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Ready for a little dose of honesty today? I’m not sure I am, but let’s get to it before I chicken out!
For about 8 weeks now, I’ve felt like my health has taken a downhill turn. In November I started having stomach aches a few times per week, usually fairly mild and brief. I thought nothing of it. As time went on, they became more regular to the point where I was in pain at least 2 or 3 days a week. They would often come with a side of sudden fatigue, sending me to the couch for a nap sometimes as early as 10 o’clock in the morning.
I visited my sister in Utah over Christmas and for whatever reason, I only had a stomach ache once and it wasn’t very bad. I also felt energized and alert. Then once I returned home, all the symptoms returned: stomach pain, bloating, extreme fatigue, low energy.
In the past 3 weeks, things have gotten worse, to the point where I’m down with a stomach ache and in need of a nap almost every day. Sometimes the severity isn’t bad, other days it’s horrible.
I’ve been frustrated to say the least! Up until late November, I was doing perfectly fine. I felt like my health/digestion/weight were better than they had ever been. I’ve wracked my brain trying to think of what I’m doing differently, how I’ve changed my diet or exercise, or what new supplements or foods I’ve been eating. Nothing has stood out to me.
But yesterday I had an epiphany. I started thinking back to this past summer and spring when I felt quite well and rarely had stomach aches. What was I eating? What was I not eating? What did I eat or not eat over Christmas that would have relieved my symptoms?
And then it hit me. Can you guess?
Sugar. Carbs. Not refined sugar, but natural sugar. The carbs found in fruit, dried fruit, starchy vegetables, grains, you know the drill.
I’m eating more natural carbohydrates now than I used to 5 or 6 months ago. Why? I don’t really know actually. With time and seasons, our habits slowly change until we’re on a different path completely. Lately (like in the past few months) I’ve been eating more fruit, gluten-free grains, and honey than usual. Unhealthy amounts? Nope. But for a carb-sensitive person, a little more than usual can make all the difference.
I don’t know why it has taken me so long to see this, since now I feel like it’s as plain as day! Bloating? Stomach aches? Blood sugar crashes (fatigue)? These are classic signs of sugar/carb overload.
Putting It All Together
Thinking back to Christmas, I ate very few starchy carbs and sugars while at my sister’s. Maybe a few apple slices here or there, but I generally stuck to proteins and veggies. (I’m always a little nervous about digestive problems hitting me when I travel, so I guess I take extra care to eat clean.)
Now that I feel like I’ve discovered what’s going on here, there’s only one way that I can confirm it: doing a sugar cleanse.
Yes, I—the Sugar Shocker video person—am going to take my own advice and majorly dial back the natural sugars and starchy carbs. It’s time to purge the ol’ diet and get squeaky clean. My health depends on it.
Does that mean I’ll never go back to eating sweet stuff ever again? Certainly not! There’s a time and place for life’s sweet pleasures. But like I always say, moderation is different for every person. What one person can handle, another cannot. Finding nutritional balance in your life is all about knowing your limits and your triggers.
The Sugar Cleanse
So for the next 30 days (yes, 30…I just typed that out) I’m committing to a sugar cleanse. I hesitate to call it a “cleanse” since that seems so much like a fad diet word, but for sake of argument let’s just go with it. And I’m telling you guys about it because I need accountability. I need someone other than me to know what’s going on.
If you have any of the symptoms that I’ve mentioned already (bloating, stomach aches, fatigue, wonky digestion) or others like trouble sleeping, lack of or increased appetite, skin conditions, difficulty focusing, low energy, the feeling of a “wired” brain, or strong cravings, there’s a good chance you could benefit from a sugar cleanse, too. So all the more reason for me to share about my 30 day journey with you!
Let’s start with what will be on the menu these next 30 days:
- All non-starchy veggies, including lots of leafy greens.
- Protein. Chicken, beef, turkey, eggs…pretty much any protein source other than dairy.
- Fat. (Thank heavens!) Olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, nuts and seeds, and olives.
- Extras: mustard, fermented veggies, herbs and spices, sea salt, salsa (no sugar added), and tea (no sugar added)
And now a look at what’s off the table:
- Fruit, both fresh and dried.
- Sweeteners: cane sugar, honey, maple syrup, agave nectar, stevia, coconut sugar—yep, all the sweeteners.
- Starchy vegetables: potatoes, sweet potatoes, beets, and winter squash (including pumpkin)
- All grains (yes…even quinoa, millet, rice, etc.)
- Dairy (ghee is generally okay if tolerated…I can’t tolerate it, so it’s off the table for me)
- Kombucha, because even though it’s full of probiotics, it also generally has a few grams of refined sugar in every serving. (Remember, they add up.)
A few exceptions:
- Carrots. Even though they’re a starchier vegetable, I’m allowing carrots in moderation. Honestly I find it hard to eat more than 1-2 carrots per day, so I don’t think these will be an issue.
- I may add small amounts of sweet potato, winter squash, parsnips, or rutabagas once in a while if I feel the need for more substance, but if so it won’t be every day and it will be 1/3 – 1/2 cup size servings.
Sound a little drastic?
Yeah, it does to me too a little bit. But I’m so looking forward to seeing my results over these next 4 weeks. If I can get the stomach aches and fatigue to go away simply by changing my diet and focusing on less natural sugar and starch, I know it will be 100% worth it.
I’ll be blogging my way through this entire process. You’ll be seeing a lot more of me as I check in with you with videos and updates on how things are going. Why am I going to share so much with you? Because I believe healing with food works! And I want you to join in the journey with me as I show you how I use food to make changes in my body and ultimately in my health.
If you want to join me for the 30 day sugar cleanse, hop right in! Leave a comment and let me know if you’re on board. I’m so excited for this venture and can’t wait to see where I am 30 days from now.
Thank you for reading, as always!