Why are the things we want almost inevitably bad for us? No doubt there is a deep theological and philosophical discussion to be had from such a question but in this instance I'm referring to my love of sugar.
I have a sweet tooth. I'll consume sugar in almost any form. There's the more conventional items - chocolate, dolly mixtures, cakes. But then as sugar becomes increasingly difficult to source (usually as a result of a healthy crackdown on the part of my mum) I end up turning to the slightly more unusual - glace cherries, condensed milk etc. Although interestingly I've never developed a taste for sugar in my tea. As a kid I was never allowed it, so naturally one day when at a friend's house the question was put to me and I said yes. It was the most disgusting cup of tea I've ever had the displeasure to drink.
Many people have a taste for the sweeter things in life and despite a tendency towards consuming too many calories have no real ill effects from it. My problem is that I'm pretty sure that sugar affects my M.E. I've suffered from this illness for almost 10 years and every so often someone will bring up the question of diet and how a change in it may help me. The crux of the matter is that I'm 100% sure that cutting sugar from my diet is not going to cure me. However, I'm not nearly as sure that it wouldn't help in some way or another. I've ranted and railed against this theory for years. There are a lot of things in life that I am denied because of my illness; a job; independent living; the opportunity to go for a walk in the countryside or a trip to the shops without assistance; a holiday abroad; nights out with friends. The list is pretty much endless. But food? That I can enjoy! And yet, in recent years I've had to cut out chocolate and cheese from my diet due to the headaches they induce. Although in reality I have a bad habit of trying to push the boundaries of these banned foods - how much can I eat before I get a headache? Sensible huh?
A couple of months back I decided to take action against my unhealthy eating habits. I regret to say that this was triggered not by a desire to check if it made me less ill but by the fact that I had just put on half a stone in weight in the space of 2 weeks due to new anti-depressants. So we got rid of all the bad stuff in the house, bought in mass quantities of rice cakes and settled down to a month of misery! It didn't turn out to be so bad though. The first week was tough but eventually I got into the swing of eating better. Sadly all will-power drained away during a week when my parents were away and my sister and I were in charge of food. Disaster! What's more once you go back to your sugary ways it is incredibly difficult to stop again. Dearie me, I sound like a drug addict. So here we are, a month later and I'm still eating badly. I blame it on my birthday! The most frustrating part is that I have become more convinced of the 'sugar makes my symptoms worse' theory. I had a great week just before going back on the sugar and it is quite possible that my system had finally de-toxed. Of course, now I've got a month's worth of sugar inside me. Back to the rice cakes...