In my early modelling days ‘Fat Free’ was all the rage. I ate hardly anything to keep my weight down and then, in desperation would grab a bag of jelly beans to serve as fuel. I shiver when I think of these days, coffee for breakfast, cigarettes for distraction and sugar for energy.
I remember wishing I could change but, I was addicted. Even if I sat down to a grilled salmon salad, I had such a sweet tooth, I craved sugar afterwards. I certainly did not think sugar was causing premature aging as I ate my way through bags of sweets trying to give myself energy while running from casting to casting.
Then, I had youth on my side, but even so, my face was puffy, my skin was dull and I battled constant breakouts. This was on an aesthetic level, internally, my endocrine system was in a state of shock. I suffered from Type 2 Diabetes, hyperglycemia, energy slumps and horrible mood swings to name a few ailments of the time.
Research today suggests that sugar could be responsible for a number of western diseases. Dr Robert Lustig, a pediatric endocrinologist at the University of California believes that high intakes of sugar result in obesity, a western epidemic, hypertension, heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. “When you take the fat out of food, it tastes like cardboard,” says Dr Lustig. “The food industry knew that, so they replaced it with sugar…and guess what? Heart disease, metabolic syndrome, diabetes and death are skyrocketing,”
Nutritional biologist Kimber Stanhope was surprised to see in research she ran that after only two weeks: “subjects who consumed high fructose corn syrup had increased levels of LDL cholesterol and other risk factors for cardiovascular disease.” There has even been suggestions that it helps cancers spread around the body. Harvard professor and head of the Beth Israel Deaconess Cancer Center Lewis Cantley says: “cancers have evolved the ability to hijack that flow of glucose that’s going by in the bloodstream into the tumor itself.” It has also been shown that countries that have adopted a western style diet are now suffering from the diseases that were never seen there before.
As the saying goes, we are what we eat and with a little education we can steer ourselves away from the sugary iceberg. Learn to read food labels and look out for added sugars. Sugar is laced into many foods we would not expect it in, even the goodies that are advertised as healthy and nutritious. Don’t be fooled, most soft drinks and fruit juices are not so innocent. Try to make wise choices. The closer food is to raw, the better it is going to serve you. Avoid processed foods like pies, ready-made meals, white breads and pasta’s. There is no need to become a Nazi about it, you can have the occasional treat but be open to trying new truly healthy options. Raw food chocolates and cakes are actually delicious. Try Inspiral, they make healthy treat options.
I guess I may never know the damage those years caused but I am grateful that my life took a beautiful turn up the yoga garden path. I have been teaching yoga for eight years now and in this time my addictions to coffee, sugar, cigarettes and even negativity’ have fallen away one by one.
Today I know, when asked about yoga for weight loss, compulsive over-eating or other addictions, that the root cause is the lack self-love. To some this may sound ‘New Age’ but the truth is, until we love ourselves and value our lives, we will never truly be free. Willpower is a temporary solution; The path to healing all addictions is returning the body and mind to harmony and healing the spirit! There are many ways to healing, but I found my way home through yoga.
Introduce yoga into your life and start to cultivate a healthy body, a clear, still mind and greater appreciation for the beauty of life.
By Sonia Doubell