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Through all my years of personal and spiritual development; reading 100’s of books, 1,000’s of articles, and attending retreats, I never knew the power of reducing this little ingredient from my diet. Its effect ruined countless relationships, nudged me to walk off almost every job, hospitalized me 3x times, and almost took my life. This is My Love Affair with Sugar.
I don’t know about you but I grew up in family where dessert was deliciously connected to every meal. My mom struggled with weight her whole life, even as a child I would remember her many starts and stops with Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig. Her sweet-tooth always won. My dad was a disabled Vietnam Vet who used pies, donuts, and ice cream to numb his depression and to ‘express’ his love for his 3 sons. My older brothers always ate sweets but never had any weight problems and neither did I…I was 145Lbs with 7% body fat from 15 years of age to 28. I could, and DID, eat whatever the hell I wanted.
Fast forward to the Spring of 2008…one of the darkest times in my life (and getting darker). My marriage of 3 years was coming to end and my 3 year old son, Gabriel, was going to be separated from me. My ex and I agreed we simply could not be with one another any longer. I began to sink into a black hole of depression and despair. I lost my job, my marriage, my son and was down to my last few hundred dollars. I needed a source of strength, healing, and breathing room to get my head screwed back on.
My Pranic Healing community was having an Arhatic Yoga Retreat in Mahwah NJ and I knew I needed to get my ass there asap. Using most of cash, I bought my ticket from Orlando to Newark NJ.
My plan was to attend the retreat, get some healing and perspective then spend a few months with my dad in MA to reboot my life. God had other plans. By end of weekend I had a place to live, a job, several powerfully cathartic healings, and a ready-made support system. And the Master Instructor charged me nothing. I was so grateful. Little did I realize, the sugar and its consequences were about to rear its ugly head.
In the mornings on the way to my new job, I would stop with my buddy to get coffee. Rarely did I drink coffee, but it was his treat. He got a medium LIGHT AND SWEET. For those of you who don’t know what that means, it’s a medium coffee with lots of cream and LOTS of sugar, about 4 heaping tablespoons. This coffee run quickly became a morning and after-lunch habit. I was hooked.
While looking for additional work I found an opportunity to work at a chocolate restaurant in New York City…yes, that’s right, a CHOCOLATE restaurant. So I began to consume my light and sweet coffees in the morning and after-lunch while consuming handfuls of white, milk, and dark chocolates in the evenings. Oh, I almost forgot…remember that Pranic Healing Community I mentioned earlier? Out of the generosity and love of their hearts….many times throughout the month there were celebrations of people’s birthdays and special events involving mango cakes, brownies, and Coke. Turn down FREE sweets? That’s a double hell no.
So what was the effect of consuming all this sugar and empty calories? Hospitalization 3 times in NJ and NY due to psychotic episodes of manic, depression, and anger. Doctors never asked about my diet or food sensitivities. I was simply held against my will for a period of 3 to 8 days and then eventually drugged. I gained 10lbs, picked random fights with people on the streets, grabbed my laptop and smashed it on my girlfriend’s floor in a fit of rage, suffered acute pains in the bursa of my arms and hips, and the balls of my feet and finally a suicide attempt where that original Master Instructor brought me back from the dead. And if you’re curious about that ‘light at the end of the tunnel’, its real…I assure you.
During these times of chaos I thought my emotional suffering and fits of rage were because of some unresolved issue with my ex-wife and missing my young son. Several close friends and Pranic Healers, recommend that I remove sugar from my diet and try juicing. I thought, “What are you guys talking about? Look how fit and strong I am? Sugar isn’t the reason I feel horrible all the time, its my situation.” So I continued to suffer due to my lack of awareness and negative pride.
Fast forward to present day, December 2012. I moved out to Denver to help expand Pranic Healing and Arhatic Yoga. In the month of December I wanted to try an experiment. “What if I greatly reduced sugar from diet and starting blending fruits and veggies daily?”
The results? In 6 weeks I lost 10 LBS, enjoy rock solid emotional stability, undisturbed sleep, and clearer thinking. I eat 5 pieces of fruits per day, almonds and dehydrated trail mix, no more desserts, morning shake has about $5 worth of supplements, fruits, and veggies, and the only sweetener I use is Stevia in my morning coffee. But here’s the funny thing, I STILL didn’t recognize the benefits of reducing sugar from my diet until I went to Wendy’s.
I ran out of health food, so I walked across the street to grab a chicken sandwich, fries (out of baked potatoes), and just for the hell of it, a SMALL Frosty. Within 2 hours, I became irritable, had acute pain in my right foot, and couldn’t think straight if you put a gun to my head. The next day, I realized what sugar how done to me over the past 20 years! Because it was ALWAYS in my system I couldn’t make an accurate comparison how it affected me. I learned food is a medicine that can heal or kill.
My question is, “What is an area of your life where lack of awareness and negative pride is destroying your efforts?” For me, it was as simple as sugar. For you, it could be lack of sleep, drinking, toxic relationships, negative self-talk, inability to forgive…or? My advice is to look at the obvious like, “Nah, it can’t be that.” Or use the feedback from those closest to you, if I listened to my friends about removing sugar I would have saved YEARS of suffering. Hopefully this story will save years for you.