After feeling like I was perpetually pregnant for years, I decided I needed to make a change. Was this feeling caused by my endometriosis and related IBS-C? I wasn’t sure, but I had to do something. Would changing my diet help? And if so, what do I change?
Around the same time, my co-workers had started an intense workout and diet program and were feeling great. One of “rules” of the program was to give up dairy. Like every day. Like you could only have it as a “treat,” as in one meal per week. Oh, no! That was not going to work for a self-proclaimed “cheeseivore” like me. Maybe I could eat cheese six days a week and give it up for one, but not the other way around. I even made up a song about it. Remember the Mariah Carey cover of “Without You?” Well, here’s my version…
♪ I can’t live,
if living is without cheese.
I can’t give,
I can’t give up dairy. ♫
OK, I feel better. Now, I’ll get back to the story. I found information about sugar and how it wreaks havoc on our bodies, including our gut, our skin and our hormones. “Hmm,” I thought. “Maybe, I should look into one of these sugar detox programs.”
So, in short, I just went for it, giving up all added sugar, including artificial sweeteners for 30 days. I was amazed when I discovered how many products contained sugar! I mean, I knew about ketchup and tomato sauce, but soup, really? Yeah, because I typically add sugar to my homemade soup…NOT! Salad dressing was another one. Why, people, why?!
The other discovery I made was learning of the various names companies use for sugar in their ingredient lists. This article lists 56 of them. Of course, some of them are natural, such as honey for example. But for 30 days, I gave up even these.
As part of my makeshift “detox” program, I also gave up products made with refined wheat flour, white rice and products made with white rice flour for the 30-day period. I’m not a nutritionist, but I had read that these foods quickly digest into sugars in the body, causing blood sugar level spikes and increased hunger levels. The only wheat I allowed myself to eat during the detox period was Ezekiel bread, because it contains sprouted grains rather than refined flour, and I had read that it had a lesser effect on blood sugar because of its whole grains. I also allowed myself to have foods that had naturally-occurring sugars, such as dairy, fruit, etc.
I lost close to 10 pounds and my bloated belly in 30 days, and have lost some more weight since! I slowly reintroduced foods with added sugar, but continued to avoid refined sugar. When I do consume sugar, I stick to natural sugars such as honey, maple syrup and coconut sugar, but limit the quantity I ingest. I have been eating this way ever since except for a cheat here and there. We did go to Hershey Park recently where I treated myself to a peanut butter cup martini, and of course, I had to have a slice of ice cream cake on my birthday. But, in doing so, I can’t say that I felt good.
Sugar is not my friend; it is the enemy! OK, maybe that’s a little harsh, but I know what it does to my body and I don’t like it! Also, it really doesn’t taste as good as it used to after giving it up for an extended period of time. That’s because our palates are being retrained. I remember gagging on a peach about a week into the sugar detox because it was too sweet!
Today, I am also still avoiding products made with wheat flour. I will occasionally eat white rice and products made with white rice, but I typically stick with brown rice.
For me, foods like sugar and wheat are addictive. For example, taking one little bite of pizza just leads to another and before I know it, I’m having the whole slice! Then I can’t stop thinking about it and I want more again the next day. Also, when I eat foods with sugar and wheat, I feel hungry again sooner than I do when I am not eating them. I also notice that my hormonal acne and endometriosis symptoms improved after giving up sugar and products made with wheat flour.
People who’ve noticed the change I’ve undergone have asked me what products I use. Below, is just a small sampling of my current favorites.
Want more recommendations? I’ll be posting more of my favorite products and recipes in the future on my upcoming new blog: Sweet Enough – Refined Sugar-Free & No Sugar Added Eating (NOW LIVE)!
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