“It’s a prime ingredient in countless substances from cereal to soup, from cola to coffee. Consumed at the rate of one hundred pounds for every American every year, it’s as addictive as nicotine — and as poisonous.

It’s sugar.”

This is the beginning of the product description for a book called “Sugar Blues“, by William Dufty, inspired by the crusade of Hollywood legend Gloria Swanson.

It is “the classic, bestselling expose that unmasks our generation’s greatest medical killer and shows how a revitalizing, sugar-free diet can not only change lives, but quite possibly save them.”

I read this book years ago, and for a long time I removed sugar from my family’s diet. But, when my marriage fell apart, when I lapsed into other health problems (due to extreme food allergies I didn’t know I had at the time), and when I became a single mother supporting three children, I resumed my old diet.

Years later, I’m now in a happy, stable marriage, with an amazing and health-conscious man. I work from home as a full-time author, and our family has been put on a special diet called the GAPS diet to heal our bodies of the food allergies and digestive symptoms most of us suffer from.

Our six year old has Irritable Bowel Syndrome and eczema, symptoms from multiple food allergies only recently diagnosed. Our 8 year old also has IBS for the same reason, and an addiction to sweets that stems from these problems. I too have food allergies, digestive problems, and struggle with my weight.

The GAPS diet is designed to cure this over time, to heal the dysbiosis (leaky gut syndrome) that is causing our problems, and this diet requires a strict adherence to NO SUGAR, no starch (including all rice, potatoes, wheat etc.), no processed foods. It’s a diet high in vegetables, meats, fermented foods, nutritious broths and fruits.

This change in lifestyle has been challenging to two writers who aren’t fond of cooking, but for the sake of our health, we’re doing it.

The biggest challenge has come from outside our home.

It seems everywhere our children go there are adults determined to push candy and sugary treats at them. It’s really quite stunning!

We recently had a well-intended neighbor come by with giant bags of gummy bears (GIANT BAGS) for our kids, and argued with us when we politely declined. We finally had to tell him that our doctor has forbade that, and we are all on a special diet.

At the grocery store today, an elderly employee trapped me and another woman with two children in the bathroom (literally trapped us, she blocked the door with that big mop bucket they use), while she pushed candy into the children’s hands without even asking the mother. I was glad my kids were with my husband at the time.

At school, our kids are rewarded for academic achievement and good attendance with such things as ice cream socials, candy treats when they reach reading targets, and pizza with the principal. Now that there is a doctor’s note on hand with the school that our kids can’t have any food not directly provided by us, our children are excluded from these events and feel left out and saddened that their achievements are no longer celebrated.

As Valentine’s Day approaches, we have even considered keeping them home from school that day so they don’t have to spend the day warding off offers for candy and treats from their classmates.

We do what we can from home to give them yummy things (strawberry ice cream made from raw milk, frozen strawberries and raw honey, and dried mangos, honey bread made with coconut flour and more) but we can’t always send them with special treats on days like those, because we never know ahead of time when they will be.

How are we to raise healthy children in a society that is determined to poison them with sugar?

Do you think the term poison is too strong? That I’m overreacting and that a ‘little sugar never hurt anyone?’ I strongly recommend you read Dufty’s book. I’ll be rereading it now that I’m ready to embrace this change so completely.

Sugar is truly a poison that is deadly to our culture, and yet we peddle it to children as if it’s harmless.

When did it become okay for strangers to shove candy at kids without getting permission from the parents?

When did schools become so obsessed with this need to reward our kids for every good deed with buckets of sugary treats?

When did things like bread and soups start requiring sugar in them to sell?

The U.S. has become a candy culture, or maybe more accurately a sugar culture. It’s a unique challenge to live counter-culturally and raise kids at the same time.

I love our children’s school in many respects, and I know they mean no harm to any of the children, but I believe we need to start instituting healthier choices in our schools and homes.

We need to start demanding that sugar be taken out of food.

We need to research the devastating effects that sugar is having on our culture, and look at how sugar has destroyed nations in the past (read the book!).

I want to raise my children in a way that promotes health, vitality and life. It shouldn’t be this hard to decide to eat healthy in this country, and it saddens me that my kids, who are quite happy with the food they get at home, feel so out of place when they eat healthy at school.

What are your thoughts? Have you noticed any of this? Do you have rules about how much sugar your kids eat? What are your school’s policies on food and treats?