Often when we think of sobriety, alcohol is the first thing that comes to mind. But the reality is that we could apply the concept of sobriety to almost anything. Sobriety can pertain to the quality of refraining from excess and keeping within moderation of well, nearly any substance.
With my background in nutrition and passion for helping people connect to their emotions in order to address root causes of illness, I think the concept of sobriety and food pairs perfectly together. We can become addicted to food as a coping mechanism and tool to deal with our feelings and emotions. In a nutshell, we can eat to avoid feeling sad, angry, unhappy, guilt and even fear.
Not only do we do this with food, but also with sex, shopping, drugs and relationships.
Very few people will argue that heroin, morphine and painkillers are highly addictive substances. These substances help the body to suppress pain, reduce anxiety and give us boosts of good feelings.
But did you know that consuming sugar can have a similar effect?
Sugar addiction is a real phenomenon and can be serious enough, for some, that it requires cutting out this toxic refined substance for good. Sugar can mess with our hormones, nervous system and contribute to anything from weight gain to PMS and foggy thinking.
Some scientists have even claimed that consumption of sweets or sugar could have a heroin addiction like effect on the human body. Sugar can affect opioids and dopamine in the brain and as a result, might have addictive potential.
Getting Off of Sugar
If you have ever tried to remove sugar from your diet through a cleanse, detox or simply just trying to “get off the white stuff”, you might have experienced for yourself the feelings of withdrawal, cravings and bingeing. Not easy for the sugar addict. It can put an addict on a rollercoaster of emotions of highs and lows and make him pull out his hair in trying to cope with a sugarless diet.
As good as sugar may seem to make us feel and delicious as it may taste, it can also lead to many health problems in both the short and long term and leave us seeking sobriety on the road to recovery. I’ve watched clients, friends, family members and even myself over the years battle with sugar addiction and go to the extreme to kick this bad habit.
Just a Little Bit Won’t Hurt, Will It?
Going sugar-free is a challenge unlike no other in the world of food addiction. We have very little control over the hormones and chemical reactions occurring in our body once we have stopped injecting our body with sugar.
When we finally do wean ourselves off and go completely “sugar-free” all it takes is one tiny slip up, one bite of the birthday cake, and for the sugar sensitive person, it can send their body into orbit, recreating the addiction cycle all over again.
If you find yourself unable to get through the day or the afternoon slump without a hit from the sweet stuff, if you fantasize about cupcakes with frills of frosting or just couldn’t fathom living without your favourite chocolate bar, there’s a good possibility that you may be addicted to sugar.
If you are willing to get sober from the refined white stuff and go through what may very well be a challenging time of possible rollercoaster highs and lows, your body will thank you, your brain will function more optimally and who knows, your thinking may become clearer. A sober body can make for a sober mind.
Jacquie Robertson, RNCP, ROHP, is a Certified Nutritionist practicing clinical nutrition, specializing in hormone imbalance, PMS, digestive health and depression. Her mission is to educate, empower and inspire women to heal themselves naturally through the use of food as medicine, hormone balancing, emotional wellness and self-love. Jacquie offers both in person and online 1-on-1 nutritional coaching and women’s health workshops through her private practice. Jacquie holds a BA (Honours) from McMaster University, diploma from Centennial College’s Workplace Wellness & Health Promotion program and is a graduate from the Institute of Holistic Nutrition.
For more information on Jacquie, please visit www.jacquierobertson.com.