I’m nearly a month late in updating, but I wanted to wrap up how the food challenge month went. It’s finally over, and I survived! Woo! For those of you who are reading for the first time, last month I gave up sugar and nightshades. I did a few other things as well like eating sardines at least 2 times a week, taking all the different herbs that I need, and eating fermented foods or taking a probiotic supplement daily. All and all it was a resounding success! It absolutely challenged me, but it was good.
It’s amazing how completely your addictions can control your body and skew your reality! The fear that was brought up just contemplating how and when to start this challenge had me wanting to find the exit door. I told myself how much sugar was NOT an issue for me, that I had it all under control. And I truly believed I did. It took me two weeks to feel ok about not having sugar, to stop having horrible headaches, and to not feel hungry every second of the day. In that time, though, I found several healthy treats that helped satisfy my craving for sugar and chocolate. The best one that has become a house favorite is the Chocolate and Peanut Butter Spiced Pudding, which I mentioned in my mid-challenge post. I know I still haven’t posted that recipe, but I promise it’s on my to-do list!
My intake of fruits doubled because I needed that sugar. And it was incredible how much of a drug it felt like, when I ate them. I could feel the happy creep up my spine, up my neck, and wash over my head momentarily relieving me of my headache. All was right in my world again for roughly 10 minutes. Absolutely amazing. I realized then and there that for me at this point in my life I need to limit high sugar fruits as well. Mind you, I have nothing against fruit. I think you need fruit every day, they provide a lot of great nutrients and fiber, but for my body, I need to focus on getting things like berries that are lower in sugar and don’t produce such a significant rush, when I eat them.
I also ate a ton of brown rice, sweet potatoes, canned coconut milk, and avocados this past month. So much in fact, that I ended up gaining 5 pounds initially. My body crashed hard from not having sugar, panicked really, so this was just another coping mechanism. They’re all healthy foods, ones that I need more of anyway (maybe not the rice, but eh), so I took it all in stride, knowing that once my body regulated, things would get back to normal. And they did. No harm done.
I had some minor slip ups with added sugar and nightshades, and after the challenge was over, we went a little sugar crazy at school just to prove how much it actually does effect us and in what ways. All of these experiences have served as learning opportunities and eye openers, so mission accomplished food challenge. Mission accomplished.
I can say that sugar definitely does not hold the same appeal as it used to. I mean, it does, but it doesn’t. I know that makes complete sense 🙂 One bite of a phenomenal allergen friendly snowball that my teacher’s daughter made using Baby Cakes recipe had me rethinking this whole sugar business. It was bliss in my mouth, absolute Heaven, but just that one bite (and half a allergen friendly brownie) made me lethargic, gloomy, achy, and nauseated. That’s not the way I want to walk around feeling on a regular basis, or even at all, so I’m still avoiding most sugar. As far as the nightshades are concerned, I have realized I have a zero tolerance for most of them. Within twenty minutes or so of eating tomatoes, white potatoes, bell peppers, or some of the spices that fit in this category, even small amounts, the muscles in my shoulders, neck, and base of my head tighten up like a vice, my knees, ankles, and wrists pop and creak a lot, the joints in my neck feel gritty, and the pain is intense. It takes a good three days to feel good again. I always associated that pain and tenseness in my head and neck with my spinal issues, but it was so much more of what I was eating than how I am constructed.
Knowing that is life changing! Now I know that I can be pain free, that I’m not doomed to a life of excruciating pain with headaches every second of every day. I can be free of all that, which is amazing! Am I sad that I can’t eat the nightshades? Of course. I’ve eaten a certain way my entire life, and that has changed so drastically of late. I can’t even have “the healthier” or “allergen friendly” versions of these things anymore. I just can’t have them, and that’s a tough adjustment–mentally and especially emotionally because we form such an attachment to our foods.
Sometimes I get so frustrated and angry at how limited I am, but then I realize I’m feeling limited because I’m choosing to take on that reality. In truth, I have so many things I can eat, and they’re all healthful, nourishing foods that don’t hurt me, that don’t make me angry all the time, that allow me to be who I am inside. It’s nice to finally be in touch with that person and be able to let her out to show the world what she’s capable of. It feels awesome to be ME!