Wednesday, November 23, 2005


Last Wednesday, I mentioned seeking the help of a local spiritual healer since my New York physician was unable to curtail my sugar cravings. Last Friday, my aunt came over with one. She’s a rather stocky Visayan about 55 years old. Her father used to be their town’s albularyo (medicine man) and had passed on the torch to her, so to speak. She does her healing through hilot (massage); however, she would first go into a trance-like state to allow her spirit guide to take over and pinpoint any health problems the client might be suffering from.

There wasn’t any health problem seen in me. As for my sugar dependency, she simply recommended to put some diced ginger in boiled water; that whenever a craving for sweets kicks in, I should have a couple of sips of it. Moreover, she claims ginger is good for flushing out the impurities that may clog our arteries.

She then proceeded to give me a massage with oil of her own concoction. The diagnosis sort of left me in limbo; I thought my complaint was taken too lightly. The massage, on the other hand, was incredibly soothing. It was by far the most healing I had ever experienced. She detected several lamig spots (knots) all over my body and worked on each one methodically. After it was over, all I wanted to do was sleep. I felt invigorated but at the same time weakened by the entire session. The next morning I felt extremely revitalized.

The hot ginger drink works so far in suppressing my sugar cravings. I complement this regimen with certain tricks learned from the past like immediately brushing my teeth after each meal. This way, any leftover salty or spicy tastes in my mouth would be washed out and no desire for sweets would be triggered.

In addition, so as to prevent sugar attacks, I limit myself to fructose, which is sugar from fresh fruit. I also limit my intake of rice (a real challenge since it’s a regular staple that goes with any Filipino dish). Rice and other carbohydrates like bread and potatoes turn into sugar once ingested. So for now, I have to resist the indulgence and adhere to moderation. As we all know, one of the adverse effects of sugar addiction is obesity.

Incidentally, this week, Inside PCIJ is running a series of reports on the theme, Food and the Filipinos. One of which is Vinia Datinguinoo’s The Big Picture, which outlines why Filipinos—especially their children—are becoming overweight and obese. Overall it’s an excellent report, but I was rather disappointed that she didn’t elaborate further on the contributions of refined sugar to this growing dilemma. However, she writes, “Health nutritionists and experts agree about the ingredients that make up what they call an obesogenic environment, one that makes people grow fat, fast: high-fat, high-salt, and high-sugar diets.”

In the States, the press is intimidated by the almighty sugar industry; not to mention that Washington is blatantly subservient to its powerful lobbyists. Oftentimes, it’s also the case of the publishers not wanting to miss out on the millions of advertising dollars doled out annually by various sugar-rich product manufacturers. This is the reason why there isn’t much public awareness of the addictive nature of sucrose in America.

Sadly, those who deny this fact are almost always addicted to sugar themselves without admitting it. It’s sad because in their denial, they subconsciously pass on their addiction to their children. For those who think refined sugar does not adversely affect them health-wise, my intention is to make them aware enough so they may at least save their children from sugar addiction. In short: if not them, their children.

To cite an example as to how sugar encroaches its way into our homes and wins over our children, the article Sugar, Sweet Suicide claims, “With only 16 calories per teaspoon, what's the harm in a little sugar? Problem is, we can't get enough of the stuff. In a world where soft drinks and processed foods have become dietary staples in lieu of fresh fruit and vegetables, fiber-rich grains, and pure water, people are swallowing an average of 4l teaspoons (or 201 grams) of sugar daily, 31 teaspoons more than the maximum amount recommended by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Over time, that adds up to a whopping 162 pounds per person per year. And when you consider that part of the population eats far less or no sugar at all—diabetics or babies, for instance—that figure further soars. Thanks to their love affair with soft drinks, many children are at the higher end of this scale, consuming an additional 21 teaspoons of sugar daily.”

Next Wednesday, I’ll cite more instances as to how sugar affects our minds and bodies. I will also write about other resources in my battle to overcome my sugar addiction.

Until then, to borrow from Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, “love the one you’re with.”


Advice for Parents with Overweight Kids

A major lifestyle change means deciding as a family that everyone changes

The Big Picture - Why Pinoys Are Fatter Than Ever
By Vinia M. Datinguinoo - Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism

The Politics of Sugar

Sugar, Sweet Suicide
Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients

The Addictive Personality: Take the Test,

Disorders by Enneagram Type


posted by Señor Enrique at 4:34 AM


Anonymous NoelG said...

Enrique, I know of no one who does not like sweets. I have my compulsions: 3 bars of Baby Ruth in one sitting. Thankfully this only happens once every 3 or 4 weeks. Interestingly enough it seems to come with regularity. I allow myself this small pleasure and don't think much about it.

BTW, massages are great. You should have them regularly.

November 23, 2005 10:06 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Aha! Did you say, come with regularity, my friend? :)

Mine is way beyond; indeed, an addiction. I was once successful in licking my nicotine dependency, and I am optimistic I will do away with this one as well. I guess if I b#t*h about it often enough it'll pack up and leave me for good.

Yes, I have requested a regular appointment. Massage can be healing.

Hey, Noel, any new photos???

(Thanks for the mention,too!)

November 23, 2005 12:19 PM  

Anonymous NoelG said...

Yup, there is one, Enrique. It was raining hard w/ strong winds in New York yesterday, the 22nd, and my DSL service was down so I couldn't post anything.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving day here. We know what that means - sweets to go with that wonderfull Turkey.

Happy Thanksgiving Day!

November 24, 2005 12:39 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

I hope the rain had stopped. Nothing worse than a wet parade.

More on the turkey and less on the ... on second thought, will there be pumpkin and apple pies? Oh, how I miss them. How about those Entemann apple strudels? Or how about the cinnamon buns at Macy's bake shop in the cellar? Connolis from Little Italy? Cheesecake from Junior's in downtown Brooklyn? How about the creme burle at Dean & Deluca down in Broadway and Prince? Enough! Aaaaargh! This is sheer torture!

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 24, 2005 4:25 AM  

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Life in Manila as observed by a former New Yorker who with a laptop and camera has reinvented himself as a storyteller. Winner of the PHILIPPINE BLOG AWARDS: Best Photo Blog in 2007 and three Best Single Post awards in 2008.


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