I've been consumed for the past two weeks.

First with planning a Thanksgiving dinner for twenty,
then with recovering from such a large party,
but mostly with sugar.


There are foods we eat which give us power, then there are foods we eat which zap our power. Think Pac-Man: go for the big dots, avoid the ghosts. Sugar is a ghost, a haunted little power zapper. The more you eat, the more you want, the less power you have - both physical power and the power to resist eating more.

Since going Paleo, I've had no trouble resisting grains. I don't miss oatmeal or rice or pasta, and though I almost gave in to bread and butter on Thanksgiving, I was able to resist. My plate was full of turkey and veggies: power food. But the morning after, when I opened the refrigerator to get cream for my coffee, I could not resist a slice of nut pie, and then another. And when the pie was gone, I couldn't walk away from the bowl of almond brittle sitting on the counter. Don't even get me started on the pecan pumpkin cheesecake my neighbor brought over, which I washed down with a little something I like to call "apple pie in a glass": apple syrup, brandy, cinnamon, water, and ice. That was the climax of my power failure.


I spent the rest of the day in a funk. Not only did I lack the energy to get up and do anything, I was also consumed by a particular negative event which transpired at Thanksgiving. Rather than focusing on the 95% who enjoyed the evening, I was fixated on the 5% who left my house on a sour note. While I can't blame sugar for the unfortnate event, I'm tempted to blame sugar for my response to it. Sugar free Molly has better perspective and can see beyond the bumps in the road.

So I cleaned up my diet, got rid of the sugar, and all was well for a few days. Until the peppermint mocha incident. I sacrificed my power - and suffered a horrible night's sleep followed by an all day headache - for a cup of inferior milk, chocolate powder, and artificial mint syrup.

Why do we willingly chase down these sugary ghosts only to suffer at their hands? Yes, they taste good. But sugar free power feels so much better! I write this because we're on the eve of a sticky sweet season full of sugary indulgence. There will be cakes and cookies and chocolate covered nuts and minty confections. We will be tempted to give and receive such goodies as tokens of appreciation and symbols of affection, but at what price? Will we really enjoy the season if we're running on low or no power, living hand to mouth between sugar injections?


It's not just about the carbohydrates and calories. It's about exercising our personal power to make good decisions. It's about a holistic approach to our well being. Being powerful and feeling well are gifts we can give ourselves and others. May your plate runneth over with power food so you can energetically enjoy the month ahead, and if you run into an evil sugary ghost, turn around and sprint away. They'll consume you if you let them, nasty little suckers.


  1. I'm intrigued by your diet. I have never dieted but always cook from scratch and bake for the kids snacks, I know I should eat more fruit and less starch but have never worried too much about my weight until recently. I must google and find out more...
    Hope your Thanksgiving issues are sorted, how typical that we worry about the little things rather than give thanks for the rest!
    Sandra x
    btw that Ben and Jerry's looks ridiculously good!

  2. I have been able to withstand most of the sugar temptations lately. However, while in the hospital with my daughter as she was recovering from surgery, I succumbed. My friends had provided us with an amazing care basket. They tried to really stick to my Paleo ways, but included sugared pecans. I ate them all. I did not feel well and ended up with a mild yeast infection. It was enough of a reminder that I feel so much better when I refrain from such foods.

  3. wow. amazing insights. I'm fine without sugar; it's the carbs that hook me. And as a vegetarian-leaning towards vegan- I've found I'm STARVING without complex carbs. And yes, Christmas = sugarplums. xo

  4. Yup. I need to cut the sug too. Been feeling it lately. Although that drink you described sounds worth a bit of trouble! And Schweddy Balls? I've been trying to get my hands on some Schweddy Balls for some time! No luck. ;0)

    How's it taste?

  5. I hear you. I am not ready to tackle the paleo diet but all the sugar symptoms you describe are horribly familiar, so I am trying my hardest to keep away from it. I think the thing about it that alarms me the most is the feeling that once I start eating sugary things, I can't stop. Best not to start!

  6. I think the Schweddy Balls must have been the lowest of the low moments!! I have tasted that business and it is NASTY!! The potato chip part at first bite is all intrigue but then it goes all chemical-aftertaste and YECCCHHH.

    January 1 we are going paleo. Mark my words. (and hold me to them.)

    The other night I was served ice cream by none other than Jerry himself. And I chatted with Ben. And that Chocolate Fudge Brownie was GOOD but it definitely didn't make me feel good over the stretch of the evening...

  7. ohhhhh sugar. I've never smoked a cigarette, but I think I know the feeling of addiction because I crave something sweet every day of my life. I've cut down a little, but cutting it out is so hard! ESPECIALLY around this time of year...sugar is as much a part of our culture as...capitalism? You are inspirational Molly, keep it up and keep posting about your victories as well as your stumbling blocks.

  8. OHHHH you said this so well...I went paleo/primal about a year ago and still struggle with those occasional give-ins. I KNOW how good I feel when I'm off the white stuff, and I KNOW how crappy I feel when I'm on it. Why then do I give in???

  9. I have a way of expending all of my enthusiasm in researching, planning, and talking. By the time it comes to acting on making that big change, a lot of my enthusiasm is gone. Procrastination by preparation - I wish this wasn't the way I roll, but it is.

    I've been thinking that I need to try out a paleo diet for a while, just to see how it would effect my weight, energy, and the systemic inflammation that has been increasing this year. Your posts here and over at meaty bohemian helped me decide to just jump in. So I started yesterday.

    I know Dec. 1st sounds like a crazy time to try out 30 day paleo trial. Starting on Jan 1st, for me, means the whole endeavor is doomed for failure - and it would have given me all month to plan, study, and use up all my motivation. Instead I hope to have a full month of feeling better and weighing less under my belt as I ring in the New Year. Maybe THEN I'll actually stick to it.

    And wouldn't you know it, a friend dropped off a huge cake AND a pie yesterday. So far I've said no. I ended up trying out the roasted broccoli recipe you raved about. I hope the day comes that I'm not missing grains and sugar.

    Part of me thinks I'm crazy, but the rest of me can't get over how quickly the dark circles under my eyes are disappearing.

    So anyway, thanks for the inspiration. I'll say no to the next serving of sugary treat if you will!

  10. Dear Ghost Rider,
    There may or may not have been a chocolate ice cream *incident* here this week. Game over, move forward.
    You actually put it perfectly when you visited: biofeedback. And I do agree that the busier we get, the more precious it is to feed the burner well. You will find balance! I think it's part of the process of cleaning up your diet, this dance. I have certainly experienced it and my biggest challenge has been to divorce the process of emotional baggage. You are so grounded, I love your thoughts and perspective.
    I was listening to great (Balanced Bites) podcast yesterday where they stated that a good diet is a by-product of a good lifestyle. I love that idea and it helped me embrace the chocolate ice cream and enjoy it for what it was rather than beat myself up over it. But it is hard to stop the spiral!! A few things that work for me: an intense workout (like 8 minutes of gasping for air) when I am having a major craving, mineral-rich foods like sea veggies and bone broth, magnesium, minimal caffeine, white knuckles for a day or two and, no joke, praying.

  11. It sounds like going Paleo makes it harder for a person to tolerate sugar at all. Is that right? That seems hard! I don't know if I'd want to forever avoid the dark chocolate and almond biscotti that I make every Christmas season. I love having them in the freezer, and then having one with my tea. Not every day, but some days. And the chewy gingerbread tiles from Tartine that I discovered a few years back! I've had my experiences gorging on them, which isn't good--but it feels like such a treat, and such a holiday moment to savor *one*. You know?

    The thought of cutting out sugar altogether sounds like such a challenge to me, because there are special sweet things that I enjoy. In moderation. I can usually resist the cruddy stuff and save myself for something really wonderful. But then again, if I have a little sugar, it doesn't make me feel bad. But maybe if I went Paleo, I'd notice how the sugar affects me in a way that I don't now. You think?

    It's probably like going to the chiropractor. Going there each week makes me feel so good, but it also makes me more sensitive when something is out of whack. I put up with that extra sensitivity and discomfort because I know that overall my body is functioning better than it would if I didn't go at all.

    Probably how you feel when you're eating well…

    Wishing you some deep kale cravings, my friend!

  12. I read this and then re-read this and it mirrored my entire week. I did great on Thanksgiving day, too. I forgot to take in consideration, though, the days after and the leftover pie as well, and found myself several times over the week having a piece 9or two). Every time it made me feel bad and every time I'd still reach for another piece. It really is a crazy thing. This week I've added my daily greens back in and am hoping for the best...Thanks for this post, it put everything back into perspective for me. Wishing you good luck!

  13. The longer I live the less confidence I have in drugs and the greater is my confidence in the regulation and administration of diet and regimen. ~John Redman Coxe, 1800

    The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don't want, drink what you don't like, and do what you'd druther not. ~Mark Twain

  14. I know sugar is crazy addictive, I'm on that wheel myself. However, I wonder if depriving yourself 100% of something makes you want it that much more.
    Good luck with your journey.

  15. So interesting and validating to read your words and the other comments. I struggle with the whole sugar craving thing too... and know I would be better without it in terms both avoiding sinus infections and slimming down. I seem like I can do well for a period of time and then, when I fall off the wagon, I really fall with a loud kerplunk. From about Halloween until Christmas, I really struggle. But I am re-energized from your words to keep trying.

  16. I cannot tell you how much this post resonated with me. Coming from a family of women who all succumb to type 2 diabetes in mid life, I'm working hard to remove this little sucker from my life. I know how hard it is and admire your courage in taking the step to go fully Paleo. Perhaps this is something I need to consider as I know I have more energy, better concentration and am wholly a better person to be around when I avoid sugar in all it's forms.

    You inspire me.

  17. Wow. Amazing visions. I'm fine without sugar, carbs to hook me. As leaning towards the vegetarian. I have found and I'm STARVING without complex carbs.

  18. oh god, as I read through your posts over the past month and I facing the cold hard truth that my family's diet is tragically sugar based. And I know the culprit--I don't buy processed food treats, etc...so we MAKE a ton of "snacks" at home. problem is, most of those snacks are sugary ones --treats, cookies, etc...argh.


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