I’ve been off all sugar for a week now, avoiding everything from those added sugars snuck into “healthy” vegan/gluten-free desserts to strawberries and raw honey. I needed a major reset and knew that being a bit drastic would help me accomplish my goals.
And what were those goals? First, to reduce the inflammation in my body and bring down my level of pain. Second, to improve upon the food I eat. Lastly, to stop this fixation on food I’ve recently adapted.
Before I went to Silver Hill Hospital my appetite was lousy. Because I didn’t eat much I could eat whatever I wanted whenever I wanted and remain thin. I justified every bite of food that conflicted with what my body actually needed with At least I’m eating something. Although those precious calories were important in one way, they were damaging in many others.
After a lot of hard work my appetite was pretty good by the time I returned home, and since then it’s improved even more. My eat-what-I-want-whenever-I-want mentality stuck around, though. It didn’t take long for me to crave “something sweet” after dinner or a little pick-me-up afternoon snack. I was on the sugar treadmill and I needed to get off.
So, I said goodbye to delicious sugar, and in one short week I’ve already begun feeling better than I’ve felt in years. I don’t mean that hyperbolically, either. I actually didn’t know my body was capable of feeling this good. I thought I was doing pretty well with my diet as I mostly avoided wheat/dairy/alcohol and consumed as many organic/raw/grass-fed/line-caught/local foods as I could. That’s how harmful sugar is. You can get the rest almost right, but if sugar is sneaking its way into your body it’s going to try its best to wreak havoc.
Nutrition classes were part of the Silver Hill curriculum, and I heard all about sugar and what it does for inflammation. It wasn’t new information, but knowing that I usually came in under the recommended 25-gram maximum daily intake I felt okay about where I stood. But, as a person with a body that needs extra coddling, I’ve determined that value wasn’t right for me.
Part of accepting the positive impact that cutting sugar has on my pain is just a matter of being ready. After years of roadblocks, setbacks, and doctors scratching their heads I began to feel like the thing that was going to make me better had to be complex or advanced technology or something. A solution that I perceived as simple wouldn’t validate my high level of pain or all these years of struggle. Cutting sugar is just one part of all that I’m doing to control my pain, however, and finding the right balance of everything I do to continually get better has been anything but simple.
And while the thought of “having” to do all of this stuff that other people seem to get away with avoiding used to aggravate me, it [finally] no longer does. Properly controlling my chronic illnesses doesn’t just improve my health, but also my entire life. The line between what I do for my medical needs and what I do for “everything else” is gone. I now understand that the two move up and down together, so anything I do for my health seeps into the other “non-related” parts of my life, making me an all-around happier person.