Better Off Well
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INSIGHTS

Sugar-Free 14 Days: Results

Some people can start making healthier choices simply because they know it's the right thing to do. Then there are others, like me apparently, who feel they are doing just fine and don't need to change a thing. Until they do need to change lots of things.

I first heard about the Candida diet three years ago and thought, NO WAY could I ever do that. Absolutely no sugar? Not even the healthy stuff? Few fruits? No breads or crackers, even the gluten-free stuff?

Out of the question. I was drinking my smoothies and life was good.

But in the last few months I noticed changes in my body. There was, first of all, what I like to call the C-Triple-B phenomenon. Constant-Baby-Bloat-Belly. I might as well have been 3 months pregnant for the belly I constantly carried around. It woke with me in the morning and settled into bed with me at night. I felt it after nearly every meal.

Last year I'd had my Candida tested through my functional medical doctor and she found it was higher than where it should be. "Not terrible", I remember her saying, and that was enough for me to put it off. If it wasn't terrible, then clearly what I was doing was fine.

Candida albicans is a microorganism that resides in our bodies. We need it. It helps with digestion, particularly with the "dead" stuff and toxins. But Candida, from what I understand, can get out of control and start partying big time inside your gut, and this overgrowth can exhibit in many ways, like C-Triple-B for me but also as depression, joint and back pain, brain fog, lethargy, yeast infections, etc.

For now, I am doing what may be referred to as an "easy-going" Candida diet. Other than my probiotic, I'm not taking anti-fungal supplements or enzymes right now. I'm giving the diet thing a try first to see how this goes. I really want to know more about my microbiome before I start messing around with it too much.

candida candy

And 14 days in, how is it going?

I am SO much more mindful. Going on a cleanse like this makes you realize just what you were putting into your mouth. I thought I was so good about reading labels! Who knew the brand of Sunbutter I was using had added sugar? What about the packaged kale chips and toasted chickpeas I bought for hiking trips? And the healthy ketchup? Sugar, sugar, sugar.

Then there was the yeast. Without realizing it, I was eating gluten-free bread products at least twice a day. Twice a day!

And fruit. I was eating lots of fruit. But fruit is healthy! There are lots of vitamins and antioxidants. Yep, there are. But there is sugar, too, so I needed to keep the fruit to a minimum. Tropical fruits especially. And I wasn't.

The brain fog has lifted! I can see clearly now. For the past few months, my nickname might as well have been "Flake". Try throwing down some discipline with your child when you can't recall the words you need to use. Not very effective, let me tell you. (Though it surely provided comic relief.) I can focus on the task at hand now, and word recall is so much better.

No more cravings! (Well, almost.) You know that craving you get after every meal. "I just need to have a LITTLE something sweet." Yeah, that's the kind of craving that likely means you're having too much sugar.

My teenage pimple face is gone! Oh my goodness, this is a big one. Honestly, how many times can you attribute yet another face explosion to hormones? If there's a limit, I'm sure I reached it. Yes, it may have been hormones, but those hormones were likely being screwed up by the insulin hormone that there was just too much of in my body. Too much sugar = too much insulin, which, by the way, also tends to make us more hungry.

C-Triple-B no more. I delivered the baby, it seems. There is no more belly. I have my toned body back again.

More energy and strength. I didn't know this one could happen by reducing sugar and grains, but holy mackerel! I can keep going and I don't want to nap by late afternoon.

So what am I doing now?

LOTS of planning. If I know I will be making a snack for my little guy that might have honey or some other natural sweetener, I make sure to have an alternative, satisfying snack for me. My version of "iced coffee" has been a treat, with Dandy Blend tea (that tastes like coffee), coconut milk, alcohol-free vanilla, and a touch of pure stevia.

I also like the "candies" a client showed me how to make (shown above), using melted coconut butter and almond butter with a little vanilla and cinnamon that you put into mini cupcake holders, top with an almond, and put into the freezer.

When I brought my son out to meet with friends at an ice cream place, I brought my favorite nuts and cold lemon water. Oddly enough, it was very satisfying and I didn't feel tempted to indulge. I also kept reminding myself that if I did, I'd likely feel like a mess later.

FEW grains and beans. These were a staple of my diet at nearly every meal. For now at least, I've re-introduced a little fish into my diet and I'm keeping the happy chicken eggs I get from the farm. This allows me to balance out my meals and reduce the starches.

LOTS of greens but not as many smoothies. While my smoothies were on the hard-core side, they still included fruit every day. I'm still drinking smoothies a couple times a week because I swear they help me to feel great, but I'm mixing them up with fresh ginger juices and making sure every meal includes greens.

Fruit is more of a treat, not a standard snack. I keep fruit to about a cup a day, and stick with low-sugar fruits like berries.

Instead of my morning oatmeal that included peanut butter, bananas, and raisins nearly every day, I switch between a "bowl" of over-easy eggs (which I once could not imagine having without gluten-free bread) with sauteed spinach, collards, and avocado and a bowl of "cereal" that includes buckwheat groats, coconut flakes, chopped roasted almonds, cinnamon, coconut milk, and two chopped strawberries or a few blueberries.

Plenty of water. I don't think I was drinking enough. You forget to drink water when it's cold outside. I'm making sure to drink throughout the day and include vegetables that have lots of water, like cucumbers, celery, and bell peppers.

I'm not sure what motivated me that Thursday two weeks ago, but I was ready to commit to this. Initially I said I'd do it for 10-14 days, but I'm feeling so great that I will keep going even longer. Most of these new habits will become part of my lifestyle and I look forward to learning more about how to get myself to the absolute best place for me. Indeed, this is a journey.

If you'd like to learn more about Candida overgrowth and get some ideas, check out this website and this one.

PROOF!

Here's my face on day 1 of the cleanse. Yu-HUCK!

Here's my face on day 10 of the cleanse. Much better.

And here is me today, sans makeup, working from home. Hurray for clear faces!!! I swear, I might never eat sugar again.

pimple face
pimple face better
full face