"Let's Talk About" Series, Blog
I am addicted to sugar, and so are you.
Amber Shehan • October 24, 2011
Occasionally I have to just cut out the crap. The crap being sugar. My body just doesn’t appreciate copious amount of it, which is a really funny joke for someone who slings honey, isn’t it? We are all addicted to sugar, you guys. Sugar is in EVERYTHING in the standard American diet. Soda, coffee, juice, beer, wine,…
Occasionally I have to just cut out the crap.
The crap being sugar.
My body just doesn’t appreciate copious amount of it, which is a really funny joke for someone who slings honey, isn’t it?
We are all addicted to sugar, you guys. Sugar is in EVERYTHING in the standard American diet. Soda, coffee, juice, beer, wine, ketchup, salad dressing, bread, fast food and processed food. Sugar is called by many names: Corn syrup, molasses, fructose, lactose, honey, sucrose, barley malt, cane, sorghum, caramel, maltose, dextrose, sorbitol…
Sugar is an addictive substance. Our bodies crave it with a fervor similar to that of nicotine. In fact, cigarettes were far easier for me to quit than sugar has been.
I’ve been living with chronic candida for many years now. Candida is a happy little microorganism that lives in our body and does its job. But candida is like gremlins…you can’t overfeed it or it’ll ruin everything and scare small children! Or at least make you itchy and exhausted. Candida feeds on sugar. And when it has an overabundance of its favorite food, it grows. And grows. And grows…and spreads throughout your body.
Candida overgrowth can cause a myriad of symptoms from headaches to yeast infections in any moist, warm body areas, to systemic exhaustion, stomach discomfort, and more. I’ve never been one for strictly following doctor’s orders, as I’m not fond of prescription drugs. The last time I saw a doctor for candida overgrowth I was given a medicine that made me break out in hives. So I keep the miserable moments at bay by being aware of my nutrition. I support my health and candida balance by eating live culture yogurt daily and also by taking acidophilus supplements. But when I get too alcohol-happy or have to can a bushel of apples (which involves a lot of tasting!), or gorge on cupcakes, I tend to suffer for it afterward for days with exhaustion, itchy, dry skin, and worse. Then it becomes time to watch the sugars in my diet. I’m not into hardcore fasting, so I try to be reasonable about it.
I don’t follow the exact candida diet guidelines set forth by traditional western medicine, as I disagree with some of the standard assumptions about healthy sugars and live cultures.
Eliminate from the diet:
- Bread and pasta
- Fruits and juices
- Wine, Beer, Liquor (so hard for a pixie to do!)
- Sugar (duh)
- Honey (whimper)
- Soda (not that hard, kicked that crap long ago)
- Boxed Foods (seriously, even Mac n Cheese is full of sugars. I had NO idea until I started reading boxes)
- Fast Food (sugar in every sauce; ketchup, mustard, ranch, in the bread and rolls, and sometimes even in the meat product itself)
Consume healthy foods:
- Salads: protein-rich, chickpeas, beans, boiled egg, avocado, crab, deli meat, tomatoes, cucumbers, mushrooms, and NO CROUTONS. Also, cheese, but only a bit (lactose is a sugar). I use herbal vinegar and oils to flavor the salads instead of bottled dressing.
- Proteins: Meat, beans, potatoes (sparingly), chickpeas, eggs, kale, broccoli, lots of heavy foods. I love sushi fish at this point in my diet, but I avoid the wonderful sushi rice with its sugared vinegar and keep it straight to sashimi.
- Rice noodles/Rice: Brown is better than white, but it is still a sugar food. Can’t quit ’em all, and this is more easily processed by my system, I’ve noticed.
- Live Foods: vinegar with the “mother” – like Braggs, and if I do consume bread, it is sourdough! The live enzymes help to balance the microcosm in my body. The same goes for homebrew drinks and fermented foods like kim-chi, kombucha, and especially wild-fermented food. When I do this diet shift, I tend to feel that tomatoes and other “sweet” veggies are okay in moderation, because I am not trying to completely deny my body of its needs, just eliminating the overwhelming sugars in the average American diet.
On day four of my most recent fast, I broke a mid-morning hunger with a salad topped with a handful of raisins. The sugared, dried fruit was too much and awoke my physical dependence on the sweet stuff. That was a terrible mistake, as I spent the rest of the afternoon in a grumpy, antsy, anxious and snappy state that was unpleasant for myself and everyone else around me. “MORE,” my body cried, “MORE!” In a couple of days, I will integrate more sugars slowly and gently into my diet, using honey vs. sugar whenever possible. And I will do my best to remember moderation so that I don’t have to fast again anytime soon, but can find my balance and walk the line in health and well being.
How many sodas do you drink a day? If you have chronic health problems with your stomach and gut, or fatigue and rotten moods, try scaling back the soda before you add a pill or diet onto your life to try to fix the bumpy patches. I know it sounds crazy, and it’ll get worse before it gets better, as with any withdrawal symptoms, but you might come out of the fire renewed and healthier with that one simple change.
Here’s a TED video about sugar and how it works in the brain:
How strong of an influence does sugar have on you?
Get some live cultures in your gut!