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    October 7, 2003    PAGE TWO      
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 News & Product of the Month
 The Morality of Sugar
 Finding Your Motivation
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 Raiding Spaces
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 Taking Stock of your Life
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 Obese In The Workplace
 Reflections on a French Kid


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       The Morality of Sugar by Tracey Haider-Sprague

Tracey Haider-Sprague Tracey Haider-Sprague, a homeschooling mother of two, is also the Training Director for Small Beginnings, a Lay Ministry Training Organization in Seattle, Washington where she researches, writes, teaches and counsels. She, along with her entire family, began their low-carb lifestyle in April 2003.

Tracey posts as ‘Mamasita’ on the Talking Low Carb Forums, where she proves an inspiration for us all!


                                               "People would rather be wrong than be different."
                                                                                               Swift

Sugar I was standing on the sidelines of a second graders' soccer practice one evening. Having been a soccer mom for both my kids a collective five years, I have had my share of parents who either coalesced as a group or simply didn't. This year I was rather happy to see that the moment I arrived for my son's first practice, the mothers were sociable and actively began introducing themselves. They seemed genuinely glad to include me in their group. I was pleased since I dislike standing there in the cold, wind, and wetness with little to do but watch a mob of kids run from one end of the field to the other, rarely being able to kick the ball. Ah, the life of a soccer mom.

But the pleasure of this company was to fade quickly on the evening of the second practice. Another mother arrived and I was surprised to see that she was a relative of a very good friend of mine. As it turned out, the rule of six degrees of separation applied that night. Everyone in this group seemed to have known everyone else previously, or was in some way related — the-cousin-of-a-sister-in-law-of-a-friend-of-a-brother...

Five minutes into practice, the group began chatting and wrapped their Fall jackets about themselves to stay warm in the dimming light. The new member of the group began recounting the tale of her son's latest birthday. All was sweetness and light until she began to tell of how horrible it was that when the goody bags were being handed out, "that one child" had refused it, saying he was on Atkins. He didn't eat sugar. She continued, "His mother is on Atkins and she has lost so much weight! She is looking so good! But I felt so awful that I couldn't give him a goody bag. All the other children were eating the candy and I had to take all the candy out of his bag. He hardly had anything left! It was so unfair to him!"

Well, as it happens, I too know a mother who does Atkins. She's a dear friend. Her son's lost over thirty pounds and is doing well in school. He's stayed on plan and is doing great! I volunteered, cheerfully, that my whole family was doing Atkins also, in order to support her in absentia. This is when the woman lost her composure.

She came within eight inches of my face. As she spoke, her head tilted back, her eyes shut closed and her voice became so shrill that everyone on the sidelines turned to see who was yelling.

"I just don't think it's FAIR to the kids, you know what I mean?" She said in a high pitched whine. "I mean, if you want to do Atkins and think it's good for YOUR kids then of course that's YOUR decision, but I just couldn't DO THAT to MY kids. It's so HARD on our kids today. How could they possibly not eat SUGAR!" She repeated this like a broken record at least five times in quick succession and since I've had training dealing with all kinds of people in all kinds of moods, I kept calm and just let her go for it.

Another lady, who by the way is doing Protein Power, came to my rescue by diverting this woman's attention to her new coat and she happily darted from one subject to the next, leaving me to contemplate what I had just stepped into. Since the practice still had forty-five minutes to go, unfortunately the low carb life came up repeatedly and whenever it did, she ranted on the sugar issue and parents who lack true concern for their kids.

Later, driving home with my worn out seven year old, I was thankful for the relative quiet of my van. I knew there was something very odd about her attitude but it took me a while to sort it out in my head...

Suddenly it hit me. She had turned sugar into a moral issue.

In her mind, parents who deprived their children of sugar were not good parents, and she was. It was mind boggling to me. Never once have I thought that I was a better or worse parent on this point.

I've seen articles written, "Good Carb, Bad Carb." I've seen posts on different forums talking about bananas are BAD and lettuce is GOOD. Granted, processed foods, whether low carb or regular sugar and flour laden fare, have their problems. Either they have no nutritional value at all and actually cause health issues for some people, or there are debates on sugar alcohols and whether these items perpetuate cravings. But since when did regular unprocessed, non-refined foods become good or bad?

There is nothing intrinsically evil about a potato and whole wheat bread won't get you a stint in jail. No one is going to go to a very hot place eating corn and someday (I hope sooner than later) when I reach goal and can enjoy being on maintenance, I don't think my friends will end our relationship because I have carrot in my chicken soup.

I remembered the time I went to dinner at a friend's house. This family enjoys rice, and indulges in quite an abundance of it. But there was also a huge, beautiful filet of salmon, plus a delicious salad. The husband offered me rice... I politely declined. He knew I was on Atkins, but still looking a little forlorn said, "The rice is bad?" At that moment it occurred to me that no, rice is NOT bad! "No, of course, rice isn't bad. It just causes my insulin to go up suddenly and for now, I need to lay off. I would love to have some rice. It looks and smells delicious, but I think I'll pass for now." His face relaxed into a smile. His rice wasn't bad. I'm the one with a physical condition that needed tending to.

I probably will not eat white rice again, but that is my choice. I have no idea of what the statistics are, but a large portion of the world thrives on rice. I can't tell you how many articles I've read that say Asian countries have far less health concerns than in America, and their diet is filled with rice! I don't think they consider rice as "bad". (It should be noted here, though, that the rice most of the world indulges in is not the over-processed super-gummy/starchy variety so common on American dinner tables.)

Low Carb diets... er... lifestyles are gaining popularity at an ever increasing rate. Along with this "movement" comes jargon that can be helpful or not. Categorizing certain foods as good or bad is only a step away from categorizing people as good or bad. Have you found yourself as a low carber looking on in horror at the overweight person next to you downing a doughnut? What are the sentences that weave themselves through your mind?

I remember the days, not so long ago, when I thought I was being loving by making chocolate chip cookies with my two boys. I remember feeling so worn out and tired that a homemade raisin scone with tea was just the pick me up. Those days are over as I now realize they weren't helpful in my battle with my weight. At no time was I a bad mother, bad person, bad daughter, bad friend.

I am a strong advocate for the plan I'm on and I know others who are as well. But even within my own family, I have seen my own seven year old, who has been skinny and athletic since he exited the womb, not have an issue with insulin resistance. He is one of the blessed ones, who knows when to stop eating, runs around all the time, and often refuses dessert because he feels full from dinner. The absence of sugar from our home surely isn't going to hurt him, but I believe that he could probably have eaten a typical diet and never had a weight problem. His older brother is different. I am different. We all are different and many people have lost weight and lowered their cholesterol on a myriad of different plans. I just never did until THIS plan.

When I got home from the soccer debacle, I asked my children if they felt "deprived" food wise. They both gave me strange looks and funny smiles. "No!" They said in wonder. "We get good food all the time!" I asked, "Do you feel like you don't get enough sweets?" "We get Jell-O, homemade ice cream, muffins, and berries and whipped cream! We get sweets! We even get sugar free chocolate once in a while!"

And that said it all. This bad, bad mother is quite happy...

Copyright © October 2003  Tracey Haider-Sprague and Low Carb Luxury

                                                          




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