I found myself in a pretty deep, dark hole when I was in my early 20s. I had just returned home from living in Germany for a year and was ready to leap into a new chapter of my life. And then I got sick. Suddenly I was tired beyond belief, I could barely muster the energy to get up and make breakfast before flopping back onto the bed. My weight plummeted despite needing to eat constantly all day along. My stomach would inflate to the size of a soccer ball and I would be only the floor in the fetal position in agony. Eventually I turned an alarming shade of grey as my body struggled to absorb enough nutrients. I went to endless doctors (both medical and alternative), I was poked and prodded, was diagnosed with endless conditions, given a multitude of pills and potions, yet nothing helped. Not surprisingly I fell into a deep depression. This didn't feel like any way to live! Fast forward a few years and I went back to Germany where I was finally told I had candida... a bad case of it. I was prescribed a huge amount of natural medicine to help my body recover, and had to end my relationship with sugar cold turkey! My health improved dramatically but I quickly learned that it was more than a quick fix, it required a lifestyle change. I didn't touch sugar or alcohol again for a long time and learned to be very strict with myself. Funnily enough, like with many addictions once it's out of your system you actually stop craving it.
Lately those cravings have been getting stronger again. I have something sweet almost everyday (and not just a little something, often it can be a couple of pieces of cake), I'm drinking wine most nights and I can feel the candida creeping back. So I'm doing what I've done many times before in the past ten years, I do a body cleanse. It's like a re-set for my mind and body, almost like wiping the slate clean and starting over. I thought I might document my journey this time.
WHAT I'M AVOIDING
- Obvious sugars (cakes, biscuits, chocolate)
- High sugar fruit (bananas, apples, kiwifruit etc)
- Dried fruit
- Sweet drinks (actually I've never drunk soda's and generally don't drink fruit juice so not much trouble there).
- White flour
- White rice
- All alcohol
If you do the true candida diet you would limit anything containing yeasts and molds as well... which is practically in everything we eat.
I intend to remain as sugar free as possible for the next month. After that I'll go back to allowing myself 'natural' sugars with the occasional naughty treat. From past experiences once the cravings have passed you often prefer savoury over sweet anyway.
MY SUGAR DIARY
Everyday is a battle with that little voice in my head saying, "Go on, just do it. You've been so good, just treat yourself. You haven't had much sleep, just have a little pick me up. Everybody else is having some, a little taste won't hurt". And everyday I have to take a deep breath and push those thoughts away. I'm constantly in the pantry looking for something to fulfill my cravings, but nothing savoury satisfies and I feel hungry most of the time. I'm feeling crabby, I've yelled at Ayana, snapped at Nic and slammed a couple of doors when nobody was around. I'm feeling antsy, drained and fatigued. I know that I could make it all go away in an instance by sitting down to a nice piece of cake right now, but the satisfaction would be temporary. Luckily this isn't my first sugar free diet so I know this misery doesn't last for long. It's such a reminder of what an addictive substance sugar is though. Here's how I got on during my first week:
- Ditched my daily 3pm Lindt chocolate habit.
- Opted for a green tea rather than my favourite Kokako hot chocolate in a cafe.
- Turned down all beer, wine and whiskey that was offered.
- Left the healthfood store without my usual carrot cake to devour on the drive home.
- Resisted the temptation to get that little chocolate donut I often reward myself with at the supermarket (I mean seriously, a reward for doing the grocery shopping?! I should be ashamed... I ashamed!).
- Didn't eat a single gingernut biscuit that Nic asked me to hide from him (so that he wouldn't eat them in one sitting!).
- Sushi (twice). Sushi rice is mixed with a delicious sugar/ rice vinegar mix, plus it's white rice.
- Dumplings. Homemade but still made from white flour.
- Ethiopian injera. Not traditionally made with white flour, but I suspect this did contain some.
- A pretzel. Again with the white flour.
- I'm making a big effort to drink my 8 glasses of water a day.
- I have just started drinking apple cider vinegar.
- I've also started taking flaxseed oil on a regular basis
Well there you have it. I'm glad that my first week is behind me now, it was a real battle of willpower! I feel like I did pretty well and I have high hopes for week two :).