Finding out I was a sugar junkie changed my life |

Finding out I was a sugar junkie changed my life

When I was in my mid-30s, I developed Candida, which is an overgrowth of yeast in the body. The only way I found to cure this was to follow a strict diet, which changed my life. The biggest thing that I needed to change was my intake of sugar. Now, I came from the generation of the beginning of sugar in everything. As a kid, I lived on Captain Crunch cereal, fluffer nutter sandwiches and cakes, cookies and pies. We had dessert at every meal, and we did not eat many fresh fruits and vegetables. After all, we were a family of seven and my mom was on a tight food budget. The junk food was cheaper then the healthy food. My mom did the best she could with what she had. When I first got sick and realized there was something seriously wrong, I was living in Breckenridge. I was exercising a lot and working at my own business. I was under a lot of stress. I had been eating a high carbohydrate diet for a year or so. At that time, this kind of diet was popular for energy and endurance. When I found out I had Candida, my diet was to eliminate all sugars. This meant refined sugars, i.e. cookies, cakes, pies and anything with sugar in it. I also had to eliminate all fruits and grains as well as pastas. Coffee and alcohol were not allowed. Well what was left? Not much in my normal diet, so I had to really change the way I looked at food and take a good hard look at the fact that I was a sugar junkie! The first week on the diet, I thought I was going to die. I had no energy and I was hungry constantly. My friends and husband thought that I was crazy, and wanted me to stop, but I knew deep down that I had to do this to become healthy. I was going through withdrawal from all of the sugar that I had in my body, and the only way to kill off the Candida was to starve it. And it lives on sugar. Slowly I gained my strength and started to fell clearer. I had more energy and I was happier. My mood swings were less volatile and my PMS was non-existent. I had learned to read labels on anything that was processed. Most things you buy at the store have sugar or wheat added, and I could not eat either. Sugar is not only in desserts, but it is in yogurt, cereals, potato chips, juices, granola bars, breads, crackers, soups, ketchup, salad dressings, jelly and the list goes on. Sugar is in just about everything that you buy that is not a whole food or something that you cook yourself. Wel,l my only alternative was to start cooking. This way, I would have healthy snacks and soups that I could just grab when I was starving. So what was I eating?I started eating lots of raw and cooked vegetables, lean meats that were natural or organic if at all possible, and fish. My strict diet lasted about 6 months and then, I slowly added foods. I had to pay close attention when I was doing this to see if I had a reaction from that particular food since I was very clean at this point. There were some foods that I was unable to eat, and even now years later there are foods that I know are not good for my body type. A lot of people think that sugar is just in sweets, but there are lots of foods that turn into sugar in our bodies such as pasta, breads, white potatoes, grains, crackers and fruits. White flour turns into sugar faster in our bodies then whole grains. Honey, high fructose corn syrup, maple syrup, jellies and dried fruits are also very high in sugar. What happens to all of this sugar in our bodies? Unless we exercise enough to burn off the sugars that we eat, they turn into fat. Now think about this, if you sit down at dinner and eat pasta, bread and then have dessert you are pumping a lot of sugar into your bloodstream; and unless you go and exercise right away, your body will more then likely store that sugar in your body because there is too much for it to process efficiently. Just look at kids after they eat sugar. They start running around. Well this is their bodies instinct to burn it off. In this way, they are naturally much more efficient with their sugar intake if they are allowed to run around. What if they have lots of sweets at school and then they have to sit in a class. The same thing will happen to them. They will store the sugar as fat. With foods having sugar in them or turning into sugar it is no wonder that our country has overweight children and that asthma and diabetes is rising at a critical rate. If you want to be healthy start by paying attention to how much sugar you and your children are eating, I think you may be surprised.Mary Brooks writes the occasional column on healthy parenting. She can be e-mailed at

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