Green Living

How I Quit Sugar

 

For five days anyway.

Well, five days may not seem like a lot, but to me it was. I have never gone more than a few hours without sugar (in any form) since I was 12 months old. Maybe sooner, who knows when my parents starting giving me processed apple juice (aka SUGAR.)

Let me just start by saying, that sugar is bad. Really bad. I could write a whole book on the topic, in fact, many people already have. Suffice it to say, sugar is at the root of all sorts of issues from high blood pressure, diabetes and even cancer (cancer tumors feed off sugar).

It messes with your digestion system, and if your digestion is bad, your health is bad. Period.

Seriously, I can’t even begin to go into how horrible sugar is for you. So just do me a favor and go read these books:  Nourishing Traditions and The Diet Cure.

The Diet Cure is an amazing book. It’s wonderfully written and makes it easy to comprehend the complexities of the human body, how it works and how what you eat (nutrition) affects every thing in your body.

I first read the book when I was focusing on quitting my caffeine addiction. With the help of some amino acids, as recommended in the book, I have been caffeine free for almost 6 months.

Sugar was next on my list!

I knew I may have had a slight yeast overgrowth in my body, and that part of my powerful addiction to sugar, was from the yeast yelling at me to feed it more sugar, but what I didn’t realize, until after reading The Diet Cure, is that I very may well be ALLERGIC to sugar as well!!

By end of day 2, I felt like I was going to die. Like I had the worst kind of flu. I am not sure if was drug (sugar is a legal drug people) withdrawal effects or if I was feeling the yeast die-off effects. I was feeling much better by day 3. By day 4 I felt great!

Typically, they say that you shouldn’t do a detox while you are breastfeeding. But from what research I did, I felt like a yeast detox is not the same as a heavy metal detox and would be ok. And plus, I figured if I have yeast overgrowth, she does too from drinking my sugary, yeasty milk (sigh).

Here are the supplements I took to help fight off the yeast in my body:

  • garlic
  • oregano oil
  • grapeseed extract
  • licorice root (there is some controversy about this herb and whether or not it is ok to take while breastfeeding. I went ahead with it and listened to my gut, because I felt my body could handle the hormonal fluctuations and I felt like it was really important to kill the yeast in my body now, before I get pregnant again and I can’t take this herb then.)
  • Solarary (my preferred brand for all supplements and vitamins) actual makes a pill that combines all of the above, so I just took one pill three times a day to get all those herbs in me.
  • additional doses of reuteri probiotics (normally I just take one a day, but I upped it to two a day for the two weeks I was abstaining from all carbs to kill off the yeast).

These are the supplements I took to reduce my sugar cravings and normalize my blood sugar:

  • L-Gluatmine ( I took this 4 times a day, one with each meal and one before bed time)
  • Chromium 3 times a day with meals
  • Biotin, 3 times a day with meals
  • Vitamin B1, 2 times a day with meals
  • I also upped my prenatal vitamin to three times a day, previously I had only taken one a day. But after reading The Diet Cure, I realized that you are supposed to take 3 to 6 pills in one day to get the full amount! Check your bottle at home, it will probably say one serving is 4 pills!
  • I also upped my calcium and magnesium. This is not directly related to sugar cravings, but something I realized I was a little deficient in after reading about the amounts I should be getting per day in a supplement.

I continued to take my protandim, cod liver oil and extra vitamin D like normal. I also still take GABA and Tryptophan to help restore my adrenals from a lifetime of sugar and caffeine addiction. I will probably stop taking them in another month.

It’s a lot of pills. I know.

And it’s expensive, I get it.

But once you have killed the yeast and freed yourself from your addiction to sugar you do not need to take anything other than your normal daily vitamins (which for me is a prenatal, vitamin d, now calcium and magnesium, cod liver oil and protandim).

So, I made it 5 days. No gluten and no sugar, no wine, nothing. Day 5 I had a piece of chocolate cake. Day 6 some chicken tenders and beer. Day 7 it just went down hill fast. I pretty much binged on sugar for the next week.

I thought that I didn’t lose any of my belly flab, but when I reintroduced sugar (read: stuffed my face) my belly almost instantaneously got bigger, flabbier, and more bloated. If I could have stuck with it for a few more weeks, I know I would be prancing around in a two piece right now.

Those 5 days taught me a lot.

I now notice much more how shitty gluten and sugar make me feel (my lymph nodes get swollen, I feel waves of extreme fatigue and irritability, and nasal drip and congestion).

I think my yeast is much stronger than I realized. I also think that I am much more of a disordered eater than I realized. For me, that means I rely heavily on food for emotional nourishment and to de-stress.

So I need do some more emotional work to get my head in a more stable place before I try this again (maybe its the yeast making excuses!)  I have been doing a new treatment for the past two weeks and I really think it is making a big difference. It’s something called Trauma Release Exercises, and it is awesome. I will tell ya’ll about it soon.

Back to the drawing board I go. Just putting one foot in front of the other. At least going in the right direction and praying that one day I will quit my sugar addiction for good.

If anyone wants to do some more research, here are some good links that talk about how awful sugar is for you:

Insuline Resistance

Stop Sugar Cravings

Guide To Natural Sweeteners

Intestinal Belly Fat and Yeast

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  • Courtneybee
    May 24, 2011 at 7:35 PM

    I think sugar is harder to quit than caffeine, I have been caffeine free for almost three years and it was fairly easy. I am following the Healthy Home Economist's steps to cut down and replace with more natural sources like fruit…it is very hard though! Good Luck!

  • sk
    May 25, 2011 at 1:32 AM

    Ack! No gluten or sugar or wine? That would be so hard! I really need to try something like this though– I'm interested in the supplements you were taking and I'm gonna go research them. Good luck with your journey to be sugar-free…that's something I struggle with too.

    Also, I would be really interested in hearing about what you and your husband are doing to prepare for conception, if anything. I'm hoping to conceive soon and am thinking about what I need to do to get my body, mind and life ready!

  • Stephanie
    May 25, 2011 at 2:21 AM

    That is for DAMN, Courtneybee! I was terrified about quitting caffeine, the headaches and cravings, but it was SO easy. I like the HHE guidelines to cut down on sugar, but if you are trying to kill the yeast, you have to go hard core and can't have anything.

    oh girl, sk, I could talk your ear off about conscious conception. just google those two words to get you started. the book spirit babies is really good. and taking charge of your fertility. there is a lot of mental, emotional work to be done and you need to make sure you are eating healthy and getting all your nutritional needs met. The Diet Cure would actually be a great place to start. Then google weston a price and pregnancy.
    also you might want to do a major detox as well, because you can't when you are pregnant or nursing and if you have a couple of kids and let them self wean, that means the next many years you could pregnant or nursing.

  • BLANK
    May 25, 2011 at 4:24 AM

    so what did you eat? i can't imagine a meal without sugar, that's pretty sad haha

  • Stephanie
    May 25, 2011 at 7:09 PM

    What I normally eat, but I ate gluten free crackers/bread/pizza when I ate those types things.
    and then just cut all sugar. except for fruit and milk. in fact, I started craving milk! there is actually a lot of sugar in milk.

  • Anonymous
    May 25, 2011 at 11:36 PM

    sk- The book I lived by before I got pregnant was "Your Non-Toxic Pregnancy". It covers everything you can think of from getting rid of the chemicals in your body to getting rid of the cheicals in your house. Good Luck!
    -tara

  • Rebekah Worth
    September 2, 2011 at 5:36 AM

    Hi…I just came across your website from pinterest regarding your frozen month long crockpot blog…Then I randomly saw a link for Quit Sugar..My husband and I recently found out we were off the charts with Candida/Yeast Overgrowth..We went on a 4 week..no sugar including fruit, cuz fruit still fees the yeast, no caffenine, alcohol, no vinegar, salad dressings, etc etc..Basically we had for the first two weeks…water, protein, and veggies…week three we introduced a few grains that were okay..no corn..I felt so amazing my skin looked great I lost so weight..but after the 4 weeks started to reintroduce alcohol etc again and I don't think I killed it even after 4 weeks..I too have binged but I think I am going to go on it again maybe even for good until I know for sure this thing is gone..A website that helped me a ton was …www.theyeastfreediet.com she also has a cookbook and crockpot cookbook that is all yeast free foods.

  • Stephanie
    September 3, 2011 at 7:05 PM

    Thanks for sharing Rebekah! I am impressed you made it 4 weeks. I have yet to try and do it again. And I just had to do two rounds of antibiotics so I really need to do it now. 🙁

  • Jessica
    September 17, 2011 at 2:23 AM

    Seeing this post today was a huge sign for me! I was diagnosed when I was a teenager as having a major candida overgrowth. But I was ADDICTED to sugar and gave it a half hearted week on the diet and quit. A couple years ago I developed psoriasis and learned that it can be a symptom of candida. Again, half hearted diet and quit. Now, I am having another psoriasis flare up and my poor 5 month old daughter (breastfed) has had a re-occuring yeast infection since she was only a month old. Her pediatrician doesn't think it's necessary for me to do a yeast free diet and should just keep applying Nystatin…but my momma gut tells me I need to kill the source! After spending all afternoon with my diaperless daughter trying to get her fresh air, I am trying to psych myself up for a yeast free diet and I log onto your blog and stumble upon this post! Yay! Sorry for such a long post, but I am so nervous about this. I've never succeeded on it but I NEED to for my daughter's sake (and my own health). Anyway, I would love any words of wisdom/encouragement you have!

    Also, I have started Baby Led Weaning (which I hate that name because I am NOT weaning her, just allowing her to start solids) and she only likes bananas and apples. Do you think I need to quit giving her solids for a while until we are yeast free? Since she is only 5 months old she doesn't seem to need the extra calories, and if she does seem hungrier and I can just nurse her more often.

    Wow. Okay. Sorry again for being so wordy.

    By the way, I love your blog and think what you do for Penelope and your family is absolutely amazing!

  • Rebekah Worth
    December 1, 2011 at 3:50 PM

    Okay Stephanie…I have completely fallen off the wagon as well since my first attempt which lasted 4 weeks. Like I mentioned I felt great, looked great but I think this time I am going to do things a bit different. First off I am going to really 100% start the 1st of the year but this time I am slowly transistioning back into by incorporating some of the yeast free recipes from …theyeastdiet e-book I bought the first time around. I am starting to notice my skin itching again, facial blemishes, and craving sugar during this holiday time. It really stinks! I ready Jessicas post about breastfeeding and her yeast issue..we are going to try to have baby #2 in april and I really want to be in the best shape before we get pregnant and then keep it clean during the pregnancy so the baby won't have yeast issues. Any way we all fall off but if we can stick with it we will be all better off. I am not going to go fully as hard core as the first time but I am going to cut out dairy (except eggs, and goat yogurt), breads etc (expect quinoa and brown rice), all alcohol, but I will still have my daily coffee along with Xylitol for my sugar. Keep you posted on how I do. Merry Christmas

  • Stephanie
    December 1, 2011 at 5:15 PM

    @Jessica…thanks for your sweet words! I am glad you are listening to your Mama gut!
    @Rebekah…I feel ya. It is so hard! I did so bad over thanksgiving and really paid the price. Good luck, and yes keep me posted!

  • Salinda Howell
    December 7, 2011 at 4:22 AM

    Wowsers!! I felt like I was reading a blog describing myself. Literally from trying it and feeling great to crashing it and feeling even crappier. I realized how my emotions are tied to food and how I am feeding these addictions.

    I do have a piece of ammo on my hands that I am looking at and smiling. May 27, 2011 (so over 6 mths ago) I took my LAST sip of anything soda. I have literally treated it as if I were an alcoholic….one sip and it is done. I no longer crave it.

    Thank you for being so real 🙂

  • Keely
    January 7, 2012 at 6:55 PM

    WOW Stephanie! I too came across your site from Pinterest for the freezer ready crockpot recipes and saw the "How I Quit Sugar" link. My trainer keeps telling me I need to cut the sugar and I've cut back from 4 Splendas + 2 sugars in my coffee every day (Yes, I know..I read that and say WTH?) to 1-2 Splenda depending on how I'm feeling. I'm going to check out "The Diet Cure" and see what I can do.

    How did everyone on here find out about Candida/yeast overgrowth? As a pharmacist I'm only aware of this from yeast infections obviously. Is this something diagnosed or told to you for conception or pregnancy purposes? I'm child-free but still want to cut back the sugar, belly fat (oh boy), etc and also, plenty of "Mom" blogs and sites have GREAT organizational tips that I never heard of!!

    Plus, I can pass on these great ideas and tips to my friends with children!

    Good luck on keeping the sugar out! I'll be keeping up on your progress!! 🙂

  • Stephanie
    January 8, 2012 at 1:07 AM

    @Salinda! That is awesome! Congratulations on your last sip. One day when I really beat this addiction, that is what I am going to have to do too.
    @Keely…I sort of put two and two together from reading. I feel like I really know my body well, and can listen to what it is saying, because I am so tuned into it. I think it is from years of dance, yoga, massage, just doing lots of physical things. I have never had reacuring yeast infections, but I have other symptoms. If you google candida there are several online questionares you can take to see how bad you have it. I want to cut back on sugar, simply for my health, but the healthier you are, the easier time you have conceiving. Search Dr. Mercola and Danger of Sugar. That article will blow your mind! Glad you are here by the way!

  • Michelle
    January 9, 2012 at 1:05 AM

    Hi, I found your site on pinterest 🙂 and saw the quit sugar topic…..I have had a problem with yeast too. I found a wonderful product a few years ago called Three-Lac. It works wonders on yeast…..you should give it a try. They have other products to go along with the Three-Lac as well to help, but they are not required. It said on their site that you don't have to follow a sugar restricted diet either, but I did limit my intake to try to help it along. Just google Three-Lac and the website will come up.

  • Rachel B.
    January 19, 2012 at 6:00 PM

    I just found your site and saw this article about you quitting sugar right after I read your recipe for Lactation Cookies which has the first ingredients of both brown and white sugar. I’m confused. Which is it? Is sugar good or bad?

    • Stephanie
      January 19, 2012 at 7:14 PM

      That made me laugh, good question! Sugar is bad, bad, bad!! I posted the cookie recipe before this post, but I will say, sugar is such an addiction, that I am still battling it. So do the best you can to eliminate sugar but don’t be hard on yourself!

  • Elena
    February 5, 2012 at 7:39 PM

    Great blog! I think I had the same thing last year…I was so sick. Mainly digestive issues and I felt tired all of the time. I cut out all forms of sugar for 6 months. This included milk, fruit, bread, pasta, all gluten, etc. After 6 months I started reintroducing fruit slowly. Now I have reintroduced rice, potatoes, and some sugars, but not very much. I feel 95%better now. I should say I am also gluten free. I think cutting out sugars for a few days or even a few weeks probably isn’t enough. I’ve heard others who did 6 months as well and they are also feeling much better. Thx again for writing about this!

    • Stephanie
      February 6, 2012 at 3:15 AM

      I agree, I really need to do this again, for much longer. Good for you, for making it 6 months!!

  • Annette Holbrook
    February 6, 2012 at 4:34 PM

    I can certainly attest to having a sugar addiction. I actually belong to a 12 step program to help me deal with it. As a part of my program, I eat a low-carb diet, cutting out all pastas, potatoes, rice, bread, anything with flour or sugar. I have lost approximately 80 lbs in a year and never felt better, mentally, emotionally or physically. I consider sugar to be pure evil. The hard part for me is how to help my 2 year old daughter navigate the world of sugar. I don’t want to deny her all together, lest she go nuts when she’s at the stage where she’s in other people’s homes and I can’t control everything that goes into her mouth. We allow her to have very watered down (no sugar added) juice, cake/cookies at parties and other special occasions and steer clear of whites (potatoes, rice, pasta) whenever possible. It’s tricky, but it will be worth it if she doesn’t have to live a life addicted to sugar! Best wishes to you on your journey!

  • Stacey
    February 15, 2012 at 2:09 PM

    I too am struggling with sugar addiction. I totally understand and grasp the notion that sugar essentially is a poisonous drug, and yet I daydream about chocolate constantly. I recently found an excellent talk about sugar on youtube that I think everyone should take the time to listen too, I have watched it several times just to fully understand everything Dr..Lustig is speaking about.
    It is called Sugar: The Bitter Truth…..synopsis;Robert H. Lustig, MD, UCSF Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology, explores the damage caused by sugary foods. He argues that fructose (too much) and fiber (not enough) appear to be cornerstones of the obesity epidemic through their effects on insulin.
    Check it out!

  • Laura Bickmore
    February 24, 2012 at 2:39 PM

    I see an awesome MD here who uses alternative medicine along with traditional drugs. He wrote a book called “Licking Sweet Death,” talking about how bad sugar is. I tried his “detox” diet and usually make it for a couple of weeks until I “cheat.” I tend to struggle with bloating and am pretty sure it is yeast. 😛

    Anyways, I came across a post on Candida, and this person said that you can get rid of it by eating a low sugar diet, and taking these four things: Nuplus, Quinary, Fortune Delight, and Calli Tea. My mother actually drinks Calli Tea off and on. In fact, when she does drink it, she makes a LOT and sips on it all day long. When she did this for awhile she had a doctor verify that there was no trace of Candida in her system.

    I think a low sugar diet is awesome, but it is hard to go completely without sugar your whole life. I am hoping to save up money to afford these extra supplements, then try this de-tox diet again while taking them and beast that evil little Monster once and for all!

    • Stephanie
      February 24, 2012 at 11:29 PM

      I love MD’s like that. We need more of them! I will have to look into the things you mentioned, thanks!

  • Leah P.
    February 26, 2012 at 8:36 PM

    Read “Potatoes not Prozac”. It outlines a 7 step program to get off sugar by helping balance your hormones by timing your intake of foods. It’s a great book.

    • Stephanie
      February 27, 2012 at 2:30 AM

      It sounds like the Diet Cure book, I will have to check it out too, thanks.

  • Lark
    March 9, 2012 at 3:38 PM

    What is the name of the Solarary supplement that contains garlic, oregano oil, grapeseed extract, & licorice root?

    • Stephanie
      March 9, 2012 at 7:13 PM

      I am not home right now, but I think it just called Yeast Cleanse.

  • Lisa
    March 23, 2012 at 12:46 AM

    You probably have a gluten sensitivity, I do and it sucks! But processed refined wheat really is just, sugar. I went almost a year without wheat and very moderate sugar. I felt great, I was so fit…and then I went on vacation and binged and it just started back from there. My stomach did the bloat as well. It’s incredibly hard but I find doing substitutes distracts your mind and that helps to avoid eating sugar and/or wheat.
    I highly recommend the book “the gluten connection”

  • Sue nz
    April 13, 2012 at 1:43 PM

    It looks like you tried to cut out sugar cold turkey. I really recommend Kathleen DesMaison’s website http://www.radiantrecovery.com. She’s been researching for over ten years and lays out a slow but sure step-by-step way to heal sugar addiction. Going off sugar is step 6 and is typically a non-event for those who have followed the previous steps in order, one at a time, for some months before. (I see someone already recommended one of Kathleen’s books, Potatoes not Prozac. I suggest the website as well because there is a huge amount of support and guidance on the forum and in the groups.) [Found you on pinterest.]

    • Stephanie
      April 13, 2012 at 2:18 PM

      Awesome! Thank you for the info!

  • Amie
    September 30, 2012 at 9:39 PM

    sugar is not THAT bad. Dose makes the poison in every situation. I love your blog but hen I read this segment I felt a little sad. Someone might read this and feel like sugar is the devil, when it’s not… especially since its not clarified that you mean “processed” sugar like white table sugar or HFCS. Cutting all sugars is basically impossible, you’d have to stop eating fruits and vegetables all together. Maybe an explanation of the “bad” sugar you mean before discrediting the good sugars also. And you also can’t be allergic to sugar, it does not contain a protein for your body to have an allergic reaction to but you could have an intolerance to it. There’s so much more into this subject than most realize and I just want everyone to be informed 🙂

    • Cassandra
      October 1, 2012 at 12:41 AM

      You’re right, this topic is far more complicated than was made out in the post, which is exactly why Stephanie linked to two books for people to read more on the subject, as well as alluding to the existence of a lot of other books in existence.

      The idea of “allergic” and “intolerant” are frequently used interchangeably. Aside from that, if you want to get specific, an allergy is something that causes an immune response, which can present as inflammation. If something causes inflammation in the body, it can be called an allergy. People with damaged digestive systems can get inflammation from foods that do not have proteins, which Stephanie also mentions in this post.

      Furthermore, modern humans eat way too much sugar in the form of grains and fruits. So while you’re right that “dose makes the poison” when it comes to these foods, the fact that they damage your digestive system at all does mean it’s bad and she is doing a good thing by warning others of that danger.

      I highly recommend you also check out the book Gut and Psychology Syndrome for more information. 🙂

  • Jack
    September 30, 2012 at 10:35 PM

    Just a couple questions from a dietitian and food scientist. What “sugar” are you allergic too? And also, did you give up fruit as well since they also have a high % of simple sugars?

    • Stephanie
      October 1, 2012 at 5:02 PM

      Hi Jack. I never said I was 100% for sure allergic to sugar. I said I might be based on information I read in the book The Diet Cure that I linked to in the post. But when I say “sugar” I mean all sugar, natural or chemical. And yes, when I did my 5 days of sugar free, I did it all the way, no sugar of any kind including fruit. The Diet Cure does not going into this, but there such a thing called emotional allergies. I know it sounds wild, but I believe it. If you can find a good acupuncture dr in your area that specializes in allergy clearing, they would be able to go more into detail about it for you. And just as a friendly reminder,this blog is a place of positivity, support, love and nourishment. No one is claiming to be an expert. This blog is about telling our stories and sharing inspiration. I only publish comments that are positive and supportive of our individual health journeys.

  • Kari Hamilton
    November 11, 2012 at 4:19 AM

    I applaude you and know your pain. Thank you for bringing this up on your blog too! It is so important!!! I cut out refined sugar and had to go on a liver protectant (great for pregnant and breastfeeding moms) called milk thistle. It helped me a ton. I was a sugar-a-holic (eating a whole pan of brownies at a time) and am now completely off refined sugar. I do sweeten with honey and fruit. I don’t miss the sugar at all now. I would love to share my story with you since I was literally on my death bed for the entirety of 2 of my 3 pregnancies from morning sickness and as soon as I started taking the milk thistle I was off my anti nausea meds within a month and back on my feet within a month and a half. http://www.karikoupon.com/my-story-hyperemesis-gravidarum/

    • Stephanie
      November 13, 2012 at 12:19 AM

      Thanks for sharing!

  • Jennifer Stiko
    January 18, 2015 at 7:55 PM

    I’m assuming since you’re body naturally produces l-glutamine anyway, it’s safety to take while nursing? And, how much would I take? I’m trying to find something to help control these bad cravings and mood swings while im getting off sugar! Also,is there a “safe” way to detox while nursing? Could you do it through a diet of some sort, like whole 30? Thanks!

    • Stephanie
      January 19, 2015 at 10:59 AM

      Yup, totally safe while nursing. You can’t do a detox while nursing, but you could certainly start eating better via something like Whole 30.