Your body and caring for it: Sugar Addiction | The Savings Wife

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Your body and caring for it: Sugar Addiction

Once you realize that your body isn't going to last forever you begin to make changes to keep it healthy for as long as possible.   It involves more than what you eat and how much you exercise, it is also considered your spiritual act of worship.

Romans 12: 1-2 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God--this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.
This is about my journey to making my body my spiritual act of worship.  Starting with what I am putting into my body.

As I've gotten older I have often struggled with the aging process and the realization that not everything I eat is actually good for me.  When my health began to deteriorate I was forced to make some changes in my diet for the better.  I don't eat a lot of junk food but I was surprised to find out how unhealthy my diet was just because I didn't actually know what was in most of foods I ate.

The culprit was Sugar.  Sugar is available in lots of foods and in food you wouldn't think about.  When I say peanut butter you would not think sugar but most company's add sugar to all sorts of foods.   Ketchup, Fat free anything, salad dressing, yogurt, beans, humus, deli meats, bacon, sausages and most condiments have added sugar.  So even though I was eating a diet low in sugar, I was surprised to find out I had a lot to learn.

Why is sugar so bad for you?  

Sugar is a stimulant.  When you get it into your body your body peps up and makes energy, the problem comes about an hour later when your energy is waning again.  Sort of like over dosing your kids on candy and then watching them crash later.

Sugar is addictive.  Because of the insulin levels having to cope with all the extra sugar your body will crave more and more.  Ever seen a diabetic with her sugar out of control.  They could take out a cake without even batting an eye.  They just can't seem to get enough sugar.

Sugar is something you should have in moderation.  Because of the american diet and all the additives in foods you can't hardly find things without sugar.  Even the organic brands will still contain organic sugar.   So even if you go on a good diet you are still getting loads of sugar just from the things you are allowed to eat. Sugar substitutes are still seen by your body as sugar plus they have the chemicals in them that also do damage to your body.  Too much of any type of sugar is bad for you and moderation is a hard thing to accomplish if you don't read labels carefully.  Dextrose, Sucrose, Glucose, Honey, Molasses, Sugar, Starch and High Fructose corn syrup are also names for sugars. Check out the ADA recommendations for sugar and you will be totally surprised at how much we as Americans are over indulging.
Proverbs 25:16 Do you like honey? Don't eat too much, or it will make you sick!

The Change:  

I was sick because of the amount of sugar I was consuming and a disease called reactive hypoglycemia. I have had reactive hypoglycemia since my college years and after I started eating what I thought was a healthy diet symptoms disappeared until I turned 35.

What is reactive hypoglycemia?  It is when you body secretes too much insulin in response to a rise in blood sugar.  Their is two ways you body regulates your insulin levels.  The first is a cut off that happens when you sugar falls below 82.  For me this one hasn't worked in a long time.  The second one is an increase in adrenaline which can occur anywhere in the 70's.   After the adrenaline has left your system most people are exhausted and want to sleep.  This is a problem because the chance of a coma increases as your blood sugar continues to drop.  The confusion and inability to think straight at those levels makes you a hazard to yourself.  The only way to stop the reaction is make your body start to use fat for energy instead of sugar. How do you do it?  The sugar withdrawal diet.

The Rules of the Sugar Withdrawal Diet.  
  1. You must eat every 2 waking hours a day. 
  2. Absolutely no Sugar, Sweeteners, Honey, Mixed Drinks or Alcohol, No WHEAT of any type, and no Rice. 
  3. If it is not included in the diet you cannot eat it.
  4. Caffeine is not allowed. 

Fish and Fowl (un-breaded), Eggs, Cheese, Cottage Cheese these are unlimited
Red Meats:  You must eat at least 3 oz, 3 times per week ( I gagged at this thought because I have never liked red meats.) 
Veggies: Green  Vegetables: unlimited
Yellow Veggies: small portions
Absolutely no Corn, dried beans, Lima beans, Potatoes (sweet or white or any type)
All are allowed in unlimited qualities except:  Bananas, Figs and Prunes which are not allowed at all.
Nuts and Dairy are allowed if they have no sugar in the ingredient list.

Did I mention there are with-drawl symptoms?

Tired (think I haven't slept in a week tired)
Mood swings (I literately cried for about 30 minutes and didn't know why I was crying)
Nausea (You will think you are sick)
Breakouts (Acne and or rash on and off)
Headache (more migraine like)
Tired (oops mentioned that but making a point here)
Body odor (needless to say showering is required sometimes more than once a day)
Some people report being cloudy.  It usually subsides I'm in the clear section now.
Sleepy (expect more naps)  You just got rid of a stimulant (sugar) maybe even caffeine.
diarrhea/loose bowel movements

Did it work?

Three weeks later I'm still on the diet and the withdrawal symptoms have disappeared.  After a very active day I still get a little tired around 3 pm.  My head is much clearer than it was before the diet and I have started adding back some of the things I had to stop doing because of my blood sugar roller coaster.

The hardest part of the whole diet is realizing eating out is really a bad idea for me.  It is hard picking foods that fit the diet at home but even worse when you are reading though a menu.  I carry home made salad dressing in my purse because I either wind up with fruit cup, side salads or a dismantled cheeseburger minus the condiments. Even grilled chicken nuggets are not safe because they are usually marinated in sugar before they are grilled.

I've started to explore some foods I never tried before.  There are a lot of veggie and fruits that have never crossed my pallet in their natural state. So I am learning how to cook and prepare them.  Needless to say I know why already shredded coconut costs as much as it does. I am also learning how to make homemade sugar free condiments.

The benefits:

  • My skin looks great. It's like my skin has came alive, a nice healthy glow.
  • Swelling of my body had decreased and I have lost a little weight.
  • My head is clearer.
  • I fall asleep as soon as I hit my pillow.
  • I no longer suffer the lows following a sugar binge. 
  • I eat a lot of fruits and veggies
  • I have tried foods I would never have tried just to add some variety to my diet.
  • I am caring for my body and trying to make it last longer.
  • I have dropped my idol of food.  Without the roller coaster it is much easier to control my cravings.
  • I can now be used by God more easily because I am not sick and so tired I can barely move.

Now that you know what are you going to do about it?

It's scary to think of the amount of sugar that is added into our food supplies and my goal is to make you aware so you can make an informed decision. I would love to see companies stop using sugar in thing you don't need sugar for, especially meats.  Homemade from scratch is definitely the healthier option although not as convenient as taking something off the grocery shelf.  I totally understand that with four kids myself.  I'm still working through how to start the kids on my diet and away from their own sugar addiction.  Once of my kids already gets migraines that are sugar induced.

I do allow myself one cheat day, Sunday.  I get an ice-cream.  I have found that homemade is much less harsh on my body then the store brand pints and you can control the amount of sugar you add.

Let me know if you try the sugar withdrawal diet.  I found it very educational about the American food supply.  It makes me a little angry that a lot of disease and obesity could be controlled by companies simply making a choice to only feed things to consumers that are healthy for them.  They have us addicted to the super sweet foods.

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