Updated: Aug 6
I remember when I was a young girl each morning like clockwork, I would get ready for school and begin to think about what was going to happen during the day. Most often, I wound up looking out my bedroom window and lo and behold there was Mr. Sumpter. Mr. Sumpter (the neighborhood Ice Cream man) sat in the back parking lot of my apartment complex just waiting for eager kids to spend a portion or all of their lunch money on stuff that was totally unhealthy.
When I was in middle school, I didn’t spend all of my lunch money on junk, but I did spend money on some of the following: barbecue potato chips, Doritos, Now & Later candy (cherry, watermelon or apple), Hershey’s Almond bars, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Butterfinger, or Charms cherry lollipops just to name a few. After that, I would skip off to the bus stop happy with my sugar/junk fix for part of the day! Oh and I can’t forget the kids who honed their entrepreneurial skills in school by selling candy in between classes! The candy business was a major operation back in the day.
In high school, we followed the same routine in the morning. Mr. Sumpter would be waiting for me and the neighborhood kids to come out desperately seeking our sugar/junk fix, and each day we would satisfy that. When it was time for lunch in school, I would eat my regular lunch and get some of those fabulous Linden’s chocolate chip cookies (3 cookies in a package) that were sold in the school store, or I would get the fresh baked hot out of the oven chocolate chip cookies that students would bake in one of the classrooms.
After school, Mr. Sumpter would be eagerly waiting for us in the parking lot, yet again, to come and fill up on more candy and other junk. I think we helped him create a 401k plan with the amount of stuff we were buying from him. Besides candy, he did have ice cream too. All different types of ice cream. The good stuff.
Back then, I certainly didn’t think I had a sugar addiction. But did I? I think I did. I was definitely a carb addict and sugar is a simple carb so it all makes sense. Growing up, meals at home were always balanced with a meat, a starch, and a vegetable – we had some great comfort foods back then. I probably over did it with my portion sizes (particularly with the carbs), but I was very active so it didn’t show up on me until I got older. Ahhh, the good old days!
Getting back to my sugar addiction. Chocolate! Chocolate!! Chocolate!!! I loved chocolate!
Especially chocolate with peanut butter or chocolate with a peanut element in it and chocolate chip cookies. There was a reason for that. Once you start eating an item heavy in sugar, it causes you to have spikes in your blood sugar only increasing the cravings causing you to want more and more. Sugar cravings are intrinsic starting from birth. Sugar is the type of food that raises the brain chemical serotonin and endorphin hormones in the body. These are responsible for feeling good and calm or relaxed.
On average, Americans consume 22 teaspoons of sugar per day. Women should only have six teaspoons and men nine teaspoons. We can combat the sugar addiction by making wise choices in the types of foods we eat, the way we combine them, and the frequency of when we eat. So, if we eat something that has an element of sugar, we should combine that with a protein. An example of this could be dark chocolate almonds. We could also choose to eat fruits that have an element of fiber in them that cause us to be fuller longer like apples. And, of course, eating frequent small meals will combat sugar cravings because you will not cause spikes in your blood sugar causing the need to overdo it.
It’s true that many of us did not feel the effects of sugar when we were younger because we spent a large majority of our time participating in physical activities that included a lot of running. Today, children do not participate in as much outdoor/physical play time, but effort should be made to get children more active so that we can thwart childhood obesity caused in large part by the over consumption of sugar. Also, we should actively read labels to see what is in the food we buy. High fructose corn sugar has been in the news for being very bad for your health just as much as refined sugar.
Knowing what I know now, I’m extremely thankful that I didn’t end up with type 2 diabetes. Although Mr. Sumpter had an honest job, selling candy to neighborhood kids first thing in the morning might not have been the best thing to do. Sometimes I wonder what may have happened to some of the neighborhood kids concerning their health and if the availability of junk foods, especially that early in the morning, may have contributed to continuous bad habits. To know better is to do better, and I am glad that I learned from the bad mistakes I used to make.
The moral of this story is try to eat more regularly, get plenty of rest, eat a diet rich in fiber, get your exercise, read your food labels, combine carbs with protein, and try to satisfy your sweet tooth by eating a complex carbohydrate like an apple or other high fiber fruit or switch your chocolate from milk chocolate to dark chocolate. Make small changes to our life so that your chances for success are achievable. You can be successful. It’s up to you. You can beat sugar cravings. It’s not your fault, sugar can be the devil, but you can beat the devil!
Live, laugh, love, and pray.
God Bless You with Good Health and Wellness,
Antoinette Shar’ron Johnson
“Empowering, inspiring, motivating, and uplifting your mind, body, and soul!”
Article Sources: http://www.webmd.com/diet/13-ways-to-fight-sugar-cravings http://www.doctoroz.com/article/dr-ozs-14-day-plan-shut-down-sugar-cravings https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/food-junkie/201311/sugar-cravings
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