by Darshana Weil
I kid you not, as I sat down to write this article I had a handful of carob chips in my hand.
Now wait, isn’t the title of the article 3 ways to KICK a sugar habit. What’s Darshana doing eating carob chips?
Exactly. If you got hung up when I said the words carob chips (sugar) I want to invite you to turn your attention to the word HANDFUL.
I didn’t say a bag, I didn’t say I just spent an hour eating sugar. I just said I had a handful.
The key to enjoying food, being healthy and KICKING HABITS is the FREEDOM. Freedom means you can say no or YES anytime you want. You are not a slave to your habit or bound by momentum that sugar has on you. The choice is yours — all the time.
Kicking a habit is actually the ultimate expression of letting go.
So unless there is something juicy on the other side why would you do it?
In honor of this months theme for the Yoga Tree Newsletter Explore, Expand & Enjoy! I thought I would enlighten you to examine what’s on the other side of kicking something as divine as SUGAR.
I know I have found pleasure in more places than a chocolate bar.
Curious? Read on….
Step #1: Get direct access to your experience
OK, lets get real? Why do YOU want to kick a sugar habit? Is it because you read somewhere that sugar is bad for you? You “know” that sugar has side effects and can lead to long-term health issues? Diabetes runs in the family?
I will be honest, these questions and answers will not motivate you to change anything. Questions of the mind just keep you spinning.
Unless there is a direct experience to how you feel before and after diving into the sweet treats there is nothing you can do about it.
How do you gain direct experience? This is the question I want to invite you to chant all night and day. It’s a question that leads you toward presence.
While on your purple sticky mat in yoga class do you find yourself connected to sensations, breath and energy? That experience is exactly what I want to train you to look for when you find yourself reaching for something sweet. Can you take that meditative, mindfulness into the snack room? Doing this will deepen your direct experience and make the desire for kicking the sugar habit more personal.
Step #2: Get nourished
There are at least two kinds of folks out there:
Category #1: Those that eat on the go, munching on foods that are void of actual nutrients and snack all too often instead of eating real meals.
Then there are those of you in category #2 reading this article that have “the perfect organic whole foods diet”.
No matter where you stand on the map, after 16 years of being a food freedom coach I will tell you this: there is SOMETHING missing from your diet.
That something is most likely …….nutrition.
For those of you in category #1 the food freedom basic 4 are needed ASAP. To recap from last months article: grains, greens, sweet vegetables and protein.
And I will emphasis two of the four right now:
SWEET VEGGIES AND PROTEIN:
SWEET VEGGIES or as I like to call it soothing sweets are mild sweet vegetables. Foods like carrots, sweet potatoes, parsnips, rutabaga, corn, beets, and winter squash.
When these vegetables are cooked they have a deep sweet flavor. The more you incorporate these vegetables in your diet it actually relaxes your spleen and pancreas. The spleen and pancreas are part of the earth element in Chinese medicine. The flavor for earth is sweet. When we have too much sugar, especially in an extreme form (white sugar and stuff like that) we run the risk of exhausting the pancreas. Because the pancreas is responsible for the release of insulin and insulin helps regulate the blood sugar in your body the last thing we want to do in run our pancreas into the ground. That can lead to diabetes.
Therefore eating soothing sweets allows you to enjoy the delight of sweets while at the same time honoring your body.
As for PROTEIN I cannot emphasis this enough when it comes to kicking a sugar habit- eat protein at every meal!!
What kind of protein? That is a whole other topic that I wont get into right now- but whether you are a vegan, vegetarian or omnivore try it, eat protein at every meal and let me know what you discover about your cravings. OK?
For those in category #2 I want you to look at other nutrients that may be lacking. Among those nutrients, but not limited to, are: Vitamin L, Vitamin T, Vitamin R.
What do those mean?
These vitamins are essential to spending less time in sugar land and more time in fulfilled life land. Sugar habits all too often are the signal that we are looking for the sweetness of life.
Do you know an area where you may want to add more sweet? Not sugar.
Step #3 Give yourself permission
One of my spiritual teachers believes that if we crave something, anything we should dive into it deeper. If you smoke, smoke more. If you party , party more, if you eat sweets, eat more.
As a yogi you may be thinking this is absorb. What about Brahmacarya- abstinence or moderation. Well my teachers thinking is this: if you are sitting on the meditation cushion and all you can think about is sugar, sex, smoking, work….its better to go do that and exhaust the craving out of your system until you no longer think about it. Then you are free and your mind will be quiet.
But here is why I share this …
How many of us think we are giving ourselves full permission to do something only to have this quiet, or not so quiet, voice in your head saying, “You shouldn’t”, “You know better”, “ You are gonna regret that” and so on and so on.
Your judger is ready to pounce on you at any moment. Giving yourself permission to HAVE IT ALL , ANYTIME starts to mess with the judger.
You can’t possibly make change when you are constantly at odds and judging yourself.
I want to invite you to give yourself 100% permission to HAVE all the sugar you want, ANYTIME, you want it.
Now before you go off on a binge I want to say this: you MUST bring your mindfulness practice along with you. This was the main point of my teachers indulgence practice. With out mindfulness its just purposeless play and just that indulgence.
For example choose a food. For me it was ice cream. There I was giving myself permission to stand in the freezer and pick the brownies out of the chocolate fudge brownie ice cream. But when I stopped and “meditated’, brought my yoga to the kitchen. I felt the cold of the freezer, something I had never noticed before. And the truth is I hate being cold. As I slowed down I noticed that the taste of brownies was really intense. At first I liked it, the deep , rich chocolate ,the velvety texture in my mouth and the satisfaction of chocolate in my belly. But each night I ate the brownies, in a mindful manner I also started to notice the rest of my body – I was hardly breathing as I ate, my legs were tense and I was looking over my shoulder to make sure no one was coming. I started to notice a cramp in my stomach after every indulgence. Something I was blind to before. I hadn’t realized how much I checked out when I ate sugar. Yet the more present I became the more I realized how uncomfortable I was after indulging.
My conclusion: I was not fully enjoying my sugar experience. I started to question why I was continuing, night after night to indulge. This was not the juice I wanted from my life. I was mixing up freedom, choice and pleasure with sugar.
This realization was one of the pivotal moments in my life. For it was through accessing my own experience, getting nourished and giving myself permission that I found my true calling, my passions and the real sweetness I desired.
What will you find on the other side of a sugar habit? Honesty I don’t know. What I can tell you is this. At first people often feel the high, the energy and a lift from sugar. And the truth is you do get those benefits. So they think to themselves, why would I give this up? It’s pleasurable. Yet I have found that those same people, if they stick to the practices, notice a low, a drop of energy and even health related issues directly linked to their sugar habit.
They realize that this vicious cycle is keeping them stuck in patterns and health problems. They realize they spend too much time thinking about the next sweet they will have instead of living their purpose. Once they make the deeper connections they begin to realize what’s possible and the deliciousness of life.
And once you taste that sweetness, your truth, and potential not even your favorite candy bar can fill that spot.
These tips are just the beginning of a path to know yourself through your relationship to food.
If this wets your appetite come join me this April for the FOOD FREEDOM FOUNDATION’S 10TH ANNIVERSARY: Cleanse and Renew: A 3- week springtime cleanse on April 15, 22, 29, 2012
Details are below.
Here’s to your food freedom!
Darshana Weill is a Food Freedom Coach and yoga teacher. She founded 9 Months to Food Freedom; A program where women gather to cultivate a peaceful relationship with food and their bodies. She works with individuals and groups. She also teaches a variety of health related workshops around the Bay Area, Santa Cruz and nationally.
WORKSHOPS DARSHANA TEACHES AT THE YOGA TREE
April 15, 22, 29, 2012
Cleanse and Renew; A 3- week springtime cleanse- Yoga Tree Valencia
For details or to register go to:
March 26, 2012
Love the Skin You’re In
Transforming body image through yoga and meditation
Yoga Tree Telegraph in Berkeley
The Yoga of Food: How is life feeding you?Nutrition 101, Sugar can be Medicine, Women’s Wellness: Treat PMS Naturally, To Be or Not To Be a Vegetarian and Yoga and Food For Emotional Eating.
To find out more about Darshana’s new program
LIBERATION FROM EMOTIONAL EATING
9 Months to Food Freedom.
Go to: http://www.darshanaweill.com/pages/9-months-to-food-freedom
To contact Darshana directly call 510-423-0603 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Want more recipes? Check out Darshana’s 50 quick and easy recipes Ecookbook: http://darshanaweill.com/page/cookbook-1