Sattvic Eating And A Drug Called Sugar
by Angela Pennington
|When Mother handed me a sweet treat as a child, it never occurred to her that she was feeding me a drug. Sweets were a natural addition to a healthy meal and were a focal point during holiday events. My rich family heritage ensured the next generation would understand the importance of cakes and breads.|
Every day, our family gathered for a sit down dinner. Together we enjoyed wonderful home made meals which always included some form of meat, salad, vegetable, starch and bread. Of course, two hours later we met up once again in the kitchen for dessert. At the time, I didnít realise I was learning ďfood ritualsĒ, and I most certainly did not know that one day I would have to re-script those behaviours in order to secure my good health and long life.
Iím not exactly sure when the lightening flash occurred, but on January 1, 2012, my new lifestyle came into being. On the first day of eating ďcleanĒ, I discovered Sugar infiltrated my diet through coffee and excessive carbohydrates. As it happened, I had a book written by Suzanne Somerís called ďGet Skinny on Fabulous FoodĒ. Inside, she talks in depth about carbohydrates and how the body processes them, here is a short form of what she says:
Sugar and starches are carbohydrates. When we eat carbohydrates, they break down into glucose, causing blood sugar to rise. When blood sugar rises the pancreas secretes insulin. Insulin balances the blood sugar by carrying the glucose to the cells, where it will be burned off as energy. If we eat a lot of carbohydrates at one time, the insulin levels go too high for the cells to manage and this creates insulin resistance. When the blood sugar is not accepted by the cells, it is converted and stored as fat; which makes our blood sugar drop. This causes us to feel tired, hungry and crave more carbohydrates. The only way to stop this cycle is the keep the blood sugar level.
When I learned how the body cycled, it allowed me to look at the way I eat from a much different perspective. Of course, I had to begin with removing sugar from my diet, it wasnít easy. I chronicled my experience:
Please Note: The following information is not intended as medical advice from me or ACVA. It is my personal opinion and experience with major dietary changes.
My Process of Detox
Week One: Detox Symptoms: Splitting headache, nausea, fatigue, upset stomach, body aches, brain fog, no concentration.
Week Two: Mild headache, intermittent brain fog and nausea, tired, depressed, feeling chronically hungry, no concentration and completely unproductive.
Week Three: Feeling better, light brain fog, hunger increasing at meals, minor fatigue.
Week Four: I feel great!
During the first two weeks of detox, it became clear to me that sugar and drug addiction are not so different. In my research, I discovered an article called ďEvidence for sugar addiction: Behavioral and neurochemical effects of intermittent, excessive sugar intakeĒ authored by Nicole M. Avena, Pedro Rada and Bartley G. Hoebel from the Department of Psychology at Princeton University. These scientists have found evidence of how sugar effects the brain and body as well as behavioral similarities between sugar addicts, alcohol and drug addicts. This made a lot of sense to me because on day four of detox, the stomach sickness was so intense I ate a few saltine crackers to take the edge off. Fortunately, I was not a soda pop or candy person. For consumers of pop and candy, these items may need to be detoxed individually before lowering carbohydrates.
My Physical Results
Almost three months sugar free, without a doubt, my body has undergone a chemical change. My taste buds are highly sensitive to sweet and bitter. Itís a little embarrassing ... I can now taste my food. My skin is more radiant and under eye dark circles are fading. Sleep is better. Occasionally, I crave sugar; I resist and my body draws on stored fat. Iím down a dress size. The blood sugar is not chronically bouncing up and down, Iím not as hungry and as a result my plates are getting smaller and snacks have diminished greatly. My body and mind are now dialoguing!
My Mental and Emotional Results
I live in Seattle and coffee is a cultural experience here. In my sugar days, I went to Starbuck's, ordered a Carmel Caffe Latte, pumpkin bread and socialised. Sugar is a social drug, so I had to limit my exposure to coffee shops. To my amazement, while giving up sugar, I have also kicked coffee. To this day, I crave a 7pm dessert. This has been hard to overcome because its so connected to my childhood and deceased mother. So, I gave myself permission to have a sugar free evening treat. Overall, emotionally I feel steady and non-reactive. Mentally, there is more focus.
My Spiritual Results
Dietary change has helped me ground into my body and at the same time created a crystal clear connection to the spiritual realm. All my senses are heightened. A very positive impact on my work in Jyotish. Iíve noticed when reading a chart, Iím connecting more instinctively. Definitely, I am a clearer channel for the light of the Jyotir Vidya to work through. Meditation is easier and Iíve begun learning Kriya yoga, which I can see is going to rapidly increase my spiritual awareness.
Here in this body are the sacred rivers; here are the sun and moon, as well as all the pilgrimage places. I have not encountered another temple as blissful as my own body.
- Saraha Doha
By removing sugar, I naturally eliminated processed foods which by default increased my vegetable and protein intake. I have had to make more careful fruit and vegetable choices. No more fruit juice or pasta. Sprouted brown rice only. Other things have started happening too. Iíve noticed I no longer drink a beverage while Iím eating and Iím starting to eat more slowly and chew more. I feel my body is settling into itís true nature. Cooking is no longer a chore, itís become an honour to feed my physical temple.
As I progress in Jyotish, I have learned to examine the impact of food on my physical and subtle bodies. Truly it makes all the difference.
Disclaimer: Please note that this article has been provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice.
Angela Pennington is a Graduate of ACVA, Jyotish Visharada CVA and an ongoing student in the study of Jyotish. A natural entrepenuer, she has owned and operated a wide variety of businesses over the years. Angela currently works as a Vedic Astrologer, professional Tarot Reader and Teacher in Goddess studies. At present, she is recording talks on how to Subdue Anger and Embrace Loving Kindness. Visit Angela at www.angelapennington.com and friend her on Facebook!