THE SPIRITUAL MEANING OF YOUR SUGAR ADDICTION

Can you balance unhealthy compulsions without losing your appetite for pleasure? Emma Whitehair wrestles with the demons of alcohol, love, and sugar addiction, and asks herself: “What are you really hungry for?”

“Could I continue to sink my teeth into life with enthusiasm while learning balance around an unhealthy compulsion?”- Emma Whitehair

Ughhhh … Krispy Kremes. Never something I’d choose to put in my body. So why, when a colleague turned up with a box full of them, did my inner werewolf rear its head? A demon who was frothing at the mouth to demolish the lot, while my sensible side tried to argue the case to “go-halves” on one.

The demon won, leaving me to contend with a toxic dose of self-loathing. 

My sweet tooth kicked in with a vengeance when I quit booze over a decade ago, and I felt that this new appetite was part of my continued search for escapism and relief. Love, too, came under this dopamine-inducing umbrella. My hunger for gratification also showed up in romantic fantasies of that one magic person who’d be capable of making me happy forever after …

However, unlike sobriety, going cold turkey on sugar (and love for that matter) didn’t feel like the right approach. Isn’t fruit sugar? Not to mention nutrient rich blackstrap molasses and antibacterial raw manuka honey? Where to draw the line? I’ll admit that my justifications sounded a bit like the arguments I used to have against quitting booze. “I just want to be able to enjoy a nice glass of Rioja with tapas, or champers at a wedding.” I know where those odd glasses can lead me though—the tail end of a two-day bender.

With an addictive personality, could I become moderate in this one area? And how not to lose my wildly passionate side and my appetite for pleasure in the process? I set out to discover if I could continue to sink my teeth into life with enthusiasm while learning balance around an unhealthy compulsion …

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:: BELLY BACTERIA BALANCING ::
My first step was to go into my gut. An overgrowth of yeast in the digestive tract can manifest as fatigue, a foggy head, anxiety and, most noticeably, sugar cravings. Overdoing it with alcohol, refined carbohydrates and sugary foods commonly causes this problem. Perhaps this was my werewolf’s lair?

I consulted Nutritional Therapist Claudia le Feuvre, who placed me on a course of Dida supplements and probiotics to tackle any pathogenic bacteria and to re-inoculate my gut with antimicrobials.

A few months later, I noticed my urge to bury my head in a bag of Haribo had disappeared. I now had the confidence that the issues were not tied to gut health. It was time to take my journey even deeper.

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:: IT’S ALL A METAPHOR ::
Claudia prescribed a reading list as a key part of my healing, and I consumed each title with gusto.

After living with the patriarchy for thousands of years, we’ve literally been starved of our divine feminine. The result? We’re now going wild with addictions and disorders as we fill our bellies to fill the emptiness in our hearts. Women Who Run with the Wolves and Eating in the Light of the Moon both have this concept at their core, and show how cravings can be metaphors.

The Gift of Our Compulsions inspired me to meet my compulsions with curiosity rather than resistance in order to get at what lived underneath them. By cultivating detachment from my thoughts, feelings, and sensations, I could witness my cravings.

When I declare ‘I’m hungry,’ I am identified with this experience. Whereas ‘this is hunger’ creates space for me to relate to what’s really happening, and ask if the statement is true. And in most cases, it’s not true at all. It’s more like ‘this is boredom/procrastination/loneliness,’ which I can either try to remedy or simply observe without needing to ‘fix.’

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:: A SESSION WITH THE SPIRITUAL NUTRITIONIST ::
The final part of my work with Claudia involved a 1-2-1 session where she called upon her spirit guide to help us “recode inner conflict” and used kinesiology to identify a potent mantra.

During our session, my arm suddenly gained strength from the words: “I am in tune with my body’s nutritional needs, and have no hunger for food beyond them.” This was then used as a mantra in a kind of Psych-k self-hypnosis meditation, where after about 10 minutes Claudia was shown by her guide, with a shiver through her body, that our work was done.

Although, I didn’t feel a bolt of lightning during the session, it’s like a spell has been broken. I feel relaxed around my usual triggers, and noticeably more tuned in to the intuitive whispering of my body.

Now, when I get the urge to eat when I’m not hungry, I often seem to instinctively know what tactic will help me ride it out. A few deep breaths, a drink of water, or a big stretch is usually all it takes.

Art: Sustici

:: THE FAST OF ENLIGHTENMENT ::
My newfound gut feelings also told me that the next step in this journey was to introduce a fasting practice to help me regain a sense of the true nature of my body’s hunger. Fasting is the most natural way to rest the body, giving it the chance to do the “housework” needed to repair cells and cleanse the itself, while improving immunity.  

When I started losing my appetite for a meal in the evening, I took it as a sign that my body wanted the benefits of some regular light fasting. So from around 5pm to late morning, I often stick to water and herbal tea. And although I sometimes go to bed feeling hungry, intuition tells me my digestive system needs this rest. I’m now sleeping more deeply and I wake feeling light and much less hungry than if I have a meal the night before.

I’m also committed to fasting at least a couple of days per month, usually over the New Moon—my version of the “Lunar Diet.” Near the Full Moon I often crave extra calories because of my cycle, whereas during the New Moon I feel more like hibernating. It’s also the ideal time to go inwards and set intentions for the coming astrological season.

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:: WHAT AM I TRULY HUNGRY FOR? ::
Using tactics to pause when I’m tempted to grab a substitute for what I really need has been a total (third) eye opener!

It’s given me the sense that my appetite is primal. We’re first comforted as babies through sweet breast milk and so sweetness will always be associated with mother love. An absence of that kind of nurturing can show up in dysfunctional relationships with comforting substances like sugar, alcohol, or the dopamine hit you get with the first flush of ‘love’.

So what to do in the present about a void from the past? Some sweet ass self-loving of course! We all have the chance, right now, to be the parent we needed growing up. Allowing feelings that have been buried in the past to move through us is how we evolve …

My epiphany about my constant low-level hunger? There’s fulfillment to be found by relishing my appetite, rather than chasing gratification. It’s summed up in this quote from one of my all-time favorite movies, Take This Waltz: “Life has a gap in it. It just does. You don’t go crazy trying to fill it like some lunatic.” I simply need to accept, and even celebrate, the fact that there will always be this hunger within me.

So when Krispy Kreme (a.k.a. my Soul Challenge on this journey) announced their new flavor (Hershey’s Cookies ‘n’ Crème, in case you were wondering) by sending a truckload to my office, I met my inner wolf with curiosity. I saw that she wasn’t a “demon” at all, and just a part of me wanting to be comforted. “Be moderate in order to taste the joys of life in abundance,” says Epicurus. So I enjoyed half a donut. Leaving enough room to still be able to taste the sweetness of life.

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Emma Whitehair is the founder of London based boutique lifestyle PR agency, WHITEHAIR.CO, which specialises in fashion, beauty, and wellbeing communications. 

HOLY F*CK: STYLE YOUR CROWN CHAKRA WITH A HAIR SHAMAN

The higher the hair the closer to Goddess! Alexandra Roxo chats with hair shaman Andi Scarbrough about gem combs, crown chakras, and beauty work as ministry.

 

“Your hair becomes an offering to spirit to catalyze the internal change”- Andi Scarbrough 

Hair identity is a HUGE part of our self-expression, especially for women. Our hair reflects our cultural and ethnic background, the subcultures we are a part of, and even our spiritual and political beliefs. Hair has both been part of sacred and ancient rituals, and has been used to repress and humiliate women. Through all of it, our locks have held incredible power.

But like most things sacred , hair rituals have been commodified. We see a Super Cuts on every corner and the mass homogenization of hairstyles that’s been dictated by celebrity and popular culture more than anything.

So what about reclaiming HAIR as another sacred as hell space for ritual, transformation, ceremony, tribe, and lineage? Stylist and hair magic maker Andi Scarborough is doing just that!

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I’ll admit, I was nervous (aka panicked) about letting someone cut my hair. But when I arrived at Andi’s salon, she scooped me into her chair with a quieting presence. As she began to run a rose quartz comb through my frizzed out mop, I felt myself loosen. I realized just how tight the control I had around my hair was.

As she gently asked me a few questions, I found myself revealing my whole “hair story” to her. I shared all the times I was ridiculed and the shame I still carried. All the times I had tried to tame this hair and the point when I started making my hair red.

As she counseled and intuited my hair story and my hair needs, the tears began to flow. As she snipped, she reminded me of all the old Loves, the stories, the pain, everything that was releasing with the hair falling to the ground.

I cried for the rest of the day. I was shedding. I let myself shed the old layers. I let myself release.

Post cut, I sat down with Andi to hear more about her work … 

Rose Quartz Gemcomb- to purchase your own contact [email protected]

Alexandra: How do you describe your work?

Andi: Women’s Health just quoted me saying “I believe this work is a sort of ministry.” Part of me still thinks this is hysterical! I had an experience when I was a little girl where a woman faith healer came to the church and told me that I would go into ministry. Then, I promptly left the church.

It’s funny to me how your purpose finds a way through you, no matter what you try to do instead. Your ministry is the vehicle that you use to deliver your message and in that sense, mine is a beauty ministry.

My work is about clearing out the shrapnel from the crown chakra. That clearing allows you access to the divine wisdom you already have. You don’t need a guru. You don’t need any of that. It’s about remembering the god source within.

Alexandra: That’s beautiful. I love that.

Andi: This is the part where I do feel like it becomes more of a ministry, rather than energy work.

Alexandra: After your work clears the crown chakra, how does it help align people with their soul curriculum?

Andi: I was talking with a client recently about her curly hair. She was telling me how she straightens her hair because she wants it to be more manageable. So, I asked her “What part of you feels like you’re hard to manage?”

It’s interesting because the way you do one thing is the way you do everything. The way you choose your hair color or your hair texture are all echoes of the stories that are already in place. We’re only choosing what we think is available to us.

Alexandra: I can talk about my hair without it being emotional, but the actual physicalizing of the experience brought things up that were very emotional. When you were doing my hair, I felt safe enough to share my hair stories and history- it felt like a ritual and like a therapy session.

Andi: Like ceremony. We do our hair so that we can be seen the way we think we need to be seen, and it’s the piece that we correct externally. It’s like makeup over a blemish. Rather than clearing out whatever the clog is, we wanna just sort of gloss it over and cover it up and make it look sort of nice from far away.

But our hair is actually a time capsule. You’re literally carrying around a diary of every experience, every hormone flux, everything you’ve eaten, everything you’ve not eaten, every time you were sick. It’s all physically there with you.

Alexandra:  Wow, yeah. I never thought about it quite like that.

Andi:  That’s why you get haircuts when you have big life stuff happening, or you want big life stuff to happen.

Cross culturally, the hair symbolizes so much. Whether it’s the Native Americans wearing their hair long and braided to ground them back into Mother Earth, or not cutting your hair in Kundalini so that you have a longer antennae to spirit, or in the way it’s cut in some Tibetan rituals and Hindu rituals. It’s a sacrifice. One of my favorite examples of this ritualistic aspect is when girls go to college. Often, they’ll sacrifice that high school long hair as they step into womanhood.

Your hair becomes an offering to spirit to catalyze the internal change, or to let spirit know how serious you are about the internal change.

Hair Shaman Andi Scarbrough

For appointments with Andi in LA, please call 310-751-4484 or email  [email protected]. Due to the sensitive nature of this service, online booking is not available. More information and service pricing is available at www.andiscarbrough.com. And be sure to follow @crown_works for hair rituals, treatments, and processes!