Health & Fitness

The Sugar Predicament

I work in a care home. One of the perks of working in this particular care home is having a home-cooked meal and desert available to me every day at no cost. And when I say home-cooked I’m not exaggerating. The food is delicious and filled with flavour; the deserts made from scratch and decadent AF.

But if I want to keep on track with my current healthy lifestyle I have to limit myself from accepting these meals more times than not. And sometime that is soooooo hard to do.

This week, for instance, a ham boiled dinner was on the menu. For those who don’t know, a boiled dinner is the ULTIMATE comfort food for me. It was the meal I asked my mom to make me for my birthday every year and so it holds a very special place in my heart. I could NOT turn that meal down and even hugged our amazing cook after I had my share.

That’s not so bad. A boiled dinner, though high in salt, is actually pretty nutritious and so I wasn’t concerned about making the decision to eat it instead of my usual whole food and lean meat type of meal. But where I went wrong was this weekend when I decided to eat a tiny piece of desert. This particular desert was some sort of square clearly made with loads of butter and sweetened condensed milk and it was AMAZING! I had no regrets.

That was Friday. When Sunday rolled around some sort of orange creamy delight came about and this time I didn’t even hesitate to eat it which is a red-flag because if I’m not consciously aware of what I take in my body even just once a new cycle begins for me. And the cycle that began after consuming that piece of cake was daunting. So much so that I wasn’t able to fight what came after.

Binge Fest 2019, to the most ultimate degree, started immediately after I got home last night. I ate two Pillsbury Pizza Pops. After that, I made a full box of KD and ate that. As if that wasn’t enough, I found a bag of croutons (my Kryptonite when chips aren’t in my cupboard) and ate the whole bag!!

Needless to say, Sugar consumption, especially of the highly refined variety, makes me CRAVE carbs. And when I crave carbs I become a MONSTER that can’t stop eating!

So why does this happen??

According to Mbgfood (mindbodygreen.com) craving carbohydrates almost always means our body is searching for a serotonin boost. Seeing, smelling, and even thinking about indulging in certain foods triggers the release of the pleasure and reward neurotransmitter, dopamine, in your body, which has been stored in memories as past pleasure. What does that mean exactly? Well, basically, what we ate as kids and associated with happiness will be what we crave when we are emotionally drained and in need of a “happy boost.”

But my issue isn’t just about searching for happiness. It’s about the chain of events that occurs the minute I get one taste of refined sugars in my system. It seems that sugar gives me a boost of dopamine and that high is what has me searching for more like a junkie searching for her next fix.

For those who don’t know, Sugar is a carbohydrate too. 100 grams of refined sugar equals 100 grams of carbohydrates. So it’s safe to say that whether it’s a sweet desert, or a large serving of pasta, the results are the same. We want more!

So what’s the solution?

For me, yesterday was a lesson in learning to indulge in a conscious manor. Something I’m (very slowly) getting a grasp on. This video by Kerry Glassman at nutritiouslife.com has all the information and constructive pointers I need to help me make a better decision next time around. Because healthy eating isn’t a ride you get off after a while, it’s a rollercoaster that never ends and I’m completely okay with that.