child, I used to eat 3 or 4 packs of candy at a time, every day. As a teen, I used to drink 3 or 4 cans of pop (soda, for those of you not in Chicago) every day! Then there was the breakfast cereal covered with sugar… Nobody told me how much damage I was doing to my body! I’ve had constant dental problems throughout my life as well.

I spoke to one of my sisters in New York around the time of my realization and she told me that she had a problem with sugar as well. She told me she experiences fatigue. I’ve also been dealing with fatigue since I was very young. This same sister was in Chicago recently. She asked me to pick her up a candy bar when I was leaving the house. She added that she had a sugar problem. Recalling our previous conversation, I refused. Now that I think about it, I’ve been fatigued for the last couple of days. No wonder, two days ago, I attended a teacher appreciation day event at one of the schools where I work. I had some dessert…

I’m still struggling to overcome my problem. Thinking I’d been doing better recently, I allowed myself to take a step backward. I ended up feeling irritable by the time I left.

Tradition tells us that poison is sweet, for if it wasn't would we eat it?

Sugar in many cases is the culprit for headaches, mood swings and fatigue.It can also contribute to debilitating and deadly diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.

I’m not alone. The healer in our community recently restricted a couple members of our community to a no sugar diet. One of them, like myself, despite evident health problems as a result, continued to eat sugar. It was her comfort food. The other would supply her secretly.

Even after I realized that sugar was causing, not only my migraines, but also many other problems, I continued to eat it. During this time, I noticed some things. One was that I didn’t get a headache every time I ate sugar. It was usually after I ate sugar several times over a few days that I would end up with a headache. I used this as an excuse to continue to eat it “sparingly,” which would always result in periods where I overdid it and of course suffered as a result.

I also noticed that it didn’t matter what kind of sugar I was eating. It could be white sugar, brown sugar, turbinado sugar or organic evaporated cane juice. I would think I was eating something healthy, but I would still end up with a headache. Honey, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to cause me problems.

Even when I don’t eat enough sugar to give myself a headache, as I experienced recently, not only do I feel fatigued, but these feelings of fatigue are accompanied by feelings of irritability, depression, even despair and a general inability to focus. Maybe some people will feel they can afford to live their lives under these conditions, but for the goals I’m trying to accomplish on a daily basis, I certainly can’t afford to be in this condition. Even trying to follow the 77 commandments becomes more challenging because of the emotional instability that comes as a result of eating sugar.

Given all of these issues, even as I write this, I’m embarrassed at my lack of self-control. This confirms what we say at the Earth Center all the time, “emotions don’t think.” I’ve been so attached to the feeling I get from eating sugar that I’ve been willing to overlook all of the problems that it causes. Like we also say, “self destruction comes with a sense of pleasure.” We really have to work hard to control our emotions to avoid falling victim to our weaknesses.

Our sister in New York says that she mostly has cravings for sugar when she’s at work and when she sees other people eating sweets. Ironically, also working in the healthcare field, many of these people are also suffering from diabetes, hypertension and other heart problems. She says now, when she sees people eating sweets, she doesn’t think about wanting it. Instead, she considers that eating the sweets will make her tired and weak and  she has too much work ahead of her to feel that way.

Our sister here in Chicago said that she would seek the temporary boost that sugar gave her and that it was a way for her to escape her problems. At some point, an acupuncturist told her that there was no difference between her and a junkie and that sugar was her drug of choice. She said that sugar was no different from any drug. It’s even more dangerous than alcohol because alcoholism has a social stigma, while sugar is commonly accepted. She sees people at work go to the vending machine for snacks all the time.

Sugar would give her a temporary peak and then she would crash, emotionally and physically. After eating sweets, she would experience headaches, fatigue and mood swings. She said she was cranky without it. In recent months, I mentioned to her that she had not seemed like herself for several months. Since she has stopped eating sugar, I’ve noticed a complete turn around in her attitude and energy. She’s once again the vibrant sister that I remember. She says she’s been clean for a month now (with a smile on her face).

Please keep these things in mind. When we eat sugar, not only are we affecting ourselves, but also everyone around us by the way it affects our emotions. These are real stories and are in no way exaggerated. If you did not know that I was talking about sugar, you would probably read this and think I was talking about crack! We know crack kills, but what isn’t commonly stated is that sugar also kills! Sugar is probably the biggest contributor to diabetes, due to the strain it puts on the pancreas, liver and kidneys. It’s also a contributor to heart disease due to the strain it puts on the heart. Both of these are deadly diseases. Heart disease kills more Americans each year than any other cause of death!

Feeding a sweet tooth is a lose-lose situation. We think we are eating it because it’s making us feel better, but if we look past the short term gratification it provides, we can see that it really makes us feel horrible. We feel horrible because we are destroying our health and slowly killing ourselves. Let us exercise our emotional control and resist this sweet poison called sugar.

2 comments to Survivors Notebook: Bittersweet A Testimonial

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