A few years ago as I was starting to dig into my Paleo journey, I decided it was about time I put myself on a sugar detox. Like I shared with y’all last Monday, I was tired of being caught in the vicuous cycle of losing control around sweets, overdoing it, then spiraling down into shame and punishment.
I was always a ‘I deserve a dessert a day’ kind of person. And in some ways, I still am though it looks A LOT different now than it did four years ago.
If there was birthday cake around, so was I.
If there were chocolates in the candy bowl, I needed to have one.
If someone was giving out samples of granola bars in the grocery store, I needed to try them.
If my husband wanted to get ice cream, I had to eat some ice cream, too.
If sugar was around me, I couldn’t help but oblige it and indulge in it, even if I knew I didn’t really want it or felt a little too full to truly savor it.
After hearing one of my favorite Paleo podcasts, Balanced Bites, discuss how toxic sugar can be to our systems and how it can wreak havoc on our metabolisms and immune system and so many other aspects of our life, I decided to give their sugar detox a try.
To be honest, it was kinda tough.
No artificial sweeteners or stevia, no honey, no maple, nothing processed that had sugar or natural sugar in it, no alcohol, and no overly sugary fruits (peace out ripe bananas, pineapple, oranges). After each week, you could slowly include a little more natural sugar into your diet.
While it was not the most pleasant three weeks of my life (because of course life goes on and I was still going out with friends in Dallas and around birthday celebrators at work and exposed to daily treats and temptations), it sure did open my eyes to how much I let sugar control me.
And by cutting out sugar for those few weeks, it set me up on a path in which I now can easily resist the weekly donuts and birthday cupcakes and other treats that roll through the teacher’s lounge that would cause nightmares to diabetics.
Because I made the painful choice to rid my body of those daily sweets that weren’t doing me any benefit, I bettered my physical and emotional health in the long run; my immunity, skin, digestion, sleep and overall sugar cravings seemed to balance out a little more.
I realized putting too much garbage into the system only results in garbage coming out of me.
And y’all, I’m here today to emphasize that this rule doesn’t just apply to our physical bodies; we’re going to have a little spiritual detox today. It may not be fun or pleasant at times, but we will be better in the long-run for doing so.
Plus, no cayenne pepper, lemon juice, or maple syrup concoctions are required!
With Lent right around the corner, it seems like an appropriate time to discuss detoxing. In high school, I remember a lot of my friends, myself included, giving up certain foods for Lent as a way to openly diet under the halo of spirituality rather than vanity.
While our thinking was a bit skewed (i.e. I’m giving up chocolate to remind myself of the suffering Christ endured for me on the cross….hmmm that's not quite how Lent works but at least we were in the ballpark), we understood the idea that we all have things in our lives that we could eliminate to improve our spiritual health.
Luckily, we don’t have to go about this detox alone. In fact, if you have ever tried to eliminate a spiritual toxin from your life, say Facebook or gossip or judging others, without asking for the spirit’s strength and empowerment, there’s a pretty good chance you were unable to eliminate said toxin from your daily life.
As Titus puts it, before we have spiritual cleanliness, we are all slaves to all kinds of passions and pleasures that deter us from our relationship with Christ. While these passions and pleasures aren’t always inherently toxic in themselves (exercise, a job, marriage), they quickly can become hazardous if they take on too much importance in our lives.
He goes on and explains, “What comes out of a man is what makes him unclean. For from within, out of our heart’s, come evil thoughts…all of these evils come from inside and make us unclean” Titus 7:20-23.
Dang y’all, I know day in and day out I’ve got plenty of not so nice thoughts weaving in and out of my mind, and every now and then they slip out into unkind words or selfish acts. That’s the curse of this whole sin thing, though. We will and will continue to constantly mess up.
However, in Hebrews 12:14-17, we can see how we can change our hearts and have holiness despite our wickedness and shame and overindulgence in Hershey’s kisses.
Through prayer and accepting God’s grace, we can achieve a sense of peace and holiness that, otherwise, would be impossible to attain.
But we’ve got to be proactive. We can’t just hope and wish ourselves to become spiritually cleaner and healthier; we must allow God to meet us where we are and invite Him to keep pushing us past where we already are.
If we approach Him with surrender, allowing Him to set us apart in His holiness, we will start to see the grip that these toxins once had on our lives starts to lessen. Those external things in our lives that really just don’t matter seem to dissolve from the front of our minds.
And like any true detox, once we stick with it and persevere through the weeks of cleansing and purging our spiritual lives from these thorns, these weeds, these toxins, we start to glow and radiate in His light.
So let’s live in light of how He cleansed us. Let’s go on a spiritual detox for a healthier, happier life!
Today’s Challenge: Like I did with sugar a few years ago, identify one area of your life that is deterring your life, that is having a little too much control of your actions and thoughts. Maybe it is food, maybe it is a relationship, maybe it is social media. For the next three weeks, yes three, limit yourself from this toxin. Pray daily for strength and perspective to see how it grips you and pulls you away from God.
Today’s Prayer: Father God, perfecter of my faith and soul, I praise You that love me so much to see that I am blameless and clean at the blood of Your son. You have cleansed me. And now, because of the sacrifice already made on my behalf, help me to see how I’m transformed by Your grace. Strengthen me so little things do not draw me away from Your grace. Help me keep my eyes fixed on You. Let You be my focus. And allow me to emerge a stronger, healthier servant for You. Amen.
Healthy Happy Texan
I'm a Foodie, Fitness Instructor, and Follower of Christ. Add a passion for teaching others, dark chocolate, bacon, and dogs -- and that's me in a box.
Come on, let's live a little!