Sugar and I have been close for a very long time. For about as long as I can remember. After lunch in junior high, it was routine to have a Twix bar after my pizza or bagged burrito, and though I did become educated in the ways of healthy eating, I still have that routine sugar craving after a meal. Usually now I have something with the words "gluten free!" "organic!" or "rich in antioxidants!" smeared all over the packaging, thinking that it makes it okay. When I say "thinking" I mean...like, not really thinking that at all, just sort of excusing. Falsely. I'm just lying is what I'm doing.
It's never been a real problem. I have a healthy metabolism, and yeah I've gotten a cavity or two but the cool thing about sugar is that it doesn't effect any other parts of you except for your teeth. Right?
I recently turned 28 and though I still feel relatively invincible, I began noticing what could only be described as a chronic state of fatigue mixed with a yeast infection. Grooooss, aw man, why me, what?? I'm healthy though! I totally don't deserve this! Or do I? I do?
There have been a lot of fun-to-hate Whole Foods'esque catch words that have blown up in the last few years. I'll spare you the list. The one I'm about to say is: CANDIDA. It's a real thing. It's so real that it can actually cause your digestion to completely poop out (no pun intended - actually, pun intended, mainly because you'd be facing constipation - baddum ching! yay poop jokes), farty behavior, sensations resembling a constant UTI or bladder infection, and in a woman's case, a nonstop super PMS. This means irritability, depression, blorpiness, sore boobs, water retention, what the pizza community calls The Works. Oh and since candida feeds off of sugar, you tend to crave it a LOT. This doesn't just mean candy either. Breads, pastas (glucose), starches, cheese, alcohol, juice, anything that digests as sugar in your body.
What does "candida" even mean anyway? Well, the word itself describes a specific micro-flora in your intestines. It's a good guy. Thing is, it usually grows slowly. But if you've recently experienced anything that could throw your digestive bacteria out of whack (such as an illness, antibiotics, or sudden binging) your stomach freaks out and suddenly candida bacteria are growing much quicker than usual.
So How Do I Beat This Thing?
Not easily! Can't sugarcoat it, it's a doozy, but one worth the effort. Get comfortable with the color GREEN. I'm currently undergoing treatment and opting for the holistic route. It's not a bad way to go. There are lots of actual Candida Cleanse kits you can check out from any organic grocer, or get online. I've been seeing an acupuncturist who directly aids in unblocking my energy flow, as well as taking herbs to support my digestion through this process. I also take liquid chlorophyll everyday in water which oxygenates and cleans blood, as well as a liquid vitamin B and acidophilus. As for diet, I'm off gluten, booze, dairy, candies, chocolate, ice cream...and let's be real, this is difficult. I'll have a little bit of coconut milk ice cream (and I mean a LITTLE) a few times a week. However, I've discovered that the less sugar I eat, the less accustomed to having it I become - and in turn, the less I crave it. Oh, and hydration is such a major factor in this process!! Having plenty of water in your body keeps you energized, which leaves little to no need for a sugar high. Often times we are not getting adequate oxygen to our brains and think we need energy (i.e. food) to wake up. While calories are definitely necessary for a functional brain and body, they can both also be damaged by them when used irresponsibly. Be sure you're drinking and eating enough water (consume leafy greens, low glycemic fruits like raspberries and blackberries, juicy vegetables like cucumber), paired with a healthy amount of physical activity. Work the body, stretch it out, keep it hydrated, and you'll feel like a champ.
Honestly it's really basic stuff. When I really think about it, I'm pretty happy that my body has a limit. There are always indicators so it's important to listen to the ol' bod and make sure you're treating it well. I'll watch myself clean my apartment top to bottom then reward myself with an ice cream sandwich. Feels like I've been cheating on my body with a much sleazier partner. Overall I'm excited about this, and look forward to passing out less often, and feeling the best I can in this one glorious lifetime.
Questions? Comments? Lemme at 'em. Live long and prosper, my folks!