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Sour Month Part 6

(post, Trista Cornelius)

My sour month is nearly over, but I’m not sure what to do.  I don’t want to go back to sweets,  not yet.  One more month?  Or, am I just delaying the inevitable?  I don’t want to cut sweets all together.  I’ve done that with caffeine with great effort and equal reward; I’ve done it with meat and dairy with ease and joy.  Sweets, however, are my ingredient to learn and practice moderation.  Still, I don’t feel ready to “go back.”  

I just had this thought as I made tea in the kitchen:  When I remember who and what I want to be in the world, I know exactly how to eat:  whole, fresh, plant foods, no indulgences or sweets, just contemplative balance that radiates health.  Right.  Not realistic.  I have a career, writing and art goals, a family, a house to tend.  There will be days, probably a few in a row, when I don’t get enough sleep.  I’ll crave sweets.  I’ll give in.  I’ll wallow in chocolate and chips.  Then, a few days later, I’ll pull myself back together and happily munch kale and roasted beet wraps for lunch, oatmeal for breakfast, whole grains and veggies for dinner.  

This wrestling match with sweets is forcing me to try to accept the fact that I am human, that even though I believe our food choices help take charge of the quality of our lives, we are not in complete control.  Right now, for example, I’m home for a sick day, something I’ve not done in many, many years.  I didn’t even have the energy to ask, “How did I get sick?”  I just did, in spite of healthy meals for a few weeks now, good sleep, lots of yoga, washing my hands obsessively at work, and so on.  

Sweets, like dust, make me face the inevitable.  No matter how well you clean your house, the dirt comes back.  No matter how powerfully healthy I try to make my diet, sweets, salt, fats will eke their way back in.  And these things are not bad!  I have nothing against sweets, salt, or fats.  I just don’t like the way they bludgeon the other foods in the cupboards, demoting carrots and broccoli to Junior Varsity status.  

This weekend, I made it through a craving.  It wasn’t one of the strongest cravings I’ve had, but it was rather insistent.  Somehow, and now I wish I’d paid more attention to how I did it, I got through the craving to the other side without any sweets or sweet substitute (no fruit-sweetened anything, not even any fruit).  What was on the other side?  This will sound weird, but a feeling of maturity, of adulthood, of control…hmmmm…not control…of achievement, of something gained that could be acquired no other way.  

So, I know what I’m going to do.  I’m going to make it through at least one more craving.  When the desire for sweets (which we know by now is really chocolate), I’m going to wait it out.  I’m going to get to the other side again and see what it’s all about.