When Sugar Isn't Sweet

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No offense to yesterday's post because I love me some strawberry shortcake and I'm all for sweets in moderation... unless... Bo is on the other end of those sweets. Because here's the thing: Sugar is a drug. I mean, we all know that, right? I mean. I knew that. But I also didn't REALLY know that. But now that I have experienced my extremely sugar sensitive/hyperactive/incredible Hulk of a child "on" and "off" sugar.

Meat is murder, but sugar is suicide. Okay, so that is super dramatic sounding but if you lived in my house and witnessed the changes that have occurred since becoming strict with sugar, you would be TEAM WTF, too. (Maybe you already are? Anyone out there with experience similar to ours? I am really hoping you guys comment because I feel like this is a conversation that could potentially change lives.) That may sound over-the-top but I was at my breaking point with all of this several weeks ago and now I'm only a little bit... cracked.

Without (added/refined/hell, even natural) sugar, Bo is a different person. And she wasn't even consuming THAT much sugar. We have a juicebox free household and only do sweet treats after meals and never in lunch boxes. We all drink water at restaurants if/when we frequent them and fast food chains are a HELL NO. That said, my kids still drink milk and eat bread and cereal for breakfast and have treats after lunch and dinner. Cookies (two) mostly. Ice cream, occasionally and the rare smoothie as a special treat. All of this to say that Bo is a child who eats far less sugar than the norm. And yet... the day I reached my breaking point with her (and wrote about here) was the day she consumed more than her usual dosage of sugar.

I had just taken the girls to Canter's Deli on a walk and the nice ladies at the bakery showered the girls with cookies and I was happy to join them for a cookie party because cookies are awesome and delicious and I was feeling good about life and having cookies and cookies.

And then, about fifteen minutes later, Bo became a HULK, wiggled out of her stroller seatbelt, launched her body onto the pavement and attempted to hitchhike home with some skateboarders in front of SUPREME. And that was BEFORE she charged Fairfax and I had to pin her down to keep her from dancing in the middle of the street.

After writing this post I attempted to check labels for sugar and found that our BREAD alone had six grams per slice. Even the Whole Foods grassfed organic milk from Whole Foods was loaded in sugar. Because... milk... has lots of sugar. And she was having two bottles of cow milk a day at the time. (We have since weaned the girls from having milk before nap and bedtime.) Bo's cow milk was replaced with Coconut milk. We also do almond milk in our house.

The milk thing was especially upsetting to me because I realized that in her formula, sugar was a key ingredient and I worry that a lot of her colic/nonstop screaming as a baby and toddler came from the sugar she was consuming in her milk. :(

Regardless, I can only focus on what I can do now, for her and ALL my kids who have been EXTREMELY understanding through all of this.

(ED: Archer and Fable can have treats after meals but know to eat them only after Bo and Revi have left the table/kitchen/are being bathed/getting ready for bed. Bo and Revi are no longer offered treats and surprisingly they have not asked for them. Archer and Fable know not to eat their after dinner cookies in front of the twins - who are usually getting into pajamas when big kids have their treat and we have been known to break the rules for special occasions. We paid HARD the night of my brother's wedding after Bo had a cupcake and went absolutely crazy bananas afterward. We have not bent the rules since.)
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As you are probably well aware, I am not a nutritionist, nor do I know ANYTHING about any of this stuff (outside of my own first-hand experience/google) so please keep that in mind when I throw down the following items that have been helpful for us:

1. Having "the talk" with "the kids" --  We had a family meeting about all of this that included Bo and we were very straight-forward with her. "Bo. You are a high energy human being and we love you but we also need to give you LESS energy because your body is too small to know what to do with all of this... energy... and you are hurting yourself and all of us and we're trying to get the bottom of why." (That's not verbatim what we said, obviously, but we did explain to her/all of them WHY things were about to change and apologized if and when it sucked.)

ED: Bo now ASKS "is there sugar in this?" when we're eating. And MIND YOU, there is sugar in everything and everywhere and Bo is still consuming some sugar... just not added sugar or refined sugar or anything high fructose devil syrup. I have found it fascinating how cool she is with not eating cookies after dinner anymore.

2. Coming to terms/being okay with being "THAT ASSHOLE" (everything is in quotes right now in this post apparently.)

People think parents who keep their kids away from sugar are insane. Unless they're the ones keeping their kids away from the sugar. Fair enough. It's kind of a relief to be the "asshole" or the "weirdo" or the "crunchy yuppy" or whatever the hell you've been pegged within a certain group. I'd rather be the asshole than the one dealing with night terrors at 2am so, high fives, assholes! High fives.

3. Natural Sugar is still Sugar. 

My kids eat TONS of fruit. And until recently, drank fresh-squeezed orange juice almost daily. Orange juice has more sugar per serving than soda, you guys. We're talking 50 grams for a large glass. And I was making fresh squeezed orange juice ALL THE TIME. Yeah, never again.

Sugar is sugar. It doesn't matter if its honey or sugar or fructose... it reacts in the body the same way. Fruit is obviously better because it has roughage and the body has to digest the roughage with the sugar so it doesn't go directly into the bloodstream but fruit juice REGARDLESS OF HOW NATURAL AND 100% JUICE it is, is just as bad as sugar water. Because without the roughage that is exactly what it is.

P.S. This is a great resource for the fruit one should stay away from if they have sugar sensitivity. Raspberries and blackberries have become our go-to for fruit for the twins and peaches and apples are also on the list of can-dos.

P.P.S. Coconut oil is AMAZING. Slathered on a piece of toast it ALMOST tastes like a treat.

4. CHECK EVERY LABEL. This will change your life if it hasn't already.

5. Be the change? Er, attempt to?  Hal has an INSANE sweet tooth and when we first got together, I used to find candy wrappers under the seat of his car. Because of that (and because Hal does most of the grocery shopping) we usually have a wide variety of goodies in the house. That has changed considerably in the last couple of months and we have all been better off because of it. Sneaking treats out of the cupboard used to be a thing and now it isn't. We've all been very much in this thing together.


Since cutting sugar, Bo hasn't had a SINGLE night terror. Not one. She has had a handful of tantrums, yes. And she is still what one would call a "spirited" and uniquely challenging human child.  HOWEVER, none of us have bled profusely out of our mouths or noses since cutting refined sugar (and most natural sugars) from her diet.

Her meltdowns are now brief.

And you know what else?

She doesn't ask for treats anymore, which is a win in itself.
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I would LOVE to hear from you guys about you/your children/family members and how they have been affected by sugar/what you do at home to manage your kids' sugar intake. Not just for me but for all of us, because judging from the comments on the last post, there are many of us in this here boat. Thanks in advance/solidarity.