How do you give up coffee & sugar? Part II
January 15, 2011
After my No Complaining Challenge post, a friend posed this question:
My question to Michelle is, with these challenges, how do you make it through them? I have to give up two things I know my body is totally addicted to, Caffeine and sugar, for my health. I’m seeing a neurologist to try to spare myself of migraines. My doctor ordered a special diet to see if perhaps they are food allergies. There is practically nothing I can or am allowed to eat.
I would love some kind of tip, in how you look at your cravings when you get them, and keep yourself on track with your goal…
I had so much to say that I split the response into THREE parts! Thanks for inspiring me!
Click here to read Part I; here’s the summary:
First, it gets easier over time!
Second, reframing the situation by rewording my statements helped a lot.
Third, your body is not “totally addicted” to those things.
Fourth, I’ve realized that my cravings are distractions/addictions. They show up because I’m looking for something outside of myself to make myself feel better.
Honestly, I think meditation has helped me to control these impulses, and to put more of a gap between their urgency and my ability to make a conscious choice. I know meditation can be daunting; I knew for years that I should be doing it, but it wasn’t until I started taking classes with Cathy Heller and at UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center that I felt comfortable forming my own practice.
A friend of mine quit smoking with the mantra: ‘I am not an addict.’ You’re not An Addict. You’re a healthy person. You have control over your choices. What would a healthy person do? They wouldn’t eat something that was going to make them feel horrible afterwards.
Fifth, really sit down and figure out the big WHY behind your choice to change your habits. That’s going to be your main motivation. When I decided I wanted to give up certain foods so my psoriasis would go away, it made the moment-to-moment choices so much easier. Would I rather have clear skin, or would I rather have a cup of coffee?
The side effects become a secondary motivation. Seeing and EXPERIENCING how much better I look and feel when I’m eating healthy adds more motivation, and it starts snowballing. When I gave up intoxicants and crap food I felt healthier, happier, clearer, more energetic, vibrant, and alive. I stopped having mood swings and sad days, even when it was PMS time. By week three random people were complimenting me – even people who had no idea that I was on the cleanse: “Your skin looks great!” “You look radiant!” “You’re glowing!” My acne started going away; my psoriasis cleared up; my wrinkles started to fade (I’m serious – the furrow lines between my brows go away; they’re already practically gone and I’m on day 14 of my current cleanse).
From what I’ve observed in my own body, sugar/caffeine/alcohol seem to dehydrate my skin in a way that I can’t combat, no matter how much water I drink. Or maybe it’s just a subtle poisoning of my cells, I don’t know. Tangentially, there’s a doctor named David Servan-Schreiber who got brain cancer; he says sugar and processed food directly feed cancer. Check out this video.
Sixth, shop at Farmer’s Markets. This has made a huge difference in what I eat. The LA Times has an amazing interactive database that shows you all the Farmer’s Markets in Southern California. I did a one-month challenge with a friend last year during which we only bought food (produce) from Farmer’s Markets (even Trader Joe’s apples are shipped in from New Zealand!!!). Fresh fruits and vegetables simply taste better than what you’re going to find at a conventional store, and there’s more variety – one apple guy that I go to has 10 different kinds of apples that I’ve never heard of. Like Winesap. I learned to taste differences in apple flavors like I can taste the different notes in a wine. If there’s stuff I’ve never seen or cooked before – like sunroot, for example – I ask the vendor what I do with it. Some of them get really excited to share their knowledge. It makes healthy eating more fun and playful, more of a game. Also, by not shopping at conventional grocery stores, I don’t have to be tempted by or reminded of all the crap foods – cookies, ice cream, frozen foods, candy, dairy, etc – that I used to eat.
More to come in Part III!
“People tend to think of breakthroughs in medicine as a new drug, a laser, or a high-tech surgical procedure. They often have a hard time believing that the simple choices that we make in our lifestyle. What we eat, how we respond to stress, whether or not we smoke cigarettes, how much exercise we get, and the quality of our relationships and support can be as powerful as drugs and surgery. And they often are.”
– Dean Ornish, M.D.