Trick or Treat

Trick or Treat

I’m shocked. Or at least my inner child is shocked. She CANNOT believe what happened yesterday. Frankly, she’s disappointed because I made it through Halloween without feeling tempted to eat ANY candy. None whatsoever. Not one bite. I even helped two, highly-successful trick-or-treaters sort their loot. We intensely debated the merits of candy bars versus gobstoppers without me salivating once. What has my life become?!?

When I was 9, my family moved from an Army base in Germany to Terre Haute, Indiana. The best part was the neighborhood grocery store a couple of blocks from our house. My parents started giving me a nickel per day as candy allowance. I remember carefully calculating maximum candy intake on my budget. Good for math skills, bad for anxiety, insomnia, and gut.

I’m wondering now if my allowance was my parents’ clever candy-minimization strategy… Good one, dad!

As a holiday devoted to candy and dressing up silly, Halloween has always been a favorite. My parents would try everything to keep me from gorging on sweets, but my evil cravings were overpowering. I would sneak it, hide it, lie about it… ANYTHING to get my little brain’s dopamine fix. It was bad and got worse.

It wasn’t until I started Paleo that I considered how much sugar I ate. I’ve tried lots of diets, so I had counted calories and eaten sugar-free stuff. But I hadn’t realized how bad sugar really is. After I started studying stress, I learned that sugar is hard on the adrenal glands, which means that eating sugar actually stresses us out.

Don’t know about you, but more stress is NOT what I’m going for.

A few months ago, a friend and I started a 30-day sugar-free challenge. Nothing too hardcore. We could eat fruit, or a little sugar in salad dressing at a restaurant or something. Just no sugary desserts or dried fruit, because I can’t stop eating dried mango once I start. My sweet tooth had trouble the first week but then grew accustomed to my only dessert: 100% cacao dark chocolate.

After the 30 days were over, my cravings were limited, and only apparent in certain circumstances like traveling, with certain people, or when super-hormonal. My sweet tooth still exists, but some of the triggers are slowly disappearing. Now when I see a huge basket of candy, I think to myself, “That’s not a treat! That’s a basket of stomachache, grumpiness, insomnia, and STRESS”. So happy that my inner child no longer has the loudest voice.