I’m back!

I have taken a long break from writing posts for my blog or actually replying to comments. I apologize for the long delay for some of you on your questions/comments. As you know, even the strongest warrior moms need a break…so I took one. I’m replying to comments each day and hope to be caught up by the end of the week. Next week I hope to start writing again. Stay tuned to hear about our experience with yeast and leaky gut issues (yet again!).  I’m really into whole foods and diet changes, so look for posts about that and how to incorporate it into your child’s diet.

Cheers!

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Sugar. Oh how I (heart) thee!

Lemon Shortbread Heart Cookies

Lemon Shortbread Cookies photo by Craig Cutler

This Valentine’s Day I must confess my secret love affair. Yes, you guessed correct…it’s with sugar.  I love sugar! All foods taste yummier with sugar.  Whether it’s sugar in my coffee, sugar in my pastries, sugar in my yogurt, sugar in my, well, candy…I crave sugar! Sugar is delightful and never fails to lift my spirits. It gives me that extra energy at the end of a long day. When I’m bored it entertains me with its sweet kiss on my lips. When I’m sad it consoles me better than any therapist. When I’m PMSing it saves me and others around me! (sigh) But my love affair with sugar is coming to an end.

I have finally decided that I must give up this addiction and only taste sugar’s sweet delight occasionally. Not every day. How in the world and I am going to do this? Better yet, why?!

Well, I have always known that sugar is bad for my health. But aren’t all addictions bad for you in some way? I know that in order to get fit and healthy, I must conquer my addiction to sugar. I know it can be done. I have friends that actually don’t eat it at all. I know! Sounds insane, but apparently it can be done and you do survive. So they’ve told me.

In the process of convincing others how sugar affects our health, perhaps I’ll see the benefit in going through my (painful) sugar withdrawals and know that better health awaits me.  First let’s begin with how ubiquitous sugar is in our diet. It’s not going to be easy to give it up, unless I eat mostly freshly prepared meals and snacks. I’ll have to be strong when I bake chocolate chip cookies for my sons and not have any. (groan)

Sugar is in ketchup, yogurt, cereals, breads, brownies (seriously?! I thought it was just chocolate), instant oatmeal, pancake mix, and most conventionally package good foods/snacks. I’m talking about sugar, not high-fructose corn syrup. HFCS does not exist in my diet. But the sad thing is you can’t completely avoid all sugars because they are in fruit in the form of fructose. So I will have to get my sugar high from my fruits. (I wonder if anyone ever struggles with strawberry addiction.)

And then to top it all off, your body converts carbohydrates to sugar! What’s up with that?!  Whole wheat bread, potatoes, white rice…all gets converted to glucose and stored as FAT. Not fair! All the yummy things to eat in life are bad for you…unless you eat them in MODERATION. That’s the key.

You may wonder just how is sugar addicting. Well, when you eat sugar it triggers dopamine, (a neurotransmitter and neurohoromone in the brain) which is our “pleasure” hormone. What brain wouldn’t like that feeling? So of course you crave it more. I was horrified to learn that heroine, morphine and sugar all trigger the same pleasure centers in the brain! This is when I learned I was an addict. And one of the first steps in conquering any addiction is knowledge, then acceptance. So is depression the next step because all the pleasure sensors in my brain will wither up and die without sugar giving them that instant gratification on a regular basis?!

Where do I begin? Well, I’ve already started by not putting sugar in my morning coffee (latte). I use Organic Blue Agave Nectar. It has a much lower glycemic index. And that’s the key in keeping your blood sugar level and staving off diabetes and other chronic diseases. If you’re not familiar with the glycemic indices of foods, check out http://www.glycemicindex.com and learn more. Here’s a quote directly from their website.

The glycemic index (GI) is a ranking of carbohydrates on a scale from 0 to 100 according to the extent to which they raise blood sugar levels after eating. Foods with a high GI are those which are rapidly digested and absorbed and result in marked fluctuations in blood sugar levels. Low-GI foods, by virtue of their slow digestion and absorption, produce gradual rises in blood sugar and insulin levels, and have proven benefits for health. Low GI diets have been shown to improve both glucose and lipid levels in people with diabetes (type 1 and type 2). They have benefits for weight control because they help control appetite and delay hunger. Low GI diets also reduce insulin levels and insulin resistance.

Next, I’m going to have to give up ice-cream…oh the horror! I know there is not one redeeming health quality of ice-cream, but it’s just so, um, delicious. Better yet, I’m going to have to replace my craving with something that will satisfy me and help my body get through “detox”. Yes, when you eliminate sugar from your diet, your body goes through detox. I’m told that I might experience feeling lightheaded, headaches, lack of energy (duh!), skin itching/rash/pimples, mood disorders (another duh!) and intense cravings. But apparently this should only last 3-4 weeks. That makes me feel better. (note sarcasm) I have to have incredible self-control for a month. Then it gets easier.

There are two major health reasons that I want to eliminate sugar from my diet. The first is that sugar feeds yeast in the gut.  When yeast takes over your gastrointestinal tract, it creates immune dysfunction and gastrointestinal distress. Yeast lives and feed off of sugar and foods that convert to sugar. Yeast is a huge biomedical factor in autism and ADHD and its related behaviors in children. The second health reason is cancer. Sugar feeds cancer cells and helps them grow and proliferate in your body. Cancer cells thrive on cell inflammation and sugar/glucose promotes inflammation. This is the one step that I’ve failed miserably at when following the recommendations of “The Anti-Cancer Diet” book by David Servan-Schreiber. I know, I’m an addict and I need to acknowledge that fact. But still.

So I’m going to keep reminding myself that I am giving up sugar for my health and my children. Next step is to stock up on healthy snacking alternatives like veggies, fruit and nuts. I’m going to package them up in my BPA-free snack bags and take them with me wherever I go. When I’m feeling low-energy, they will give me that lift I usually seek from sugar. If anyone has any tips on how to overcome sugar addiction, I welcome them! Oh, and Happy (sugar-free) Valentine’s Day.

A Tablespoon Of Apple Cider Vinegar A Day Keeps The Doctor Away.

(part two in a series of Old Wives Tales)

You know that old wives tale of “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”, right? But apple cider vinegar?!?!

I can remember always seeing my mother or father take a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with a glass of water every time they felt a cold coming on.  They’d tell me about the wonders of it all the time, and how they avoid going to the doctor when feeling sick. My mom would have us take it if we had canker sores in our mouth, or a cold sore. So they related it to fending off cold viruses. Sometimes my dad would take it to help with his digestion. I have never tried this in my adult life, so I researched it and found that this old wives tale is a pretty good one, and true.

Why It’s Good For You

Apple cider vinegar is a powerful detoxifying and purifying agent. This home health remedy can help boost your immune system. It breaks down the fatty, mucous and phlegm deposits within the body. By breaking down these substances, it improved the health and function of the vital organs of the body, such as the kidneys, bladder and liver, by preventing excessively alkaline urine. It helps in the prevention of high blood pressure by oxidizing and thinning the blood.

Summer Survival Tip

Apple cider vinegar also promotes digestion, assimilation and elimination, all the while neutralizing any toxic substances that enter the body. It has been found to neutralize any harmful bacteria that may be found in certain foods. When a mixture of cider vinegar and water is taken before a meal (particularly food served in restaurants or at picnics where the preparation or duration of food left uncovered and not refrigerated is questionable), it seems to prevent diarrhea or digestive upsets.  Who knew?!  That’s a handy tip for all the pool parties, bar-b-ques and picnics you attend this summer.

The Best Kind of Apple Cider Vinegar

The key though, is to purchase raw, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar. The ones you buy on your grocery store shelf are pasteurized, distilled and filtered, which robs them of all the good stuff.  Be sure it’s organic too, since it’s made from apples, they need to be pesticide free.

Recommendations on how much an adult should take vary from 1 -2 tsp. diluted in water three times a day, to 1-2 tbsp. 3 times a day. Personally, it really depends on what remedy you are seeking. Weight loss, lowering cholesterol, immune boosting benefits all recommend 1 -2 tsp mixed in water 3 times a day. The less you dilute it, the greater the benefits will be seen. Most dilute it with 8 oz. of water, but you can go as low as you find tolerable, like 4 oz.

Treats Candida?

Apple cider vinegar is rich in vital nutrients, and natural enzymes which aid in digestion. They also restore the natural balance of healthy bacteria in the gut by creating a perfect environment for those healthy bacteria to grow, all the while keeping yeast like candida in check.  So this explains why some parents of children with autism choose this alternative method for treating their child’s overgrowth of yeast in the gut.  One exception for this is that it’s high in phenols. So if you or your child has trouble processing phenols, this may not be the best approach.

My next shopping trip to Whole Foods will include an organic, raw, unfiltered, unpasteurized bottle of apple cider vinegar.  Anything to “keep the doctor away” is worth a try.  Thanks mom (and dad)!

Read the third post in the series of “Old Wives Tales” here: https://healingautismandadhd.wordpress.com/2010/06/29/my-mother-made-me-take-cod-liver-oil-and-i-lived-to-tell-about-it/

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