I truly believe that sugar is a drug and that it's the most addictive and costly drug in America. It's in most of our food supply. Take a look at your Lawry's Garlic Salt...sugar. Your spaghetti sauce. Your cereal. Your whole wheat pita bread (which I was going to buy today until I read it...SUGAR!) Your muffins. Actually, muffins are the devil behind this moody post today. My husband is not on board with Clean Eating. He doesn't want to be limited by me and my "wierd" cooking habits. He usually goes to Fry's and stocks up on bags of carbs and sugar for the week. Honestly, none of that stuff tempts me because I think Fry's has the worst bakery known to man. So it's easy to stay away from it. But this week he wanted Costco muffins. Have you ever had Costco muffins? They're HUGE and moist and come in amazing flavors like Pumpkin Spice and Apple Cinnamon Crumble. I bought him the muffins thinking no problem...until I opened the package for a "quicky" breakfast for the kids (knowing I shouldn't but that whole "time" issue was at play...) and that sweet smell wafted out to tickle my nose. (Ok, I'm getting a little corny...I'm no novelist...). I just had to have a tiny taste of a crumb ~ That's ALL (I told myself)...until suddenly the entire giant muffin had disappeared. Do you know how good those taste? THEN I picked up the packaging. It was healthy, I told myself. It's a PUMPKIN muffin. Pumpkin is soooo healthy. But pumpkin wasn't the #1 ingredient. White processed flour wasn't even the main ingredient. No...SUGAR was the main ingredient. No wonder it tasted so good. No wonder I wanted to eat more.
One irony about all these lifestyle changes I'm making is that people don't believe I'm a sugar addict! I'll tell someone I've just met (i.e. yesterday) about how I eat and they'll say "Oh, that's great. I could never do it. I have too big of a sweet tooth." Like I don't? I'm here to say I still struggle with this - every single day!
One episode of Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition really impacted me earlier this year when it was shown. A largely obese woman was talking about her food addiction and how hard it was going to be to change her eating. She said that for drug abusers, they can "just" stay away from drugs. Smokers can stay away from cigarettes (not to say it isn't a battle daily for them - BUT it is possible for them to avoid the source). But for a food addict, you can never stay away from the source. All people must eat daily. We have to have food, it's just not an option to not eat. Making the choice to eat the right foods IS. VERY. HARD. We can't drive down a main street in America without passing every sort of food temptation known to man.
I've read a lot of statistics over the past months and I'm terrible at remembering numbers, so I won't even attempt it. But I will give a broad summarization of them. Sugar addiction is the most costly and hardest-to-beat addiction in America. I believe it's also the leading cause of death. Whether it be death by diabetes or obesity or 1000 other health/weight related illnesses, including cancer. Sugar (also known as glucose or fructose) is a cancer cells main foodsource. Sugar is extremely costly. People spend more on medications to fight sugar-related illnesses than is spent on the entire drug war. And more people are dying of pharmaceutical drug overdose now than illegal drug overdose. This is a sad state of affairs we Americans find ourselves in. (please don't quote me - I am not a scientist or dr)
Statistics alone won't help a person make a lifestyle change. Watching one or two of the awesome videos out there (Food, Inc for one) isn't enough to make a lifestyle change stick. It's a great motivating start for a lifestyle change but in the end, it's not enough. There has to be a deeper reason to change a habit that has been built over decades. There has to be something or Someone greater that will help us to make right decisions when faced with 1000 temptations. And there has to be a whole lot of God's grace and help through the process. Because enthusiasm dies. And it's hard to press on despite the temptations. I encourage you to dig deeper. What's your reason? Who are you doing it for and why? Write it down - put it where you can see and remember. I WILL eat clean because...
So - is it easy? Is it easy for someone with a 30+ year addiction and 30+ years of bad habits to do a complete 180? No, it's not easy. But it IS worth it! It's worth it to see the weight fall off. It's worth it not to have trouble breathing. It's worth it to be able to bend over and pick up toys and trash off the living room floor without having to catch your breath in between bits and pieces. It's worth it to be off of all prescription medications. It's worth it to know (short of an accident of some sort) that I'm giving myself more time on the earth and for my kids. It's worth knowing what healthy is so I can teach it to my children. What an amazing legacy to pass on! Attaining Optimal Health is definitely worth it.
(Here are 3 of my Why's...isn't that photo hilarious? My fighters with their homemade pirates patches...they're definitely worth fighting for!)
It's not easy but YES it's worth it!