I’ve talked about the possibility of being addicted to sugar and more of the specifics on how sugar acts like a drug in some individuals. This post will cover the solution to kicking the sugar addiction, according to the book, Potatoes, Not Prozac.
I think the following best sums up a sugar addict’s solution to beating the sugar demons:
The solution is almost deceptively simple: if you eat the right foods at the right times, you can keep your serotonin and beta-endorphin at their optimal levels… Eating the right food is the ideal way to keep your brain chemicals in balance all the time (Potatoes, Not Prozac, p.88).
Those right kinds of foods recommended are proteins, complex carbohydrates, and vegetables. Each reduces blood sugar spikes, keeps you feeling full and satisfied longer, gives the body important nutrients and fiber, and aides in healing and bringing serotonin and beta-endorphin to steady levels.
Seven steps are presented in this book to wean you off sugar gently and adopt healthier habits:
- Eat breakfast with protein and a complex carb every day.
- Keep a food journal of what you eat and how you feel.
- Eat lunch and dinner with protein.
- Take recommended vitamins and have a potato before bed.
- Change from “white foods” to “brown foods.”
- Reduce or eliminate sugars.
- Come alive.
A typical characteristic of sugar sensitive persons is that they are sometimes impulsive or impatient. We want to be free of sugar NOW so we go off sugar “cold turkey” but end up feeling miserable, binging on sweets, and then being worse off than we were before! Dr. DesMaisons recommends working on each step one at a time before moving to the next in order to stabilize our blood and brain chemistry. Apparently there is more to healing a sugar addiction than simply cutting out all sugars on day one.
There is a whole process for healing addictive behavior embedded in the steps. Healing addition is key. The change of food heals your biochemistry and the process heals your behavior (Potatoes, Not Prozac, p. 94).
I am not going to attempt to explain each step in a single post; that would take too long! I’d like to summarize them as I work through them. Yep, I’ve decided to give this program a try. It looks sensible, the foods are healthy, and the recommendations don’t appear off the wall. (Although I am curious about that potato before bed recommendation!)
I also like that there are no specific menus I have to follow. The beauty of this program is that I can choose what I want to eat and how much. If I want turkey instead of eggs as my protein, so be it. If I want whole wheat bread instead of oats, that’s cool too. I think having the freedom to choose what to eat also helps with learning new and healthier behaviors and making them long lasting habits.
In the next “Adventures in Healing Sugar Addiction,” I’ll talk about step 1, breakfast.