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No sugar. Day two.

You wake up and make a smoothie for breakfast. With banana, berries, and a bit of naturally-vanilla-flavored whey protein it’s actually pretty good. Things are going well. You threw away your bagels and bread, so you’re not too tempted.

Then you go into a Target or a grocery store or really any store that might have food. There are plenty of things to see, but your eyes seem to go right to the cookies. Maybe you never even noticed them before, but now they seem to be everywhere. Donuts, snack bars, candy, cookies, soda. It’s everywhere! You hurry past, pushing your cart ahead of you as though it’s a battering ram that will break through this wall of sugar.

As you shop you start to feel that small ache in your stomach. Hunger. Or at least that’s what you’ve been trained to believe. You add some nuts and some berries and a big bottle of water to your cart. You try to ignore the ache in your stomach. It’s hard, though, when candy and sugar are everywhere you turn. Even when you’re not in the food section, chocolate covered pretzels or bags of candy adorn the ends of the aisles. Broken away, for a moment, from the endless cycle of sugar, you begin to see what those conspiracy theorists are talking about.

Sugar – the ultimate drug. Legal, seemingly harmless, and so, so addictive. Taken first thing in the morning, it sets you up for a constant up/down/up/down cycle all day. The sugar hits your blood stream fast and makes you feel good. But it leaves almost as quickly. You crash and you have to have more. And why not have more? It’s everywhere! How can something so ubiquitous be bad?

Not only is it addictive… it’s highly profitable. So much more profitable to sell a processed, food-like substance full of sugar than to plant, harvest, and sell a fresh fruit. In a Super Target, the fresh fruit all fits on one small display. The refined sugar products are EVERYWHERE.

photo credit: sodahead.com

You’re starting to get a little overwhelmed by the whole thing. The best thing is just to get out of there. You hurry to the front of the store and get in line to checkout. You’re bombarded, yet again, with a seemingly endless display of sugary foods and drinks. And now that you’re paying attention, you realize that you’re also bombarded with the tokens of a society obsessed with weight, appearance, sex, money, and material goods. Gossip magazines, “beauty” magazines, photos of anorexic women and “fat” women, tales of celebrities’ latest sexcapades, and through it all, the not-so-subtle implication that if you would just lose weight, get a boob job, and have lots of money, you’d be happy. But in the meantime, why not have this super-king-sized Twix bar?

photo credit: nytimes.com

You pay and hurry out, feeling that you’ve only just managed to escape from some kind of twilight-zone-like prison that would have ensnared you and kept you captive your whole life if you’d let it. You munch on your raw almonds and berries and you remind yourself that in just two short days the sugar cravings will be much better. This is withdrawal. You’re quitting a drug. It’s hard but you can do it.

So yeah, day two of no sugar is going…. well.