So this is the truth about refined sugar. It’s not pretty, but you can’t escape the truth. It will find us. Maybe dead.
Not only does sugar wreak havoc on the system, sugar calls to us. Sugar rules us. Sugar prompts us to do crazy things. (If you don’t believe me, observe a room full of young children about 30 minutes after eating cake.)
Like cocaine, derived from the coca plant using a complex chemical process, sugar (as we know it) is a supersaturated solution created by heavily processing sugarcane or sugar beet plants. Sugar may not be as harmful to a life as cocaine, but they come to us in similar forms. A plant that’s been refined and treated and adulterated to create a highly addictive white powder.
The universe echoes with this message: if you mess too much with creation, if you abuse the genius of creation, you will suffer. Let it be. Seek balance.
Does it ever occur to us to regard a chocolate chip cookie with awe? Do we consider the farmer who grew the wheat, or the laborer who cut and sifted the wheat, or the machine that ground the wheat into flour? What about the child laborers in Africa producing two-thirds of the world’s chocolate? And who laid the eggs? Who churned the butter?
Most modern people, especially Americans, don’t think this way because the cookie arrived in front of us on a shiny silver platter. But a cookie is more than a cookie. A cookie can embody the pain of child laborers and abused animals.
On the other hand, the earth grows a mango and offers it to man, asking nothing in return.
Sugar perpetuated slavery. Sugar influenced the transition to indentured labor. If it wasn’t for sugar, maybe we could all work a little less and enjoy a little more, maybe when the sweet tooth attacks (an evolutionary mechanism to attract humans to fruit because fruit nourishes) we could reach for fruit instead of candy.
I’m not trying to preach or alienate or eschew cupcakes. I eat sugar. I took my family to ice cream on Father’s Day and enjoyed every bite of it. We need to be gentle with ourselves, too. Sugar has been around for centuries. We grew up with sugar. We’re hard-wired to love our sweets. It’s only natural.
But we can be better, we can cut back, choose wisely, find balance. We can reach for the mango instead of the cookie at least a few times a week. We can buy strawberries for our children instead of fruit snacks. We can seek out fair trade chocolate. We can drink iced tea instead of soda, and we can sweeten our tea with raw honey instead of the white stuff.
How do you feel about sugar? How many times per day do you eat refined sugar? Do you care about cutting back on your sugar intake? Do you need help breaking the sugar habit? If you consciously limit your sugar intake, how do you do it?