If I could pick one song that was symbolic of my eating habits, it would be Sugar, Sugar by The Archie’s. In particular, the line “pour a little sugar on it, baby” pretty much summed up my attitude prior to my sixtieth birthday. Never able to choose just one candy bar, I’d buy, and eat, three of them. I could easily eat half a pie at one sitting. I am guilty of eating a dozen donuts in a twelve hour period. There is nothing I like more than homemade cookies and I don’t have a lot of self-control when they are involved. Fortunately for me, I’ve never liked sweet drinks, preferring water, unsweetened tea, and black coffee to sodas.
I remember one occasion when the kids and I baked cookies. They were gone by snack time the next day and the kids wanted to know where they all went. I told them that I had seen their father eating some of them and that was true. I let them conclude, erroneously, that he had eaten them all. He may have eaten two. I ate the whole batch, down to the last crumb. Have I read that if you hide the food you eat, you probably have an eating problem?
After I was diagnosed with polymyalgia rheumatica, I wondered why I felt so much worse on some days than others. I started paying attention to my diet. It didn’t take me long to realize that I seemed to have developed an allergy of sorts to sugar. If I avoided sugar, I felt good. If I didn’t, I paid a painful price. There is a direct correlation between my inflammation/pain levels and the amount of processed sugar that I consume. Please understand that this conclusion was not a medical diagnosis. It is an observation that I have made about my own sugar consumption and my body.
I do well if I keep all things sugar out of my house. After avoiding it for a week, or two, the cravings almost stop. The inflammation goes away. I can use my hands to quilt. I can stand up without hurting. I can function without pain. An added benefit is that my blood sugar levels are lower, a definite plus in my battle against diabetes.
It seems like a clear-cut choice, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, I will have several days of feeling good and I will eat a cookie. It’s like giving a drink to a recovering alcoholic. The cookie is followed by an Easter peanut butter ball. Then the cravings start and the battle rages again. I’ve not done well these last few weeks but it’s a new day. So, I will take a few steps beyond my normal, and avoid sugar today. And tomorrow. If I’m lucky, a sugar-free diet will eventually be my new normal.