Self Improvement

Beating the Sugar Addiction – Steps 4-7

Beating the Sugar Addiction – Steps 4-7

The steps I summarize here are discussed in more detail in Potatoes, Not Prozac.  If you feel you have a strong attachment to sugar that is keeping you from living freely and healthy, you may want to give this book a read.

Click on the following links if you wish to read about steps 1-3: BreakfastJournalingand Regular meals with protein.

The third step in breaking a sugar addiction as outlined in Potatoes, Not Prozac, is often said to be the most challenging.  Eating meals at regular intervals with protein isn’t usually a standard practice by those in the clutches of sugar.

Beating the Sugar Addiction – Steps 4-7

Instead, sugar addicts tend to graze on sweets throughout the day and lack sufficient protein in their diets. Changing this habit can lead to a vast improvement in physical and mental wellbeing.  Many times the allure of sugar begins to decline, and this gives renewed hope that recovery can and will happen.

The rest of the steps encourage further healing while decreasing the desire to eat sugar.

Step 4  – Vitamins and a Potato

Step 4 involves taking vitamins, specifically:

  • Vitamin C– to aid in detoxification, the production of serotonin, and healing from adrenal fatigue
  • Vitamin B complex– again to support the production of serotonin and in the metabolism of carbohydrates into fuel
  • Zinc– helps further healing and supports proper insulin function

Step 4 also recommends eating a small amount of a complex carbohydrate right before bed to encourage the brain to produce sufficient serotonin to help you feel more calm, competent, and able to say “no” to sugar. Part of a potato with the skin on is the suggested carbohydrate.  (And, now we know why the book is called Potatoes, Not Prozac!) The author, Dr. Kathleen DesMaisions, states:

Think of the potato as “medicine”-sort of antidepressant in a brown package (p. 143).

Step 5 – Changing White Foods to Brown Foods

In this step, you make a point to change the processed carbohydrates (white) that you eat to complex carbs (brown).  Complex carbohydrates ‘burn’ slower and thus prevents a sudden blood sugar elevation and subsequent crash. The shift to complex carbs was already set into motion with Step 1 and even Step 3, and Step 5 reinforces this.

Examples of complex carbohydrates (browns) include:

  • 100% whole wheat
  • Oats
  • Millet
  • Barley
  • Quinoa
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  • Brown rice
  • Potatoes with the skin left on
  • Vegetables
  • Beans
  • Other whole grains

Simple Carbohydrates (white foods) include things like:

  • White bread
  • White rice
  • White flour
  • White flour tortillas
  • Most prepacked desserts and snacks

Also, dried fruit can be a trigger for some sensitive individuals due to the concentrated fruit sugars and is therefore limited or avoided.  Using a food journal can help determine what foods work for you and which ones trigger those unpleasant, moody sugar feelings and even sugar binges.

Step 6 – Limiting or Eliminating Sugars

This step is a personal decision. Some individuals will significantly reduce the amount of sugar in their overall diet and feel comfortable with that.  Many others go on to remove all sugar from their diets.  Having mastered each of the previous steps will ensure a smooth and successful Step 6. The book details the process of completely detoxing from all sugars and what may be expected.  It involves learning where sugars lurk in foods, having a plan in place for the day you say goodbye to all sugars, and what to expect afterward. dnd drow names

A very large part of Step 6 consists of planning, waiting, reflecting, and then taking action steps in a thoughtful way. This is huge for addicts… There is a huge payoff if you choose to eliminate most sugars from your diet. You will feel better than you ever have (pp. 177, 183).

Step 7 – Coming Alive

This is the recovery period after beating the Sugar Monster.  It offers calmness and stability.  It is “radiance,” as referred to by Dr. DesMaisons. It offers the opportunity to learn new skills to deal with life events without sugar, which can sometimes be challenging. It is a lifelong process to learn and enjoy. Dr. DesMaison sums up Step 7 excellently:

“Progress not perfection” is a core Twelve-Step slogan and one that is particularly useful for doing food recovery. You cannot ever have a perfect journey with food. Life is too complex and textured for perfection. The real perfection you will attain is the joy and confidence you will feel about mastering your “crazy” body chemistry. When I talk about radiance, I am talking about a way of being in the world that reflects your core self… What seemed like a story about food is really a story about the possibility.

It’s about learning what works for your body, reclaiming your life, and living it to the fullest.

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