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Choosing Candy

“Do you eat any sugar?”

I get this question a lot, and it always surprises me. Many people seem to be under the impression that because I eat mindfully (most of the time) and am a health coach that this automatically means I think sugar is evil and to be avoided at all costs.

So to be clear, I do eat sugar, though it’s true that I don’t eat as much as I used to, particularly refined sugar.

For example, I often have oatmeal for breakfast, sweetened with maple syrup. In the summer, I often make strawberry jam and vegan ice cream, both of which include agave nectar.

But I also eat items made with refined sugar. It all depends on my hunger levels and what I want at the time.

What got me thinking about this was when someone brought a bag of salt water taffy to work last week. I don’t eat a lot of candy, but that’s one type that I enjoy. The thing is, I don’t often buy anything like that because I end up with far more than I want.

From that perspective, having the bag at work turned out to be perfect. When I got hungry, I decided to include a piece of taffy along with the snack I had brought. That one piece, with the distinctive flavor and texture, was exactly what I wanted – and all that I wanted. Having more at one time would have been too much for me, not because I think sugar is inherently bad, but because my body simply doesn’t handle large doses of it very well anymore.

I chose a different flavor each day, for the few days before the candy disappeared. Each time I savored it, and when it was gone, I enjoyed the rest of my snack.

I’m not sure that anyone saw me take those pieces, though, which perhaps is part of the reason why I give the impression of avoiding sugar. In the future, I may see if I can find opportunities of eating something sweet around other people, as a reminder that I don’t only have foods with high nutritional content. That’s the case a lot of the time, but it may help others to remember that those of us who work in mindful eating and health-related fields may still sometimes choose candy.

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