These are some of the questions I have had during this sugar cleanse. When you have an overgrowth of yeast in your body, it will crave and demand that you eat sugar to keep it alive. That yeast is fighting for survival and will use your cravings to try to control what you eat. Others have an almost drug-like dependence on sugar, using it to feel good, and keep a sugar high to get through the day.
For me, my desire for sweet has mellowed down a lot in recent years. I even did a lab test that checked my bacteria counts in my digestive tract to make sure that they were healthy and that I didn’t have a yeast overgrowth (everything looked good). But I still like a little sweet in my diet. In recent months, I’ve enjoyed them a little too much, so getting back to a serving of fruit a day has been really good for me. It’s made me pay attention to when I want something sweet. Sometimes it’s just for the enjoyment of it, other times, it’s because I am tired and looking for a pick-me-up. Now that I’ve been carefully only eating an apple or orange here and there, when I have a banana, or a Nut Butter Banana Smoothie, it seems so satisfyingly sweet.
I know that many of you, and some of my fellow bloggers are against fruit or any added sweeteners in general. There are some important arguments to be made in that direction. Yet, when I consider the fact that from birth we are attracted to sweet-the taste of our mother’s milk, I wonder if a complete denial of sweets is……natural. Granted, there are many sweet things to be found in nature that don’t contain a high glucose or fructose count. Cooking methods can help bring out the sweetness of certain vegetables too. Caramelized onions give a lot of sweetness, for example. I don’t know about you, but I would hate to leave sweetness completely behind. I just don’t want my taste buds high-jacked by refined sugar, or even too much natural sweeteners.
Perhaps some ancient Hebrew proverbs on honey are helpful, whether or not you are Jewish or Christian.
“My son, eat honey, for it is good, and the drippings of the honeycomb are sweet to your taste.” (Proverbs 24:13)
Honey, in its pure, raw state is full of incredible nutrients and enzymes, and it is “sweet to your taste”. This proverb tells us to enjoy this wonderful food. If you are in the camp that says, “Never have any sweetener, natural or not”, this proverb is one for you to consider. Eat, honey, for it is good.
But if you’d like to run with that proverb and make it your eating motto, consider the following two proverbs that balance the first one out a bit.
If you have found honey, eat only enough for you, lest you have our fill of it and vomit it. (Proverbs 26:16)
It is not good to eat much honey, nor is it glorious to seek one’s own glory. (Proverbs 25:27).
Moderation is the key. It is not glorious to seek one’s own glory, and it is not good to eat too much honey. If you have honey (which, admittedly we all have access to a lot of honey, or whatever other sweeteners we want), don’t eat too much. In our times, eating moderately every time we come across something sweet is a bad idea. A little cake there, a blended drink here, a cookie there, ends up piling up into a lot of sweetness. Our ideas of moderation are probably quite different from ancient standards!
Eat honey, for it is good, but don’t eat much of it!
In the end, I don’t feel obligated to never have a naturally sweetened treat, or a ripe luscious fruit. I think that our desire for sweet is a natural, and good phenomenon that helps us enjoy really great food. But I also recognize that in our world, it can be difficult to truly eat moderately of sweets. For us, making most of our food at home has been key to controlling that. Secondly, a little dose of self-control has been in order too.
That’s why I love doing a cleanse once a year (at least). It helps me practice self-control, which spills out into the rest of my year. It also helps reset my taste buds so that I can truly enjoy moderately sweetened food.
My sweet little daughter is off of sugar and fruit, with the exception of a little applesauce, for a couple of months. This means that my consumption of sweets is naturally cut-down. But once things are back to normal, I am going to reinstate our once a week dessert. During the week we can have in-season fruit, and then on the weekend, I will make a dessert that we can really enjoy. We’ve found that if we know that we are having a dessert on the weekend, it gives us something to look forward too and help us not feel deprived in anyway.
Moderation is key, yet can be so hard to achieve.
A final proverb to consider:
“One who is full loathes honey,
but to one who is hungry everything bitter is sweet.” Proverbs 27:7
If we are overfed, especially if we are overfed on highly sweetened processed foods, we may find that we don’t enjoy moderate sweets. Our problem is not that we can’t enjoy moderation, it’s that we are simply full too often. Every year I am struck with the thought that while it can be so hard for many Americans to say “no” to the abundance around us, so much of the world just wants to eat and be full. So, if you are finding that it is hard to enjoy moderate sweets, or, for that matter, healthier “clean” foods, just perhaps, you aren’t hungry enough. Hunger, after all, is the best sauce.
Do you have any thoughts to add to my musings?