Hey Sugar, Where’d the Vim and Vigor Go?

X 9.25.16

Sometimes I wonder if my healthy life choices are doing more harm than good. Since I quit drinking, I’ve been much more aware that grumpy moods are a regular part of my life. Since I went anti-inflammatory vegan (the quickest way I can describe my diet), I’ve noticed lulls in mid-day when I feel like I could pass out for hours.

sweet-potatoes-lentil-chili-homemade-ketchup

Sweet potatoes, homemade ketchup, homegrown cilantro, and lentil chili fill the void.

I’ve had my share of critics when it comes to how I live. Usually, they are friends or family members who care about me and want me to feel well. While I appreciate their concern, and while sometimes I doubt the path I’m on, I try not to ignore the long view of things.

I’ve always been unhealthy, to a degree. From bouts of depression starting at age 6, to multiple immune system issues spanning my entire life, I’ve never quite figured out the magic formula for health.

When I expressed my concerns about low vitality to Daud Scott and Sarah Kuretzky, who often write for this site, Daud came back with an answer about anti-inflammatory foods. I think he was on to something.

You see, even though I was avoiding foods that cause an allergic response in my body, I was still consuming massive amounts of sugar. In fact, my sugar intake over the last few years has grown to very high levels compared with years past. For about 4 years straight, I’d start every day with what I thought was a healthy vegan smoothie, but which I realized was contributing to a steadily growing sugar addiction.

So, beginning August 1, my wife and I took a hard look at our sugar intake and made some severe changes. She went on a Whole 30 diet, and I did a vegan approximation of the diet. I’ve been doing it now for almost two months and avoiding quick snacks, sweets, and junk food. Well, mostly. Full confession: I ate several vegan chili cheese dogs on white bread buns in Chicago last weekend, and inhaled two pieces of my mom’s fresh flourless vegan chocolate cake this morning.

And I think maybe this sugar avoidance is a (the?) missing key I’ve been seeking. A fog has been lifting from my mind, and my mood has improved. I still have anger flare-ups, but I feel a lot more alert and capable of dealing with stressful situations (usually).

I don’t believe my mindful choices are harming me, but sometimes I am frustrated with what seems like interminably slow progress.

Lastly, Daud has contributed a great new piece to our vegan health section and it will be up later tonight.

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