So I was working on another post for today, but as the No Sugar Detox week is concluding, I wanted to air my perspective, whether or not people read it.
There’s been a lot of hype about it, good and bad. To be honest, I’ve struggled back and forth between sides, but I didn’t realize at first that you don’t need to really choose a side.
For those of you who don’t know about this trend, mindbodygreen hosted a sugar detox this week, and encouraged people to join in by eliminating all added sugars (even the “unprocessed” ones, such as maple syrup, honey, etc.), as well as limiting one’s fruit intake. I actually believe it’s good to not eat sugar unless it comes from fruit, and have done a few sugar detoxes before to show my support of the trend.
Well, this trend has caused polarization in both directions. Some jumped right on the bandwagon and axed sugar completely from their diets. Others rebelled, demanding answers as to why we should be telling someone how to eat or demonizing foods.
I’m going to be honest. I was waffling between both camps. However, by choosing a side, I felt as though I was completely invalidating the other side. I never want to close myself off to another’s perspective. No one person is completely right. No one person is completely wrong.
There’s an area of grey.
I decided to abstain from the sugar detox, but I did not jump into polar opposite group either. See, I do believe that sugar is bad for me personally. This is just my opinion, and in no way do I have any authority to tell someone what’s right or wrong for his or her body. I stay away from sugar because I struggled with severe depression, debilitating anxiety, and (annoying AF at times) OCD. Doctors were pushing me drug after drug, trying to alleviate my symptoms, when in fact it just augmented them (and added a whole slew of other symptoms, i.e. constant thirst, severe withdrawal side effects if I missed a dose, weight gain, inflammation, a never-ending tiredness no matter how much I slept).
Long story short, I made the decision to ditch meds (*NOT* something I recommend until you have a doctor that can talk you through the process or determines that it is best for you), and took a solid look at my diet. While I was already gluten-free because of an allergy, I used to eat tons of processed sugar substitutes (lookin’ atchu, sugar alcohols, Splenda, really any sugar I consumed in those days), and relied on caffeine like no other so I cut those things out of my diet for 30 days.
A month later, I was literally a new person. My mood was stable, my OCD symptoms were lessening, my anxiety wasn’t as heightened, and I felt so happy and hopeful for once in a really long time.
So for me, depression was a symptom of my sugar consumption, and my OCD and anxiety were made way worse because of it as well. Now, I only stick to sugars that come from fruits and occasionally use maple syrup or honey as a sweetener (but I really don’t ever feel the need to sweeten things because now even a little bit is too sweet for me!). For me, cutting sugar has helped me tremendously in my journey to being the most authentic “Britt” that I can be, among other things.
That being said, I don’t want to ever push my beliefs on anyone, be it for or against a certain type of food, way of eating, way of living, etc. I can only offer up what works for me, and if I can inspire someone else in a positive way, that’s wonderful. I think that’s great for the people that are cutting out sugar if it’s right for them, and it’s totally fine if they’re not. I don’t think it would be right of me to ever judge someone for how they eat because I truly believe that nutrition is as personal as a thumbprint. Not everything works for everyone, and that’s the beautiful part of being human.
My issue is not with the promotion of doing a mass sugar detox. My issue is with the reactions to the sugar detox, both for and against. In my eyes, the sugar detox was never meant to make someone feel bad if they consume sugar, and it also never deserved the criticism that it received, stating that it was trying to vilify a food. In my eyes, the sugar detox served as a support system for people who want to try not eating sugar to see how it affects them personally because, let’s be honest, sugar is addictive. There are studies.
And it’s hard to quit something alone. So in that sense, I totally commend anyone who is offering support to others to get through the five days sans the sweet stuff. But it should never come with the caveat of shaming someone else for not cutting out sugar. Just like some people who do eat sugar shame those who participated in the detox.
We’re all one community. We should be supporting each other, not tearing one another down. I don’t judge someone for eating gluten, and I hope people don’t judge me for not. I also don’t judge people who are vegan, vegetarian, paleo, dairy-free, etc., because who am I to tell someone how to live? If it’s good for my own body (regardless of whether or not it is for someone else), I’m going to do it, and if it’s not, then I won’t. Simple as that.
Plus, does it honestly feel good to spread hate? Does it feel good to bring someone else down because you feel criticized? No, it doesn’t. It makes you feel even worse. So why not inquire as to why someone does or doesn’t do something? Why not try to understand where that person is coming from? Why not respect and celebrate someone if they’re doing what’s best for them personally?
I don’t know about you, but that feels so much better to me. And it’s also the easier route! I’m sorry for the longwinded spiel, and if you got through this, seriously you are a rock star! I’ll just leave it at this: if you did the sugar detox and loved how you felt afterwards, that’s AMAZING. If you did it and noticed nothing, that’s AMAZING because you now have more information about your body! If you didn’t do it at all, that’s AMAZING too! You do you, Booboo!
I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend! Let’s spread some love and positive vibes!