Not-So-Sweet Emotions

I have an ambivalent relationship with sugar. My family has a history of adult-onset diabetes, and I’ve wondered if that’s part of it. It happens to be a food that I’m sensitive to, and interestingly, it’s my emotions that seem most affected. Sometimes I feel like I’m addicted to sweets, and crave them as a relief from stress. Once I go without any sweet treats for three days in a row, though, it seems I’m released from that cycle and am just fine without sugary foods.

On Samhain (Halloween), I gave up refined sugar and most other sweeteners (maple syrup, honey, etc.) until Winter Solstice. I’ve done this before, and I find it gives my body a break and a chance to cleanse. This time around, it was easy to stop eating it. I rarely had a craving, and when I did I ate a piece of fruit.

Over the weeks, I felt great. I was more centered, and had fewer instances of irritation or feeling upset. Sure, my emotions still rose and fell, but the waves seemed calmer and I rode along smoothly on top of them.

This week, I relaxed my sugar fast in recognition of the Thanksgiving holiday. I attended two celebrations, one on Tuesday evening and then Thursday’s Thanksgiving dinner at home. Tuesday night I ate a piece of chocolate pie and a few toffee bars. I felt fine at the time, but in the middle of the night I was hot. I threw off most of my blankets, which helped some. Then I woke up with my mind chattering away, worrying over things that wouldn’t normally concern me. Waking up in the night is very unusual for me; I’m normally a deep sleeper. Oddly, there was a part of my mind that was observing, and that part recognized the worries as somehow “artifical.” They seemed to be a clear result of the sugar I ate.

Yesterday I had dessert again, this time during the day. After everyone left, I felt kind of restless. I remembered something I had forgotten to do, and instead of shrugging my shoulders about it, I got really annoyed with myself. Again, pausing to reflect on my reaction, it seemed like part of me was just roaming around looking for something to be upset about. I’m thinking that it was the sugar again, agitating my feelings.

Now I’m back to the sugar fast. Though I’ll most likely indulge in some sweets at Yule and Christmas, I’m planning to make them an occasional holiday treat, and avoid sugars much of the year. It’s not that big of a sacrifice, especially since I feel so much better without them.

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