At my Monday night OA meeting last week, my sponsor announced she was part of the N.O.P.E. campaign: Not One Piece Even. Of Halloween candy, that is. I am also a N.O.P.E’r this year. I wish that I wasn’t such a sugar junkie, but I am. Treats, for me, are a definite trick. I have been avoiding the O.S.S. (overtly sugary shit) since July-ish and I feel a thousand times better. Not only is my energy level and my mood better in general (unless I am busy getting in my own way) but I just don’t obsess and get into crazy food thoughts and cravings. There’s also the secondary issue of my PCOS, which has gotten a lot better in the past year since I’ve been abstinent and eating a plant-based, whole foods diet. My hormone levels have also significantly improved since I have been abstaining from eating sugar. If you are reading this and you have PCOS, please consider breaking up with the OSS, including alcohol. They are not your friend, and your hormone levels will thank you for it.
For me, not taking that first compulsive bite of Halloween candy or vegan cookies or ice cream or whatever is critical for my sanity and well-being. The vegan desserts make me only *slightly* less insane than the regular sweets that contain butter. There’s also the entire issue of most white sugar not even being truly vegan because it is usually filtered through bone char. Unfortunately, now you can easily purchase vegan white sugar or vegan baked goods made with this type of sugar. Arrrrgh!
I’ve tried the “Intuitive Eating” method of “eating whatever I had cravings for when I was hungry and then stopping” and I became a total raving maniac. I tried it by myself, I tried it under the supervision of a dietitian, I tried it with Buddhist meditation and mindfulness practice and each time it ended in me feeling worse than ever. I think that Intuitive Eating can work for many people, but definitely not for me when it comes to sugar and certain binge foods. I do incorporate other aspects of Intuitive Eating or mindful eating into my abstinence and my food plan on a daily basis, and that does work for me. In fact, it’s been a huge part of my recovery. If I feel like I need more or less fat on a particular day, I adjust my plan accordingly. On days where I am more active and hungry, I will have two planned snacks instead of one. Then there are days where I am less hungry or I am feeling sick and I only eat three planned meals and no snacks. I have a baseline of at least 3 well-balanced, vegan meals a day that I stick to and I adjust when I need to. I also pay attention to how I feel when I am eating. Am I content and calm? Am I irritated? Am I angry? Am I anxious? I take note of these feelings and let myself experience them and I try to notice what is really underneath those feelings.
Today I choose not to eat for a fix or to eat over my emotions. I get to live life and (mostly) be sane and happy. And when the emotional upheavals come, which they do, I am better equipped to handle them because I am not a slave to food or crazy food behaviors. I can act with a clear head.
With all of that being said, I made a big batch of fake blood last night for my Zombie Catholic Schoolgirl costume. My tried-and-true recipe for fake blood is a bottle of corn syrup, a packet of cherry Kool Aid and three heaping spoonfuls of baking cocoa. I add a little hot water to thin it out and voila, fake blood! I used powdered instant coffee for dirt smudges to replicate that freshly-crawled-out-of-the-grave look. I spent the entire night covered in sugar and chocolate and didn’t even think about it until today. In the past, I would have definitely been tasting that concoction as I was making it, licking it off of my fingers and generally having a good old-time with all of that sugar. Now I don’t even think about it. In fact, it seemed kind of gross to me and I had no urges to try it. All I could think of was cough syrup and it made me kind of queasy just looking at it! However, I think next year I will just buy store-bought fake blood and leave all of that sugar and the Halloween candy to someone else.