The Sweet Life

7 Aug

It’s another mild day at Les Battees.  The coolness of the summer breeze leaves me feeling content and relaxed while the warmth of the sun has me melting, happy and satisfied.  Our busier pace continues here at Les Battees.  July is the typical travel time in Europe and now bleeding into early August.  The chambre d’hotes has been booked full and we have been busy workers!

I originally found out about Les Battees through the website helpx.net.  Roy, the owner of Les Battees, and I traded emails exploring the possibility of a visit to determine if it would be a good fit.  The general agreement through helpx.net is work in exchange for room and board. I mentioned in an email that I don’t eat refined sugar.  Not a drop.  I asked Roy, “would that be a problem?”  “I don’t know why it would be,”  he replied.

Living life without sugar has become a regular way for me.  People may ask or even assume that I am allergic to sugar and that’s not quite the truth.  I describe it more as being sensitive to sugar.  I am like every other “good” American raised on plenty of sugar and sweets.  I never would have considered cutting sugar out of my diet until I saw a friend reading the book Sugar Blues by William Duffy about 8 years ago. I was in the midst of a major personal health transformation and willing to make any changes necessary to feel better. I was intrigued by the book and decided to give it a read for myself.  After reading it I considered the possibility that sugar may be acting like poison in my body and impacting my mood and well-being.  I decided to give it a shot without sugar and see what a difference it made.

The first thing I noticed was that sugar is in everything.  Spaghetti sauce, bread, mayonnaise… you name it.  I became a fervent label reader and with persistence successfully explored a diet with no sugar.  Without sugar, I noticed my mood felt a bit lighter, my anxiety reduced, and my anger and mood swings lessened.  As my body was no longer used to sugar, even a tiny bit of sugar immediately triggered my mood to drastically turn for the worse.  Additionally my body just no longer “felt right” when I ate sugar.  So I am very clear… no sugar for me! When I say sugar I am referring mostly to refined sugar.  I still enjoy moderate amounts of natural sugars… honey, agave nectar, fruits and fruit juices.

I was recently turned on to a website called radiant recovery.  The founder of that website, Kathleen DesMaisons Ph.D, is a scientist and the website is based on her working theory of sugar sensitivity.  According to Dr. DesMaisons, someone is sugar sensitive if they have unstable blood sugar, low serotonin and low beta endorphin.  She has created a 7 step diet that when followed can help create balance.  This diet, strangely enough, includes eating a potato before bed.  She has written a book about this called Potatoes Not Prozac: Solutions for Sugar Sensitivity.

Life without sugar has not been a bad thing for me!  In fact, here at Les Battees I am definitely living the sweet life!  My host Roy doesn’t hesitate to replace sugar in some dessert recipes with honey.  I have enjoyed, in moderation, wonderful apple pie, roasted apricots and rhubarb, all sweetened with honey.  And of course, there is never sugar added to Roy’s wonderful vegetarian main dishes.  Fabulous savory tarts and cobblers.  No deprivation here!

It has certainly been worth it, this adventure in the sweetness of life without sugar.  I am a lot happier and feel better.  And there are still plenty of wonderful foods to enjoy along the way!  Bon Appetite!

Photo of olive polenta served with roasted vegetables prepared by Roy Patchett, owner of Les Battees.

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