Also, below I talk about specific foods which in some ED circles is a definite no-no because of possible trigger effects.
I have been food sober since December 20, 2015 – which also means I have not had any refined sugar – or sugary dessert stuff. I am pleased that today I am not craving sugar.
But I had an interesting sugar experience the other day that got me to thinking. My eating plan is three meals a day and a couple of “snacks” if I want them. At night a snack might consist of Sugar free jello or pudding. The Sugar-Free stuff also gets a bad rap from some in the ED world – I think because of the chemical additives, and that Sugar-Free might be the alcoholics equivalent of near-beer and set-up craving the real thing. I have not found that is the case for me, at all.
For breakfast I often have a farina type something or the other with raisins – we had that every Thursday morning when I was kid – along with a piece of fruit. In my food sober life I actually enjoy, cook, and taste food, as opposed to just shoveling it in. When I was at the store, I notice some dried blueberries and thought that might be a nice switch from the raisins in my farina. So I bought some, and a couple of mornings later, dutifully measured out the 1/4 cup of dried blueberries for my farina.
With the first bite, that familiar taste hit me. I looked at the package and sure enough, the third ingredient listed for these dried blueberries is sugar. I looked at the ingredient list for the raisins – no sugar. Now, I was a bit put off, but certainly was not in the least bit tempted to go over to the sugar bowl that still sits on the counter and shovel it in.
But I got to thinking – I thought back to the mid-1980s when I was sober for one year or so, while taking my mother to Joplin, Missouri to visit her aunt. At dinner the first night we had some stew dish that tasted so familiar, but I could not put my finger on it – turns out it was beef bourguignon. The aunt assured me all the wine was cooked out. The taste did not set-up a craving in me to head to the liquor store for a half-gallon of my favorite burgundy gut rot stuff – but there was just a real familiarity in the tasting. In the same way, I was in a store one time and could not get over how much I liked the smell of the lime after shave and again, could not put my finger on it until the clerk commented “Yeah, it has a really strong alcohol smell but that goes away after a while.” Or the factory loading dock with the barrels of distilled alcohol I walked through when newly sober.
And that got me to thinking about how 25 years ago, if the spring breeze was blowing and the temperature was just right, the bar across the street would be calling my name, and not for going in and having a coke either.
Today, I don’t knowingly eat any food cooked with alcohol regardless of the actual content when consumed – I just am not interested. Today too, as I wrote before, I am blown away how mangos taste so sweet yet do not set me up to want to get the sugar desserty thing that I know will set me on a binge.
Today, I choose to error on the side of caution with food in the same way I did when newly sober from alcohol and drugs. The only thing I truly miss is not having sugar in my hot tea. I find it interesting that my refusal to consume any alcohol related stuff has only gotten stronger over the past 30 years. I used to do a drop of communion wine in the distant past, but have not done so for five or more years. I am curious where the sugar issue will go. I am comfortable, one day-at-a-time, of not consuming sugar in the form of desserts, candy, and so forth – not even any King Cake for me this Mardis Gras!! And that just got me to thinking about pralines – but I’ll deal with that another day.
Since this past December 20, I have not had a craving for any food, and have had what I think is a reasonably easy time with my eating plan. In the next 30 days or so I will hit my goal weight and then the real work begins – maintenance. I have lost weight before – multiple times – it is not really that hard. But this time, I am extremely grateful that for the first time, I am working a 12-Step program and not dieting away the weight. The 12-Step program approach has allowed me for the first time to deal with my compulsive overeating beyond the food and weight issue. Instead, through a 12-Step program I understand how I use sugar the same way as alcohol and drugs to not live life on life’s terms.