What does discipline look like for you?
During the spring season, growth is all around us. Living in New Jersey, I have the pleasure of the experiencing the beauty of the four different seasons. Even if you do not notice it completely on a daily basis, subtle changes are happening. As the daylight gets longer each day, the plants have started their intuitive rebirth. Perennials, shrubs, and trees that flower all undergo a complete shedding of life in the fall. Before we see the growth of spring above the earth, deep beneath the earth the changes have begun. Before you know it, the daffodils, tulips, cherry trees and forsythia will brighten our landscape with beautiful shades of yellow and pink.
It is only natural that humans in this area undergo a similar pattern of shedding and germinating. Every year at this time, I usually get a burst of energy to start a new project or practice discipline in a new way. In yoga there is a term called tapas, which means to heat or burn away ignorance without causing pain. It is one of the five niyamas, or ways to treat our internal world. Tapas comes in many forms and can also be defined as discipline. It is going to class when you don't want to, getting up to meditate even if you prefer to sleep; it is sweating it out on the mat and it is also growing through emotional struggles. Tapas is also tolerance, and tolerance grows with happy practice.
"A hero is a man who can stand one minute more." - A saying about Swiss Mountaineers
For me, I have been struggling with sugar. I absolutely love anything sweet and I can usually find balance within my diet, but lately the cravings have been tough at night. I recently went through some personal changes, including a move, that have shaken me to the core. And that means eating sweets late at night. So, I begin again with new inspiration. When the cravings come, because let's be real they are coming, I will take a few moments to close my eyes, say a mantra and drink herbal tea.
Here is a short video on the effects of the devil... I mean... sugar!
Have you ever noticed that there is not a daily recommended value for sugar on a nutrition label?! The American Heart Association recommends that adults limit their intake of sugar to 100 calories (25 grams) a day for women and 150 calories (37.5 grams) a day for men. Too much added sugar increases your risk of coronary heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, hypertension and obesity-related cancers. However, glucose is the best source of energy in our body, in fact all carbohydrates turn into glucose and can be metabolized by all organs in the body. That means, naturally occurring sugar in fruit is healthy, especially because the fruit and other micro-nutrient foods also have water and fiber, which help digestion. On the other hand, processed and refined sugars turn into fructose, and can only be metabolized in the liver. Eating a lot of fructose leads to extra stored fat.
So when I went food shopping earlier this evening, I looked at the labels. I bought plain yogurt because it had 10 grams of sugar, compared to the 34 grams of sugar in the flavored. I bought bananas, spinach, blueberries and almond milk to make smoothies with. I stocked up on fresh apples and oranges. I am mostly going to be restricting myself from eating cookies, cakes, ice cream, and basically all my "sweet" dessert late night eats. Are you addicted to sugar? Share your story in the comments below and Happy Tapas!
Read about Sugar & Heart Disease from The American Heart Association