I Heard He's Some Kind of Harsh Metaphor / by Will Ringland

I retconned 1 the last few days of temperance. I've been more off that virtue than I previously considered. I (try to) adopt a broader view of temperance beyond alcohol.

Franklin's intent with Temperance was to keep the mind clear and unpolluted:

Temperance first, as it tends to procure that coolness and clearness of head, which is so necessary where constant vigilance was to be kept up, and guard maintained against the unremitting attraction of ancient habits, and the force of perpetual temptations.
From the Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

It is my desire to accomplish similar: keep my head clear and work towards bettering my whole-self. What I regularly forget is that more than just alcohol messes up my brain. Since a customer trip last week and continuing through this week, I've been eating so poorly. I think it has affected my ability to sleep; which, in turn, affects my routine; which affects my organization; which affects my productivity.

And that wrecks my happiness.

The Devil Sugar

I do not process sugar properly when I'm consuming it on consistent and extended days. I rapidly become insulin resistant causing my blood sugar to spike and trough like a bad novel, each fall laden with syrupy but banal dialogue. It is not pretty. My mind rages and flails and lash out against everything: every little thing becomes a personal slight, an attack, a blitzkrieg against every thing I stand for. It is as awful being in my head for it2.

Sugar is plentiful (why is there so much sugar in pasta sauce?) and my access is seemingly unbounded.


Gluten and I have a standoffish relationship. Most of the time, she's kind of benign, seemingly pure. But consume the really refined stuff and she reveals to be a vacuous and vindictive monster who will run you over with her car and ditch the scene3. I try to avoid her but she, like sugar, just won't get the point, and skedaddle.

In Aggregate

Now, the sneaky part is that every instance of sugar or gluten is entirely justifiable. When I've been properly temperate, even when clearly thinking and being, like, For Real rational I will formulate all sorts of fiction, flush with holes the size of Rolls-Royces just to cram some pastry in my pie hole.

It "works" so often. Often enough that I am starting to think sugar and gluten addiction may be real.

The Cycle of Evil

Here's my pattern:

  • Eating sugar and gluten leads to blood sugar crash
  • Which leads to either more sugar or more coffee
  • (both of) Which leads to dehydration
  • Which affects my ability to breath
  • Which affects my sleep
  • Which prevents me from rising with my alarm
  • Which throws me off my morning review
  • Which reduces project focus
  • Which leads to more reactionary work
  • Which is tiring
  • Which leads to skipping the gym
  • Which leads to unhealthy dinner
  • Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

This may sound like I'm grasping at phantom lights here but I've been tracking this for a long time now. The evidence is pretty sound from reviewing my Virtue Journal which is... good. I guess that I see the terrible? I'm just unsure how to actually beat this problem.


Because of @Alyska's food allergies, we keep a lot of carbohydrates in the house. There are some days where she can't keep anything else down. As much as I'd like to ban carbs from the house, it is impractical and potentially dangerous.

Still, there has to be an element of resolve here even (and especially) if society reacts weirdly to people that don't want to eat sugar4. And that may be me unnecessarily burdening myself; I just feel like if this win doesn't come from within me, it won't last5.

  1. verb: revise (an aspect of a fictional work) retrospectively, typically by introducing a piece of new information that imposes a different interpretation on previously described events.

  2. In retrospect. Every vile thought appears perfectly rational, if not reasonable as it rises from the muck....

  3. My guts are nouveaux riches trash anyway.

  4. It is incredible the derision, the scoffing, and the faces people pull when you tell them you on't want to eat sugar or carbs. Seriously, I get stranger and more disgusted looks for than than I ever have for being visibly disabled.

  5. I've thought about isolating carbohydrates to a single cabinet and Alyska and I have talked about it. I've even thought about locking it if we do. Frankly, I'd be terribly embarrassed by that. It's the sort of thing you see parents doing to "help" their fat kid lose weight.

    "What you don't have enough self control not to eat?"

    Well. Yes. I do, in fact, have problems avoiding sugar.

    When you put it like that, it doesn't sound bad.

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