Sugar is an addictive drug. It makes you fat, sick and depressed. It has many forms and names. It is in most manufactured food. It is easy to get addicted to it. It is difficult to quit. But once you do quit it is easy to do without. And when you do without it you can do better at everything you do.
It is addictive in two ways.
It effects brain chemistry. You feel happy when you anticipate eating some. But that happiness wears off. Then you crave more, so you don’t start to feel flat or sad. You become dependent on sugar. But sugar cannot make you happy.
It effects blood chemistry too. Your insulin level surges to metabolize it. Sugar makes you crave more sugar. You always feel hunger. That’s not normal. That’s addiction.
Any addiction is a big ball and chain. You drag it around with you wherever you go. It’s always there, demanding your attention. All addicts experience this. They crave their dope – drugs, gambling, porn, money, status, food – whatever they are addicted to – they always want some.
It effects all their relationships. Little by little all they can really focus on, all they really care about, is feeding their addiction. People, responsibility, work, the joys of life and the world around them, all fade. Only their dope stands out as sharp and meaningful and real.
Let’s say you know someone who has an addiction. If you should stand between an addict and their drug, even with good information, the best of intentions, with kind and caring words, even with love in your heart, they will ignore you or evade you. If they can’t, they will get angry with you. They will see you as an obstacle to their happiness. As someone who is attempting to hurt them. As someone who is trying to take their freedom.
They will try to eliminate your influence. Or they may try to eliminate you.
Drug dealers, on the corner or in the store, are not your friends. They may seem nice. But they are not looking out for you. They may say they sell what they sell to survive. They may say that if they didn’t sell it to you, somebody else would. They may say what you do with what they sell is your business, not theirs. They may say they knew not what they did. Or that they didn’t know how much you would use.
Whatever the merits of those arguments, they are not looking out for you. Even if they know you well. Someone who provides good, nutritious food, maybe with love in it, is taking care of you. Even if they have never met you.
To excel in our training, we are concerned with our performance, with output. We will be scrupulous about how we move, how often we train, how hard we work, how completely we dedicate ourselves to our art – measuring our performance against our training partners, competitors, aggressors, and ourselves – as we advance in rank and mastery.
To excel in our training, we also should be concerned with input: what ideas and techniques we choose to study, who we choose to spend time with, whose influence we respond to, how we educate and nourish our minds – and also how we fuel and nourish our bodies.
We would not willingly take poison into our mind. We try to avoid toxic people, toxic ideas, toxic environments.
We do not need to allow poison into our bodies either. We can choose healthy inputs which will support and further the goals of our training – in making our body strong, flexible, and fast, and in making our minds clear, sharp and skilled.
It takes a few weeks to break sugar addiction. After that there is no issue. One added difficulty is that sugar addiction is socially acceptable. It is insidious because it appears innocent. As if it was harmless, weak, pleasant, innocuous, and under control. For most people it is none of those. It is a burden, a poison, a threat to their training and to the quality of their life.
I mention it reluctantly. I want all the people I train with to be well and strong. It would be irresponsible to avoid sensitive subjects, if pointing them out could bring benefit.
We cannot be fooled by common custom. Right now, it is common for people to make themselves sick by conforming to cultural conventions that seem “normal.” By adapting to a pathological environment, they become unhealthy.
They are enabled by people who do not care for them.
But we are not victims. It is our responsibility to take care of ourselves. Physical self-defense is an important part of that. But self-defense goes beyond combatives.
We need to be alert the full spectrum of threats to our health and well-being. Not paranoid, but alert. We are free to choose wisely, as free people, as practitioners. Not as addicts, not as sheep.
Then, when we make ourselves free and strong, the full spectrum of life’s spectacular opportunities will appear.
Post Copyright © 2021 Jeff Brooks, author of The Good Fight – The Virtues and Values of the Martial Arts.
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