Is it possible to stop eating sugar and to live a sugar-free lifestyle?
What is candida anyway?
Why do I avoid dates, and why am I so picky about sweeteners on this blog?
Come find out.
If you've been around my blog for awhile, you've noticed something.
- I typically don't post recipes that include dried fruits.
- I use alternative sweeteners (like stevia and even--gasp--xylitol and erythritol.)
- My recipes are almost 100% gluten-free and are moving more and more grain-free
Why is that?
Well, I used to be a real sugar-aholic and that led to some pretty bad health effects.
I thought I really needed to share some of the stories with you so that you could learn more about me--and perhaps learn how to better care for yourself and your family.
My SAD (Standard American Diet) Childhood
I grew up in a family eating the Standard American Diet (SAD). A typical daily menu would look like:
- White bread toast with margarine and cinnamon sugar on it (and it wasn't my Healthified Cinnamon Sugar)
- School lunch (maybe pizza, milk, and dessert. When I got into high school, it was likely
- Pasta, stir fry, etc.
- of course, after school snacks of dry cereal, ice cream (like Breyer's Natural Mint Chip--if you LOVE that as much as I do, here's my low-carb dairy-free mint chocolate chip ice cream recipe!))
Of course, there was variation, but you get the idea.
As I grew older, my "health consciousness" grew, and I started eating more and more vegetables and fruits, and even whole grains, but I still was a real sugar addict.
I even worked at an ice cream parlor for years, which was a completely bad idea.
All employees would snack on the ice cream and candy bar toppings (when we had time), and there were numerous days when I came home stuffed and just couldn't eat dinner.
The Beginning of Health Problems
Years went by. I ended up with health issues that no one could connect the dots with.
- itching in my ears, which the doctor said was likely just dry ears "It's a vicious cycle. Just stop scratching them. It'll go away." Ummm...it didn't.
- vaginal itching (diagnosed as vaginitis)
- tinea versicolor (a fungus that discolors the back and abdomen with white, itchy spots. Typically it shows up in summer months.)
And as more years went by, more conditions showed up:
- on and off fatigue
- mood fluctuations including anxiety
I clearly remember the day (about 3 years ago) when I was standing after church, talking with two friends of mine. They were talking about candida. And sugar. And changing their diets.
I was listening but basically might as well have had my fingers in my ears, because I didn't want to hear what they were saying.
They were talking about:
- severe mood fluctuations
- vaginal "issues"
(Hmmm...sounds familiar, eh?)
And they were talking about candida.
I'd heard about candida, but no doctor had said that I had it. They should know what they are talking about, right?
One of my friends said she had had manic-depressive episodes and thought she'd have to give up homeschooling, but going sugar-free had helped her greatly.
I. didn't. want. to. hear. that.
Me? Give up sugar.
I really was basically standing there with my fingers in my ears humming to myself to block out their words.....
Why I HAD to start a Sugar-free Lifestyle
Well, fast forward six months or a year.
My symptoms progressed. Now I had:
- severe fatigue
- mood swings and depression (it's pretty easy to be depressed when you are severely fatigued.)
- itching scalp (sometimes this got pretty bad.)
- insomnia (I had always had a hard time sleeping, but it was getting worse.)
I felt like I'd hit rock bottom.
I didn't know what to do, but a friend who participates in our family's whole foods co-op shared her struggles with sugar and candida with me.
She pointed me to a site called Whole Approach. I took their Candida Symptom Assessment Questionnaire and my score was super high.
My allopathic background (I had been pre-med in college) led me to be suspicious of any "self-diagnosing questionnaire", but I needed help.
I pored over their site, and ordered their cleansing and candida-killing supplements, and started the candida diet.
Well, there is a lot more to tell.
I had horrible candida die-off symptoms the first two weeks or so of the diet. And I do mean HORRIBLE.
My diet had changed and now I was basically living a sugar-free lifestyle including:
- no sweeteners that feed candida (sugar, evaporated cane juice, sucanat, agave, maple syrup, honey, etc.)
- no fruit
- no dried fruit
- limited starches
Later, after following their protocol pretty carefully, I found myself in a pit of bad health again.
I'll be sharing more about that later. But let's just suffice it to say that I now think there is much more to know about how to get rid of candida than just cutting back on sugars and starches.
I do think checking out Whole Approach's site for dietary ideas and for their self-assessment can be quite helpful. Their sugar-free lifestyle tips are superb.
But I think you'll be intrigued to hear more about candida and its ties to other health issues in the future.
We've had a lot of health struggles in our family. It is hard to deal with them all, but I do hope that what I share can bring help and healing to others.
For more of the story, read:
If you could use some direction and hope for effectively dealing with candida, this Kicking Candida Program is for you.
I've heard nothing but good about this course and I'm going to be taking it myself–and my whole family very likely will too. Your coach, Paula Miller, knows what she is talking about and she gives loads of support to help you kick candida to the curb.
**NOTE there are some issues w/ this course sign up at present. If you'd like to take it, please reach out to Paula here and please tell her I sent you!*
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