Also, a little update on my "cleanse": I decided that I am far too small with a far-too-persnickity digestive system to eat only vegetables even for three days. Since this whole "let's feel better" process began as a result of over two months of antibiotics and steroids, I knew what I really needed to do: eliminate sugar for awhile. Why? For years, I've struggled with an overgrowth of yeast in my body. (The gastroenterologist actually found yeast growing IN MY THROAT. Not a good sign.)
Anyway, what causes yeast to spiral out of
control? I'm not on birth control though I was in high school, which
caused the overgrowth at that point for me. Antibiotics, steroids, and
too much sugar also serve as culprits. I love me some fruit in the
summertime, but even the fruit in sugar feeds the yeast. Fermented foods
(NO! PICKLES! I LOVE YOU!) feed yeast. Starchy foods that turn into
sugar if not burned off quickly (POTATOES, COME BACK!) feed the damn
yeast. All things that taste deliciously wonderful feed yeast. Here's
the real kicker with the yeast (the bastard formally known as candida
albicans): its overgrowth sends my Sjogrens (autoimmune disorder) into a
Tasmanian devil tizzy. Before I took the sugar out of my diet, my
skin/face/everything felt as if someone lit it on fire. I turned into a S'more. (But not one I could eat because...sugar.)
I bought a book called I Quit Sugar.
I ate it up--figuratively, of course--within a few days of having
bought it. I love it for all of the scrumptious sounding recipes in it,
but there are some she uses brown rice syrup for. Umm...I checked the
bottle. Still sugar. Still feeds yeast. Whatever. It includes a lot of
helpful information on sugar, why we crave it, why we need to "quit it,"
and why the author quit it (so helpful to read her testimonial). Also,
some recipes I can tweak and others I can leave as is. The most helpful
information I gleaned from the book, however, was actually in the form
of inspiration. She says not to beat yourself up if you "slip up" and
she says you need to wean yourself off (none of this cold turkey
business) because we are programmed to crave sugar. Quitting cold turkey
typically leads to binge eating sugar and then crying over your empty
bowl of sugary goodness because, will power, where the hell did you go? Boys chase girls chase sugar.
am about two weeks into the whole "check ya later, sugar" thing, and
though I have some more tweaking to do, I feel much better already. My
Dad calls the two of us "grazers." We love our snacks. Snacks make
quitting sugar especially difficult. I am still navigating this nebulous
territory. It appears even many nuts (cashews/walnuts) have sugar, but
the amount is so miniscule that I have a difficult time believing
they'll do me much harm. For a few weeks (once I figure out the snack situation), I'll probably say buh-bye to nuts with sugar in them.
Here's what I'm avoiding (for now):
* All fruits
* Fermented foods
What's getting me through (a.k.a. what I'm eating):
up enough to fill half of a cereal bowl; pour some olive oil and apple
cider vinegar (balsamic has quite a bit of sugar in it) over the
cauliflower; put the bowl in the microwave for 55-60 seconds; sprinkle
it with pepper/salt/chili powder. Sweet crackers and juice, I've found
me a favorite snack! Also, heating it up for about 55-60 seconds makes
it easier to chew and digest. (No need to fear a severe attack of the walking farts.)
a lot because there is some sugar in them, but I'm still learning how
to create snacks on the go; this'll do for the weaning off stage
* Unsweetened almond milk smoothie--I open up my probiotic capsules and dump the powder into almond milk; I add drops of liquid Stevia;
I add three ice cubes; I blend it in my bullet; I stick in a straw and
drink it. It's the perfect "sweet" treat without actually being sugary.
* Cucumbers--salt them; put a little olive oil on them; add some oregano; have fun with spices
* Hummus--I figured out how to make my own, which I might continue to do only because it's so much cheaper.
has a negligible amount of sugar, so I use it instead of rice/potatoes
as sides. It has a lot of potassium, protein, fiber, and folate. There's
a learning curve when trying to fix it, but I'm nothing if not
* Mozzarella -- now, this one I don't eat
often because dairy can offer its own set of complications for this who
issue. However, I refuse to give up cheese. Vegans, you will not convert
me. Sorry. I stick with fresh mozzarella instead of any aged cheeses.
* Eggs -- Strap an S on its chest because the egg is my superhero.
* Crackers -- okay, a very specific cracker that I can find in only some grocery stores (Giant has them). They're called Artisan Nut Thins by Blue Diamond. They're not perfect, but they're great for giving me a little energy when I hit a slump during a snack time high (late afternoon).
* For a very long time, I have been an extremely conscious eater because of my cantankerous digestive system. I don't love any food enough to allow it to double me over in pain. Quitting sugar is not easy, and people look at you funny over it. People look at me funny for many other reasons, so why not add another? Anyway, here is what I've noticed with only a minimal amount of sugar in my diet:
- my sinuses are much more cooperative
- the redness in my face has gone down A LOT
- my acne has cleared up significantly
- my body does not feel like someone set it on fire (best perk? probably.)
- I don't feel unbearably bloated, which makes my stomach look really lean. (I see now why body builders cut out sugars before competitions!)
- quitting sugar and being gluten intolerant makes me hate reading labels, so I eat VERY little processed foods (I guess the crackers are the closest to processed despite their having lots of good things in them like flax seeds); I find this result to be positive.
Very Important Note:
I do a lot of research when I decide to alter my diet even a little. I do not alter it for weight loss purposes, but my way of eating would probably make a lot of people feel better, which I think is essentially why many people want to lose weight. For me, it is the same reason: to feel better. Ultimately, I really listen to my body; I might be too in tune to it, but I am what I am. If I eat something and it makes me feel bloated, or gives me horrific stomach cramps, or I get little bumps on my lips, or my autoimmune disease flares up, I modify things. Everything I eat (and choose not to eat) is a result of how it makes me feel physically. Of course, when I am not in pain, I feel better emotionally and mentally, too, so that's a happy bonus.
If you're interested to know what a typical day of meals and snacks looks like, I'd be happy to share. In fact, I might share anyway. Ever altered your diet? Ever tried to quit sugar? What were your results? Feel free to share in the comments.
Note: I am not a doctor, so you should always consult your doctor before following the advice of any random person online. The commercials are wrong: just because you read it online does not make it true. I am simply sharing what's working for me based on visits to doctors and researching a LOT.