I was sick. I was desperate. And I resorted to what I always thought was a permanently unobtainable lifestyle for myself. I gave up refined sugar.
Here’s the background.
So a ridiculous amount of people in Fiji are sick, all with some mystery virus and sadly, I am one of those people. Thus far, it’s been 8 weeks and I am nothing but tired everyday.
I believe this picture, sums it up.
I wish the doctors would work it out already so I can tell people what awesome disease I have. I want to go to a party next year and tell everyone of the time I had zika/chikengunya/dengue/whatever this hell is.
And they will all look at me in awe.
And it will be awesome.
The doctor is talking about post-viral syndrome and chronic fatigue. I am currently filled with guilt for the way I treated Clare, when she had glandular fever followed by chronic fatigue in our early twenties. “WHAT? You’re too tired to come to this party with me? This party is only going to happen ONCE in our lives Clare. ONCE.”
So, while all the other volunteers went away to a beautiful island called Leleuvia for the weekend, myself and my friend, Phoebe (Phoebe = also ill, probably patient zero) had to stay in and watch movies.
The island I didn’t visit.
During the course of the evening, I thought it would be amusing to tell Phoebe what I consume on a daily basis. Really, I was just trying to get a laugh out of the fact that I drink Nesquik for breakfast. I achieved the laugh (because, let’s be honest, I should have pursed a career in stand up comedy) but it was not the type of laugh I wanted. It was a shocked “I don’t know what to do but laugh”. So Phoebe laughed and then followed it with
“Emma. You’re killing yourself.”
I reflected on this and decided I agreed.
And I ditched sugar.
It was hard. I feel like sugar consumption is an important part of my identity because, I think people are secretly impressed with how much chocolate I can eat.
My husband’s first memory of me is I came into his room, spotted a giant box of M&Ms and sat on the floor eating them for the next hour. We didn’t even talk, I just ate his M&Ms.
Everyone thinks I married Josh because his family own a confectionary warehouse. And they are right. I did marry him for this reason.
Caption: Josh is out tonight so I have selected my dinner.
Caption: I set a three minute record.
And now I have no sugar.
Who even am I anymore?
But I am desperate. I am sick of being tired and feeling like my mind is foggy. I need my mind back!
I immediately allocated Phoebe the role as Lord of my Nutrition. I took every word she said as golden, despite her extreme lack of any qualifications in nutrition or diet.
Phoebe, can I eat maple syrup? It’s 50% sugar. No. But Emma, you know I don’t make the rules?
Phoebe, can I eat breakfast crackers? Well they don’t really have sugar but they’re not nutritious. Emma, you know I don’t make the rules right?
Phoebe, how do I know if milk has added sugar? It’s flavoured.
So with the help of Phoebe, Lord of My Diet, I gave up refined sugar.
And during this fortnight of great and impressive determination I learnt many things.
Mainly from That Sugar Film (which is fantastic and I highly recommend).
- I learnt there is sugar in everything.
If you took everything with refined sugar off supermarket shelves you would lose 80% of products. Cereal, bread, sauce, spreads. So many things that I thought were healthy, are definitely not healthy.
- Research has found that rats are more addicted to sugar than cocaine.
I am a rat.
- Everything else
Sugar is a cause of anxiety, affecting my skin, sleep patterns, clouding my mind and probably going to kill me.
- And to top it off.
There was this video about a teenager named Larry who had his teeth pulled because he was addicted to Mountain Dew and then after the world’s most horrific dental experience Larry said he was still going to drink Mountain Dew.
I am Larry.
But it all came to an end
When my father-in-law (aka The Candy Man) arrived with all of my favourite things.
So I had a break from my sugar-free diet to resume the world of the delicious. Literally as I write this I am consuming a bag of starburst fruit chews.
But two weeks of commitment! And it was pretty good. It didn’t solve my illness which was definitely my high expectations of it. But it was still worth it and I’ll do it again. When I’ve finished the starburst.