Once upon a time, I was addicted to sugar. I stand corrected. Once an addict, always an addict. Little did I know that I was feeding a monster that was living in my gut… and growing… which drove this addiction.
You might think I'd be obese, but I was thin. I could eat a quarter-pound bag of M&Ms within a few hours, an entire bag of Chips Ahoy chocolate chip cookies in a day, or an entire tray of fudge in a day. Many times, I ate an entire half-gallon of ice cream in a day.
What was this monster? A yeast infection aka candida overgrowth that got out of control.
How and when did it start? When I began to get sore throats at around age 18, and my doctor prescribed antibiotics. Numerous times. I kept getting another one. It turned out to be mono… Epstein Barr virus. At one point, I became so sick, I was zoning out while driving and repeatedly missed my turnoff.
In the meantime, I was dozing at the wheel. Even during the day. When I was 21, I dozed at 10 p.m. one night and opened my eyes to see the car I was about to crash into. At 35 mph, my little Fiat folded like an accordion. Numerous tests were done while I was at the hospital for six days, but all came out negative. My case was a mystery.
We didn't have the term leaky gut back then in the 70s and early 80s. As food continued to leak into my system and my immune system continued to send the cavalry out to attack what was leaking into my system, I developed more symptoms… including what was initially diagnosed as bronchitis. I coughed so hard, I couldn't breathe. More antibiotics. At one point, I happen to get an asthma doctor at the clinic I went to. He told me I had been misdiagnosed. I had developed asthma. Then there was daily asthma medicine. If I forgot to take it or chose not to, I'd get rebound asthma.
Back to the addiction. Candida overgrowth is a real thing. While my immune system was efficiently going after everything that was leaking through my gut, candida overgrowth was demanding and feeding off all the sugar I consumed. Sugar is candida's food. Double whammy.
How I managed to continue to get to work each day or perform my job is a mystery. I was always tired. I still remember my coworkers assuming I had iron deficiency anemia and giving me an iron supplement for the Christmas gift exchange.
In 1982, I got pregnant with my son. During this time, I paid attention to my diet and didn’t indulge in as much sugar. Just the same, I developed complications in the third month and was ordered to bed for the remainder of the pregnancy.
I’m not ashamed to admit that I went on Welfare for the first three years of my son’s life. In addition to childcare being a challenge, I just didn’t have the energy. We went to the local foodbanks which doled out hotdogs, huge blocks of cheese, pasta, cereal, bread, and more. I grated the cheese to make macaroni and cheese.
One day I went somewhere that was near a chiropractor’s office. They were doing a blood sample presentation. Take a drop of blood, put it under a microscope, and show you what your cells look like on a large monitor. Mine were all clumped together. The technician explained to me there was too much fat in my blood that was making my cells stick together. Sticky cells can’t get enough oxygen. She talked to me about what I was eating, and what did I do?
I quit eating fat altogether which I later found out is not good, either. You need a certain amount of fat for hormone production.
When I got into my 30s, my mother met a retired holistic chiropractor and told him about me. He decided to take me on as a patient. With nutritional response testing and some other tests, he diagnosed systemic candida.
Step one. Restricted diet to starve the candida. Neither I or Candida was happy. But there was the hope I could feel better. Among some other things, I was also given caprylic acid. I remember after three months being allowed to try bread again. I bought a sub sandwich, ate some of it, and promptly fell asleep at my desk. At least this solved the mystery of why I was dozing at the wheel -- even during the day. I had to return to the restricted diet for the rest of the year.
Step two. Once the candida was reduced to what was considered manageable levels, it was time to rebuild my immune system. This process took another year. I remember rotating between echinacea, goldenseal, and astragalus because my immune system could build up a tolerance if I took one of these for more than two weeks.
I got to feeling better and got myself a new job. Each morning, the coffee table was supplied with complimentary danishes and other sugary treats. Once addicted, always addicted. I got myself sick again. But that chiropractor retired for good and couldn't be contacted.
I didn't just get myself sick, I didn't heal from injuries… and developed what was eventually diagnosed as fibromyalgia. Then came the cocktail of pharmaceutical drugs prescribed by the pain management doctor I sought out.
I mentioned leaky gut earlier. Still an unknown, some of the symptoms it was causing was painful inflammation of my fascia. Lumps of scar tissue could be felt on my scalp, arms, and other parts of my body. And bread, pasta, crackers, and other wheat products were triggering this autoimmune reaction which I didn’t find out about for still years to come.
In addition to sugar addiction, I became dependent on opioids and all the other powerful medications I was prescribed.
As I turned 50, polycystic ovaries and pelvic inflammatory disease roared like a dragon and required a complete hysterectomy. I also found out I had been born with Spina Bifida Occulta at L5 (lumbar spine), that L5 bilaterally fractured from the pars, and my spine had been slowly slipping off my sacrum. No, it wasn't suspected MS that affected my legs, after all.
I am going to skip over the part (years worth) when I began to figure out the leaky gut thing and the whole process of getting off all the medications while learning alternative methods of pain management. If I could remember the terminology of all the human body parts, and the education was free, I could perhaps have become a doctor or other type of holistic practitioner.
Actually, a whole lot of free education came my way. I watched each docu-series that came out that related to my challenges. One was on fibromyalgia that included sleep apnea as a root cause of chronic musculoskeletal pain… due to lack of oxygen in the muscles. (And remember when I was told my cells were sticky?) Turned out I had sleep apnea.
Nutritional response testing identified my hypothalamus was underfunctioning. It could have always been that way but it could have been thrown off initially by the concussion I got in that car accident I mentioned… and later by pharmaceuticals. Homeopathy improved its function.
A 23andme DNA test identified I couldn't methylate folic acid into folate. I began to take a methylated vitamin formula and was amazed when carpal tunnel and ulnar nerve pain vanished.
D deficiency was identified. Supplemented with D3-K2 lipospray… which raised my level significantly within six months.
Sensitivities to foods I had deemed safe turned out not to be. Oatmeal was triggering painful arthritis in my hands, knees, and spine.
There's more, but you get the point.
As for sugar addiction, I don't buy any anymore. But I still succumb to it when it is laid out at pot luck events… while I notice others around me piling it on their plates… despite their afflictions with diabetes.
I'm reading up on energy medicine these days… neuroplasticity… balancing meridians… grounding… developing new healthy habits… setting new intentions…visualizing… growing new brain cells… attempting to heal the effects of trauma.
Dr. Joe Dispenza says we can grow a new body. I know how the cells of each body part die off and new ones are born. Every so many years, we do, indeed, have completely new bodies. But there is another layer to this. We will continue to birth the same cells in the same condition unless we change the programming (thoughts, emotions, beliefs, nutrition, and more).
I haven't been to any potluck feasts in close to a year due to covid... which means I haven't been tempted to eat sweets. It would be nice if next time I see them, I could turn away just like I do with meat and other animal foods… wouldn't it?
I shake my head each time I see a photo of a child's first birthday party to include a cake with frosting plus ice cream. The baby digs both hands in and covers his-her face. The addiction cycle begins so early in life. Take away all the products in grocery stores that have sugar in them, half the store would be empty.
You might be thinking there are sugar-free treats. That’s a whole other topic. Instead of SUGAR, they include aspartame, saccharin, sucralose, and more. All these are time bombs as well.
Here’s an article titled Experts Agree: Sugar Might Be as Addicting as Cocaine
Another one titled Did You Know Sugar Was 8 Times More Addicting as Cocaine?