In Islam we have an ancient wisdom that says, “Actions are according to intentions, and everyone will get what was intended…” This comes directly from the mouth of the Prophet Muhammad, Peace and blessings be Upon him. One commentator on this wisdom notes: “the believer should constantly ask himself; “Why am I doing what I am doing?”
That’s a darn good question. Why am I giving up sugar for 21 days?
We talk a lot about oil, coal, the dangers of fracking. I even wrote about these energies from hell in my last book. We also talk about other things like the drug trade, in fact there have been silent and militarized raids on heroin dens here in Brooklyn - that murderous trade is on the rise. We talk about human trafficking, child pornography, and slavery that exists to this day - all scourges that must be ended. We do NOT talk about sugar in the same way.
Maybe we should.
It s the second day of my fast / cleanse from sugar and while there are certainly going to be health benefits from the abstention I am equally, if not more, reflective about the role that sugar has played on the world stage.
The production and mass selling of sugar has shaped countries and dramatically altered families, whole communities, and regions. The early demand for sugar puts it in league with alcohol, tobacco, and cotton as one of the primary fuels for the slave trade. Millions of Africans were brought across the Atlantic to Brasil and to the United States to work on plantations that helped to feed the Western worlds burgeoning sugar addiction. This cleanse is perhaps akin to the way a vegan swears off eating meat because of cruelty for animals - it is a direct intervention into the normal operating procedure of how we live our lives.
We accept so much about the present time and do not allow ourselves to recall that things have always changed and that the things we take for granted once did not exist. 100 years ago Saudi Arabia did not exist as a country, the Ottoman Empire was still intact, and nuclear weapons did not exist.
What original intentions created the places you know and love so well? We discount the power of intention in todays world. The original intention of sugar producers was for the mass production to make money. They prioritized maximizing profits at the expense of the sovereignty of the Hawaiian people and the freedom of millions of black Africans.
Even if it is just a brief moment to be reflective, pause and gain a deeper understanding with the relationship that I have to sugar, especially since its productions has literally shaped world history. Giving it up right now make so much sense.
Photo: A typical meal that is NOT on the good food list from a breakfast on South Beach that I enjoyed a few weeks ago.