I haven’t eaten sugar since 2018. I don’t talk about this very often because people tend to freak out a bit when I do. Typically people proclaim that they could never stop eating sugar. This is of course not true, people can stop doing all sorts of things but the role sugar plays in our every day life is huge so I get it.
For me, removing sugar from my diet was a necessity. I had the choice to either cut it out or watch my health plummet. I have always struggled with blood sugar imbalances, it runs in my family. About eight years ago, I started to drastically reduce my refined sugar intake and saw an improvement in my health, energy levels and digestion. This was working well for me, even throughout the pregnancy and birth of my son in 2013.
In the summer of 2018, however, I was finishing up my nutrition training and found myself with my first ever UTI. As a result I was put on two rounds of very intense and very different antibiotics. My gut flora was decimated and I felt like garbage. I was devastated because, after studying nutrition for a year, I was acutely aware of the importance of a healthy gut microbiome.
After a month of antibiotics, I was finally able to start rebuilding my digestive health but despite eating well and taking copious amounts of recovery probiotics, I felt awful. My energy was tapped, my brain was foggy, and I was mentally overwhelmed. But the strangest reaction was that I started gaining weight rapidly and I was obsessed with sugar, I craved it constantly.
It didn’t take long to acknowledge that I had yeast overgrowth in my system. I had always struggled with candida but this was excessive and came on quickly. Now, if you have ever made bread or kombucha, you know that what yeast loves more than anything is sugar. Well, this is what was happening in my digestive system, I was craving sugar because the abundant yeast colonies had a direct line to my brain. They were hungry.
So, I did what anyone would do to remove a prolific invader, I starved them out. I quit all sugar and cut out all fruit and starchy vegetables. This may sound extreme but consuming any glucose producing food would immediately disconnect me form my digestive system, causing irregular hunger cues, energy cycles, and increasing inflammation. When I abstained from glucose producing foods, I felt better, a lot better.
Immediately, my brain fog started to clear and my mood increased. Pretty soon, my sleep improved, my skin cleared up, I had increased energy, I no longer binged or craved junk food/sugar, and I felt really proud of myself for doing the work to improve my health. This last part was the biggest and ultimately what keeps me committed to remaining sugar-free.
We all know that sugar is bad for our health but few know how harmful it can actually be and how unnecessary it is to have in our diet.
More to come on that later.