We'd like to give a heartfelt salute to a hero of ours in the media world: Mika Brzezinski. Actually, she's a hero for two reasons. First, she's an excellent journalist on a terrific ensemble show that's an early-morning essential in our household, one of the only places in the media landscape where we can get a thoughtful analysis of the news while keeping a smile in our heart.
Mika, though, is also saddled with the hapless, heroic task of keeping Joe Scarborough, Mike Barnicle and a revolving cast of rambunctious post-adolescents on the good side of the line that separates funny from puerile. This in itself would qualify Ms. Brzezinski for heroic status (although thankfully she is not completely successful in reigning in her Wild Bunch, leading to some of the most insightfully hilarious episodes of news programming we've ever seen.)
There's something else Ms. Brzezinski does that is courageous, important and deserves to be saluted: She keeps a focus on crucially important issues that are being ignored, even willfully ignored, by other media. For example, just last week, after a joke by Joe about his grandmother living to a grand old age despite consuming apparently massive amounts of sugar all her life, Mika quietly commented that even though the research wasn't conclusive, she had an intuitive sense of the powerful effects of sugar on wellbeing. In a media environment in which the sugar/soda/candy industry outspends the natural foods industry by an amount that can be graphically illustrated with a picture of a T. Rex dinosaur and a gecko, it was refreshing, courageous and unfortunately rare for a major media figure such as Ms. Brzezinski to assert quietly the enduring value of common sense.
Before the sugar industry can put us on their list of undesirables, we'll cheerfully admit that we are by no means nutrition experts. We're also serial burger-biters and ice-cream lickers, so we don't even qualify as nutrition zealots. Our expertise is in the area of relationships, and in working with more than 4,000 couples over the past 34 years we've been together, we can tell you loudly and clearly: over-consumption of sugar has a powerfully negative effect on many relationships. It puts people through artificial ups and down, lowers their mood, puts their emotions on hair-trigger, and even can take the passion out of lovemaking. At least that's what couples tell us who are able to get their sugar consumption under control. They notice a steadying of the mood and an easier flow of intimacy, just as any couple would after stopping a major addiction.
Many people are highly sensitive to sugar, especially the cheap corn-based sugars of recent invention. For example, we've had couples come in to discuss issues of sex or money, whom we also discovered were consuming soft drinks at a pace of two or three a day. In one rare instance, it was twelve sodas a day, winter and summer. Couples who are able to wean themselves off excess sugar consumption are often able to eliminate a considerable amount of their conflict. As you eliminate the rattle and fluctuating moods caused by the sugar addiction, the remaining issues are much easier to deal with.
Thanks again, Mika, for keeping issues such as this in the public eye. It's important. (Good luck also in your heroic task of maintaining some sense of order among your unruly wards on Morning Joe.)
Drs. Gay Hendricks and Kathlyn Hendricks are the authors of Conscious Loving, The Big Leap and other books. More about their work at www.hendricks.com