Back in early February, I decided to give up sugar for a number of reasons.
For starters, I was sick of feeling addicted to it. I’d crave something sweet every single day and it was sabotaging my fitness goals.
I was eating sugar for the soul purpose of rewarding myself and wanted to break that cycle, to let go of that emotional dependency.
Have you ever noticed that sugar actually makes you hungrier?
Eating sweets cause our bodies to produce more of the hunger-stimulating hormone ghrelin and suppress leptin, the hormone that makes us feel full.
For me, that led to over snacking.
Eating even the healthier added sugars like maple syrup and whole grains like oatmeal bloated me. My stomach was constantly distended, I had terrible water retention, and I felt uncomfortable in my own body.
When my stomach upset me, it felt like my brain couldn’t function. I was exhausted and had terrible headaches accompanied by brain fog.
For a while, I thought something was seriously wrong and even had an MRI scan to make sure it wasn’t a brain tumor. Luckily it wasn’t.
After learning more about the gut/brain connection, things finally clicked. Whatever was going on with my gut, was directly related to the brain fog and headaches.
After researching all of the gut healing diets (candida, FODMAP, GAPS), I found that eliminating sugars and starches seemed to be the key.
But, I struggled with the idea of restricting myself to a sugar-free and grain-free diet. All I wanted was to feel good and eat a balanced diet.
So, I took things slow, first cutting the added sugars and grains, then cutting back on fruit and naturally sweet foods like coconut water.
These days I’m eating a lot more healthy fats from avocado, raw nuts, and grass-fed beef that make me feel satisfied for longer.
When I’m craving a treat I’ll have a piece of extremely dark chocolate with nut butter, but I don’t make a daily habit of it.
If I’m craving something starchy, I’ll eat a sweet potato. Some days I just need carbs in my life, especially on HIIT workout days and luckily sweet potatoes don’t seem to bother my stomach.
Honestly, I’d forgotten what it’s like to feel good and be able to think clearly. I feel like I have my life back.
I’m not sharing this story to try and convince anyone to eat a specific way because I don’t believe in a one diet fits all approach. I think you have to do what works for you.
I want to give hope to anyone who may have a similar health problem. Do your research, experiment with food, visit a naturopath. Whatever you do, don’t accept that you have to feel this way and have faith that you can heal yourself.
Some helpful links: