concord institute courses writings

This Drug ruins lives

A strong assertion on the front cover of the G2 section of the Guardian last week lead into an article about the impact sugar has on our health and wellbeing, and a very welcome exposé on the dangerous aspects of Corn Syrup as a food additive. The full article makes for fascinating reading. Of course sugar is once again represented as the demon we must all fight against, yet I’m struck by the conflict and confusion this can generate. The War on ‘Terror,’ ‘Drugs,’ etc (take your pick of ‘public enemy’ options) invariably leads to the drawing up of defences. Confronting our relationship and desire for sweetness is a delicate subject, one broached gently, and with some degree of compassion. I’ve had cause to observe my own relationship with sugar over the past few months, which has just been augmented by a short experiment I am just about to take part in. This is the ’10 Day experiment,’ an invitation received as part of the Foundation Course I am undertaking, which involves bringing a certain level of awareness to the food I eat over a period of 10 days. I will be cutting out processed foods in general, and steering clear of processed Sugar, Coffee, Dairy and Animal Products. There are no hard and fast rules, no ‘diet,’ just a few guidelines to follow which will mean different things to each participant. The emphasis is on engaging with cooking, at least once a day, and pursuing satisfaction and nourishment rather than denying ourselves. Of course this is a challenge, particularly when faced with food choices in the world at large, where a quick scan of ingredient lists on the back of food packaging often reveals a frightening array of additives masquerading as food. In starting out on this experiment, I am already aware of cravings I have for sweet things, and I suspect also a level of addiction to processed sugar in my bones, which is borne of my childhood connection to sugary products as ‘treats’ or ‘rewards’ which somewhere deep down I still cling to, like a petulant teenager. So, my intention is to take part in this experiment with a great deal of curiosity, and compassion for myself. To notice the urges, emotions and feelings that arise, but to ask myself what it is exactly, that I crave, when I’m tempted to go for that biscuit or sugary snack. What is it I’m looking for, or maybe, what is it I’m trying to avoid? Sugar is rightfully coming under the spotlight as a major factor in our society’s malaise when it comes to health and wellbeing, but rather than looking to ‘stamp it out,’ and risk drawing up battle lines, I suspect we could all benefit from a little self-enquiry about our relationship with the sweet stuff.


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