Sugar + Honey + Frank

February 19, 2012

I’ve been refined sugar-free for six days now!

I’m feeling happier. I think there are two reasons: 1. Sugar causes mood swings and 2. I’m not hating on myself for sugar binging or not acting in integrity with what I want to be: healthy.

The cravings haven’t been too bad. I did eat a lot of dried fruit and nuts the first few days, and I’m eating more dairy than I usually do (which is barely any). But I’m ok with that!

Yesterday I bought some freshly-made organic yogurt and honey from the El Galpon Farmer’s Market in the Chacarita neighborhood of Buenos Aires (the only place I know of where you can get organic stuff in BA…). The yogurt comes in a big beautiful bottle and was delish with the super-dark grainy honey:

Argentine Yogurt and Honey, fresh from the farm.

Yes, honey’s technically a sugar but, unlike refined sugar, honey’s not toxic to your system, doesn’t cause dramatic blood sugar spikes (it may actually IMPROVE blood sugar control)  and has an insane number of health benefits: it’s anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral. You can use it to help heal burns and wounds, you can use it on your face to clear up acne (which I do occassionally). It can help with sore throats, allergies, even weight loss! As I’m reading more about honey the list is getting way too long (athletic performance, free radicals, cholesterol, immune system, anti-cancer…jeez!) so for more info check it here and here and here. (I’m pretty sure all of these are from raw honey, not the honey you by in a regular store, which is probably counterfeit honey from China.*)

Unfortunately, according to one of those honey sites, the answer to the question “How much honey can I eat every day?” is NOT “Eat as much as you can.” Damn.

Even the Bible mentions honey, according to the editors of Wikipedia. Funny honey quote:

“While Jonathan was passing through the woods during the war against the Philistines, he found honey dripping on the ground; he plunged his spear into it, and ate enough to restore his lost strength. He was, however, sentenced to death because he ate honey on a day of abstinence”.

D’oh!!!

 

So, this next part has nothing to do with sugar or honey, but… Well, actually, it does, in a roundabout way.

I was reading The Daily Love and came across this awesome blog by Mollie Angelhearthttp://thedailylove.com/always-come-back-to-love/

Some of my favorite bits:

“All those paths lead to one answer “we are all one and our only job is to be unconditional love and remember”.

It’s all in the remembering… From broken and alone to whole and complete and part of the whole that is The Uni-verse…

I am broken when I forget and whole and complete when I remember.”

Mollie’s bio led me to google the documentary she produced, May I be Frank, a documentary “exploring the transformations possible through healthy eating and positive thinking”:

Which looks AMAZING.

So, to tie this all together – I’m pretty sure Frank was eating way too much sugar. I haven’t seen the entire movie yet, so maybe honey even played a roll in his transformation.

I think we’d all do a little better with less sugar, more honey!

 

*If you are getting your honey from Walmart, Target, Cost Plus, Sam’s Club, Walgreen’s, Rite Aid, CVS, or individual packets from Smucker’s, McDonalds or KFC, there is a 70-100% chance that it’s not actually honey, as defined by the food industry (containing pollen), and could be watered down with high fructose corn syrup. Trader Joe’s honey, thank goodness, is legit.

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No, not those kind of dates. It really is an annoying name for a fruit. Every time I want to talk about them, I feel like I have to explain myself.

Dates. I just recently discovered them. Around May 1st, to be precise, when I started my 30 Day Ayurvedic Diet Challenge, and No-Refined-Sugar Challenge. Dates are one of the few fruits I’m supposed to eat according to Ayurveda (along with figs, apples, pears and persimmons – that’s it), so I decided to buy some at Whole Foods. And I liked them. A little too much. I started eating 5, 10, 15 a day. Probably too many.

Last Saturday I was at the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market and I came across a booth with SEVEN different kinds of dates. I bought a bag of Medjool (same as Whole Foods) I was shocked when I tasted them. They were SO MUCH moister and sweeter than the WF dates I’d been getting. The difference totally blew me away. I mean, I thought Whole Foods carried quality stuff. But these dates were AMAZING. No comparison. Delicious. I’ve been trying to shop at Farmer’s Markets more often, and I’m hoping that I’ll get to the point where I shop almost exclusively at FM’s. This date experience has really encouraged me to work toward this goal. I’m not sure if the bag I bought at the market was a pound or half a pound. I hope it was only half, because I ate the whole thing in 24 hours. I really don’t think I need to be ingesting a pound of ANYTHING in one day.

The funny thing is, almost every time I pick a date up (THE FRUIT), it makes me think of a cockroach. Obviously the resemblance isn’t strong enough to gross me out, but it’s still there. I actually believe that we should start eating bugs again. Yes, again. Do you realize that all primates eat insects? They eat bugs in Asia and South America. Our repulsion to eating insects is purely cultural. Insects are all protein, no fat. Insects are the most numerous life forms on the planet (aside from bacteria). They’re also cleaner than the other animals we eat – they don’t get the swine flu, or avian flu, or E. coli. You can’t get food poisoning from bugs. And I just did a little research on diseases – the only insects that transmit diseases are the ones that feed off of humans and human waste. Isn’t that kinda funny? It’s like we’re the impure ones that make ourselves sick. So yeah, the only disease-spreaders are mosquitoes, ticks, cockroaches and house flies. Obviously, these aren’t the kinds of insects I’m talking about. We’d be eating crickets, meal worms, cicadas, ants, larvae, worms. Insects are cleaner and cheaper and more eco-friendly than any other edible animal out there. If you had to do it, would you rather slaughter a cow, or “slaughter” a cricket? Animal rights activists don’t care about ants. And lobsters are arthropods, same as insects. Why is it ok to eat a lobster in the United States, and not a cricket? Why? Think about it. I mean, seriously think about it. Get past your conditioning and squeamishness and look at it logically and objectively.

I’ve actually given this a lot of thought over the past few years. My dad was a hobbyist entomologist. And today, I saw this brief article in Scientific American: http://www.scientificamerican.com/podcast/episode.cfm?id=entomophagist-calls-for-cricket-cas-10-05-19

Maybe we’re moving in the right direction. I get the feeling that I’ve gotta step up my game though. I’m sure I’ve eaten an insect as a novelty, but if I really believe this (which I do), I’ve gotta walk the walk. Lead by example, right?

All right. I found one. A restaurant in Santa Monica that serves insects.
This article give a good overview, and pictures!
http://www.la.cityzine.com/2008/01/16/weird-food-wednesday-typhoon/

Scorpion pizza, yum! Who’s going with me???????

(I’m serious).

This post is about my recent successes and failures in the challenges I’m doing for the month of May (no sugar, no alcohol, no caffeine, no dairy, no processed foods, etc etc).  I read today in Tal Ben-Shahar’s book Happier that it is the process of striving after goals – rather than actually attaining them – that makes us happy. Good news for those of us who aren’t perfect!

FAILURE = Missed a blog post again yesterday. BUT,

SUCCESS = I was also sugar-alcohol-caffeine free. This was with the added temptation of stopping at a Spanish friend’s birthday party at what looked like a fabulous tapas restaurant on La Cienega (La Paella). Y’all know that I love wine, and I LOVELOVE food. But I partook of  neither. I had mint tea instead. I was very proud of myself.

SUCCESS = I also haven’t logged on to Facebook at work AT ALL since April 30th. That is a huge accomplishment for me. I still allow myself to check Facebook on my Droid occassionally, but you can’t waste quite as much time on FB when you’re interfacing through a phone. So, WIN for me!

FAILURE = Haven’t been practicing harmonica. I always do this with musical instruments. I’ve figured out that I have some deep-seated fears around self-expression. I’m musically talented but after the initial rush (one week), I lose motivation. I remember this being a habit since I was in 2nd grade (at least)… So, I haven’t been practicing, but I DO want to become proficient, and I’ve already booked two gigs so…time to start practicing. Maybe visualizing will help…

SUCCESS = Have been meditating or doing yoga every day.

SUCCESS = Woke up at 5:45am this morning (internal alarm clock) and went to a 7am yoga class at Bhakti Yoga Shala in Santa Monica. My goal is to go to yoga 3 times a week. I did yoga on Sunday in Santa Fe (it was incredible, a gong was involved, I had no idea what an audible tickling a gong can give you if played correctly), so today was my second time this week! I felt wonderful afterwards (and for the rest of the day). Hoping that I’m forming a new habit. I really want to check out Yoga West, which specializes in Kundalini (my favorite type) and is much closer to my house.

I have a blog drafted about why I do these challenges that I haven’t written up yet. It comes down to that you grow through challenges. I’m treating my life as an experiment & trying out different modes of living.

I also realized while writing this post that exposure to failure is good for me. Somewhere along the way I picked up the belief that you should never fail. It’s been very rare in my life that I’ve actually tried to do hard or challenging things, and risked failure. Better to do the minimum, the easy stuff, and not try my best. Then if I do fail, I’ve got excuses to fall back on. So, committing to all these challenges, and posting this blog detailing my failures, is a huge step forward for me. Woo hoo! This fear of failure also ties into perfectionism and starting things, but never finishing them. I have about 10 blog drafts I’ve started in the last year that I still haven’t published. I don’t like to “finish” things because once they’re done, you have to put them out there. You’re exposed, you’re open to criticism; you’re open to failure. Of course, this belief isn’t even true – I can always go back in and edit a blog (which, actually, is what I’m doing now! LOL).

This is tangentially related – I should use this in my future, fleshed-out post on why I’m doing the all the crazy challenges – but I saw this quote on my good friend China Brook’s blog tonight:

“Your former habits of thinking and being must disintegrate before better ways of behaving can begin to integrate.”

-LWT

True dat! Check out her blog at http://chinabrooks.com/words/spiritual/

She’s my inspiration.