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Sugar Town

Remember When..

Nancy Sinatra
Shoo Shoo Shoo Shoo Sugar Town


Nancy Sinatra belted out the popular 1967 tune, Sugar Town? It went like this:

 I got some troubles but they won’t last
I’m gonna lay right down here in the grass
And pretty soon all my troubles will pass

‘Cause I’m in shoo-shoo-shoo, shoo-shoo-shoo
Shoo-shoo, shoo-shoo, shoo-shoo sugar town.” 

I loved that song and belted it out right along with my radio. I’m not quite sure why that just popped into my head. I think it is because I have made some major changes to my life with regards to my sugar eating and health. I am not sure at which point I am allowed to call it a “lifestyle” change. I am guessing that it would have to be at a point longer than the two weeks I have been following my new protocol. Throughout my entire life, sugar has been a part of me..both literally and figuratively. I remember when I was a  very young girl and had any money at all, it was typically spent at the nearby drugstore on whatever penny candy I could afford. If there were cookies in the house, I had to have them. Of course, positive reinforcement of my behavior as a youngster typically involved some form of sugar or one of my favorites, a good ole’ Southern Moon Pie! And a southern dinner wasn’t a dinner unless it was followed by dessert. Of course that determination to have sugar sometimes concluded with a bitter ending..like the time I spent a summer at my aunt’s and discovered what I was sure would be a delicious chocolate bar. Note: Bittersweet chocolate is not the same as Hershey’s.


Was/Is It A Sugar Addiction?


While I’m in nostalgia mode, I am reminded of my older sister announcing (in typical tattle mode) as loudly as possible that I (her cute, younger sister) must have a sugar addiction and probably had diabetes and that our Mom should take me to the doctor to find out. I didn’t even know what diabetes was, but it certainly felt like a damning declaration to make. It always elicited my loud and angry response that I did not have ‘Di-beet-eze’ or a sugar addiction. Even then at eight years old, there was clearly a negative connotation to having a sugar addiction.

The reality is and probably was, that I did indeed have an addiction to sugar or chocolate in any form. For most of my adult life it has been true and I didn’t even care. In fact, I am a person who has had very severe, chronic medical conditions which have involved a lot of medicines, tests and specialists for a long time. I have focused on healing myself with western medicine, the typical standard american diet (SAD) and a steady sugar influx. It never occurred to me that sugar was anything other than an immediate endorphin high and necessary part of my diet.


The Queen Of Rationalization


Yes, that’s me..the Queen of Rationalization. I deserve chocolate and sugar and by damn, I’ve earned it. Lord knows I suffer enough with all of my other health issues, it would be cruel and inhuman to deny myself my daily dose of sugar. I mean, afterall it’s not like I am binging on sugar every day. Have you ever said that? I have (a lot) and I really and truly believed it. I never “researched” sugar like I do most everything else..why would I? What’s to know..I enjoy it and can even salivate like Pavlov’s dog just thinking about it. 

Anyway, researching sugar would mean that I might be confronted with the real truth about sugar and it’s damaging and inflammatory impact to my body. I’d be lying if I told you that I had not heard Dr.Oz, Dr. Weil or others address the latest research about sugar and what it does to our bodies. Deep down, I have never believed that I could give up sugar/chocolate..even if I wanted to..so I might as well as accept and enjoy it.

The Big Picture

Every now and then, we have a revelation or breakthrough in our lives. For parents, it’s when our kid’s are mature enough to get the “big life picture”..you know, all of those things that our wisdom allows us to see and know from experience that we try desperately to impart to our children. As adults we have these breakthroughs also. It is with great enthusiasm that I share my most recent breakthrough with you. Yes..I have had a total about-face when it comes to my health and approach to eating. For years, I looked at thin women wondering how they stay that way. Or I would meet someone who had embarked on a new eating approach with eye-popping results. Obviously, I thought, they have a very active metabolism, not like mine I rationalized. I wondered why it wasn’t easy for me. Why did every “diet” I tried end up in failure?! Why was it so darn hard to stick to the things. And why oh why, did/do I always give in to those drug-like cravings for sugar? 

And what about those food plan trail blazers and authors. They tell us to just follow the plan and it will work. The reality is that it will not work without a commitment and determination to make it work. That my friends, is/was the missing ingredient for me. No matter how much my mouth always said all of the right things, my attitude had not arrived on board for the journey. Until now.

No Grain. No Pain

Every time I read about or hear about another restrictive food plan that eliminates most of what I’ve eaten my whole life..it seems overwhelming. All of my past weakness and seemingly obvious lack of willpower I have always given credit for my lack of success. But guess what I just learned! One can arrive at a place of  total frustration or some might call, “rock bottom” (not Rock Candy bottom). This is what happened to me…finally. Miracle? I don’t know. All I can tell you is that after just celebrating my 35th wedding anniversary and a birthday, I took a hard, depressing look at myself. I decided that I did not like what I see and don’t want to spend the rest of whatever time I have left being an unhealthy, whiny load. I want to be the fun me..the unstoppable me that used to stay active and love it.

As luck, karma or the planets aligning would have it, the right people and timing came together for me to discover an alternative medicine doctor who is working with me to chart a new course for my eating and improved health. It is undoubtedly the most restrictive eating plan (along with supplements) that I have ever been on. Before I would have cringed in disbelief and lasted a few days before diving back onto the shoo shoo sugar train. Not now. An amazing thing has happened…I am following (with ease) the food plan (Paleo for those of you who might be interested) without gluten, dairy, sugar, vinegar and a few hundred other things. Now granted it has only been two weeks..so I can’t declare total success. What I can say is that I am having no blood sugar dives which translates into no sugar cravings. Because of this, and the steady dose of the right supplements, I am finding that this totally restrictive food eating plan is the easiest I have ever followed. Not only that…I am sleeping better and already have more energy. Will it cure all of my ills? Too early to tell/tale..but for now..the train has left Shoo Shoo Shoo Shoo Sugar Town!

I Will Leave You With This..

Sugar Addiction





To Eat Or Not To Eat…

That Remains The Question

healthy heart

If you are human, you eat. We are taught at an early age that we eat three meals a day.  Along the way we add snacks and in-between pick-me-ups, either good or bad for us, or somewhere in between.  For many of us, food has had far more impact in our lives than we ever would have guessed or given credit for. When we were young, we learned that a sweet dessert or candy bar was the reward for a desired behavior. If you grew up in the south, like I did, you learned that “food is love”.  Food was cooked in abundance and eaten equally all in the name of family unity. It was as if my Mom had an automatic serving arm that piled food on your plate if part of the plate surface was starting to show. By the way, this happens in most southern families.

Food Is Love

Trying To Find Our Food Identity

women body sizes

At some point, we recognize that food has become some kind of problem for us. We have forged an unhealthy relationship with food or maybe with the wrong kind of food. I find myself wondering how many people make it through their lives without having some type of food issue. For women, it typically involves how food has impacted our physical appearance and how we look in our clothes. It’s not just women who think about food in this way, men do also. I just think women obsess about it more. When we want to look good in our clothes or have an upcoming event to attend, we suddenly realize that food has changed us in ways we don’t love. Did the food do this to us? Or did our ingrained food eating habits do this? I think I know.

Which “Diet” To Align With?

I have lost count of the diets I have tried and failed at. I should have a lifetime membership in Weight Watchers. I loved Nutrisystem and my 31 pound weight loss, until we stopped eating on the plan. I also thought the Cleveland Clinic Diet (which had nothing to do with Cleveland by the way) was the answer. Three days on and the rest of the week off?! I could suffer through anything for 3 days. I lost weight with that diet also. There are always merits to these diets that sound really great at the time we try them. Somewhere along the line..we read that we need to lose the term “diet”.

Lifestyle Change

Choc syringe

Yes, it needs to be a “lifestyle change”.  Okay, I get it. Let’s get rid of the temporary mindset of diet and think eat healthy forever. I understand the concept and think it is a great idea. The problem is a lifetime of SAD (Standard American Diet) eating. I think my pores actually crave sugar. They have become accustomed to chocolate in every form. There’s always a caveat to my diets. It is the secret (in my head) unspoken whisper that says..you can probably stick to this diet for awhile..but you know you will never give up chocolate for anything or anyone. I am not sure when chocolate became that important in my life, but it did. Each time I fail at a diet, it is because of my addiction to sugar. Life is hard enough without having to give up sugar, right.

Older Age & Poor Health

And then we arrive at this destination that we call older age. (We called it old age until we arrived). Most if not all of us are facing health problems. For me, it has been a lifetime of health issues and was not sudden. My diet, however, has done nothing (ever) to assist my body into better health. I have never really looked at food as a possible culprit to any of my health issues. Like most of us, I figured it was just family genes & the luck of the draw. We all grew up (at least those of you in my old-er age group) with that food pyramid that told us how we were supposed to eat & how good it was for us. Little did we know that some of the very food sources that we thought were good for us, were actually offering a steady dose of inflammation into our bodies.

So Here I Am Back At The Starting Gate..

Deer in headlights

As I contemplated all of the health issues that both my husband & I are facing, I found myself wondering about the food we eat. Being the researcher that I am, I started to look more seriously at food plans. In the past, I found myself doing a comparison of the Paleo, Weil & Anti-Inflammatory diets wondering how to marry them into one plan that I could live with. Typically, I end up like a deer in headlights…stuck at an inpasse..doing nothing. But recently, on a sick day at home, I watched Dr. Oz and the guest that he had on the show, Dr. Joel Fuhrman. I had read Dr.Fuhrman’s book, Eat To Live a few years before. Both my husband & I read the book and thought that it made real sense to us. We started eating according to the ETL plan & began to lose weight. I am not sure what happened. Probably like all of the other times in our lives, when we “fell off the wagon” as they say, it happened again. Some sweet delicacy, or function we went to offering a table of SAD options…it only took us a second to dive back into our horrible eating patterns. It always takes only a second.


But this time it is different. Our health is at stake. It always was, we just didn’t think about it or care enough to do the work of helping ourselves. It is time. Admittedly, I am nervous. Can we really do it this time? I mean forever?! The good news is that we are allowed fruit on this plan, but not all of the artificial sugar we are used to. It requires a commitment and real planning. No different than anything else in our lives. We plan vacations, family events, etc. So why should we not make the time and effort to do the same for eating the right foods. The convenience of fast food and having no time in our lives are part of our reason and rationale as to why we remain in our unhealthy eating patterns.

Okay..I’m declaring it once again. We will get ourselves healthy…even if it…okay..I’m not going to say, kills us..because it is going to kill us if we don’t do this. I will just say, I know that this will be a challenge for us, but we can do it. And I’m not gonna lie, if I were able to get back into the clothes in the small end of my closet, that would be a real bonus too! So my new motto is: Eat To Live & Write For Fun!

Until next time…

Bon Appetit!