Okay I confess: I am a bit of a Netflix junky. I have always enjoyed just turning off and watching a great movie or television series, and I especially enjoy the documentary choices on Netflix.
This past weekend I happened upon a documentary film titled That Sugar Film, which as many of these nutrition centred films are, was enlightening. This was not the first documentary of this type I have watched, and I always find they can bring little gems of knowledge to the surface. Now I had a feeling this was not going to be a pro sugar film, but what it revealed was quite interesting. Without giving the entire film away (in case you want to tune in yourself), basically it involved a main character who experimented with increasing their sugar intake for a specified period of time in order to see how this affected his mind and body.
One of the things he discovered through this experiment was that his personal energy level was completely affected by this spike in sugar consumption. He found himself with a complete lack of energy, and he also felt that his brain was fuzzy; almost as if he could not think clearly. He described this sugar induced state as being “as if he were living in a fog.”
The scary part about this for him was his realization that most people regularly ingest the same amount of sugar that he did, but they do so just as a normal part of their diet. We have grown accustom to having extreme flavour with food, and this is not necessarily a natural way to ingest and enjoy food. In addition, we have basically become oblivious to the hidden sugars that may be in food, which also contributes to eating more sugar then we should. The amount of sugar we eat has become increasingly alarming, and this has led to an incredibly high rate of obesity, diabetes and other physical health related problems. However, what the film brings to light is how this sugary diet basically renders most people “fuzzy.” When we infuse our body with sugar to this extent, we literally cannot think straight. Not only do our energy levels plummet, but our brains do not work as they should.
When the film maker returned to his normal very reduced sugar diet, he found himself not only increasingly energized, but he could finally think and see straight; it was if the fog had been lifted and his brain could work once again.
In yoga we ascribe to the mind body connection school of thought – that the mind and body are intertwined and work in tandem, with one affecting the state of the other (in simplified terms). When we look at nutrition, we see yet another mind and body connection: that what we eat and ingest can directly impact on the mind and how it functions. If we ‘abuse’ the body by fuelling it with all the wrong things, the ramifications on the mind are enormous. Our brains do not work as they should and our energy levels will be completely out of whack. Energy and clear thinking are two states of being that are not only important but crucial to live a balanced and healthy life. Without energy, we limit ourselves in so many aspects from exercising, yoga and other activities, to performing simple every day tasks; all of these things require energy to perform. Also how can we survive in a perpetual state of fuzziness? Everything in life becomes that much harder without a clear head on our shoulders, unfettered and undistracted. Finding some awareness in the foods and drinks we put into our bodies, even if its just beginning to notice the choices we make, can actually help us see things more clearly….and who doesn’t want that?