I originally heard about the anti-inflammation diet from my chiropractor. I had told her about my joint pain, which had developed a few months prior and just kept getting worse, and she said I should go home and look it up. So I looked it up. And immediately dismissed it.
Because, really, who can live like that?!?
I mean, no sweeteners, no refined grains, no sodas – that’s hard. Really hard! All my favorite indulgences came to mind – soda and pizza, ice cream, chocolate chip cookies…. It’s really hard to think about getting rid of everything you think of as a treat! To me, it seemed like going on an anti-inflammation diet would probably make me feel better, but would suck all the joy out of life!
I did eventually try it, though, because my only other option was scary meds. And it was HARD. I felt like I was losing my mind – and I don’t mean that in a hyperbolic way. I seriously was not my normal self. I acted and thought like an absolute junkie during that first week or two, and it was scary. If I had only been doing it for weight loss purposes, and if I hadn’t been so scared by what was going on with my body to motivate me, I would have totally given up. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was suffering withdrawal from sugar. Withdrawal! Like a druggie! Everything in my body absolutely screamed out for a bit of sugary goodness, and it was really hard to resist, and very tempting to give up.
But I didn’t give up. I hung on, and after about a week and a half, the cravings subsided from “I MUST HAVE A COKE THIS SECOND TO SURVIVE!” to “I bet ice cream would be nice now, but I’m not going to have it.” In other words, I regained my sanity.
And I found that some interesting things were going on in my body. After just three weeks on an anti-inflammatory diet, I noticed that:
- all joint pain was gone
- all headaches were gone
- I slept soundly through the night without waking up once (imagine!!)
- I woke up feeling alert and happy
- my mood was more upbeat and stable
- I was losing weight
- no menstrual cramps (sorry guys for the TMI, but this is important to girls out there)
- and drastically improved digestion
And that was just after three weeks!
(This is the point in which I put the disclaimer that I’m not a professional, I’m just an average person muddling my way through these things. Nothing here should be construed as medical advice, but just me sharing what I’ve been learning and experiencing. As with everything in life, research and look into these things for yourself and don’t just take my word for it!)
So, while I’d gone on the diet to help my joint pain, it seemed like my whole body was getting better. I think that some of this might have to do with other factors than inflammation; In other words, eating different foods caused different things to happen to my body. The fact that they were also anti-inflammatory, in some cases, was probably incidental. But whether from reducing inflammation or other reasons, the bottom line was that being on this diet made me feel better! Feeling rested and having a stable mood alone made me feel like a completely new person. I cheated a few times, and every time I felt the way I used to: tired, achy, prone to headaches, and moody. What used to feel like “normal life” to me started to feel like it truly was: sick.
The fact that refined grains and sugars affects me so drastically leads me to believe that, really, those things aren’t good for anybody. They’re poisoning all of us, and to a certain extent we all know it, but like true junkies we just can’t entertain the idea of giving them up.
Because it’s hard. Really hard. And inconvenient. All our convenience foods – the things we grab on the run, even things we think of as “healthy” – have some sort of refined grains or sweeteners in them. It’s literally everywhere! When you’re starting out on this, it’s really hard to even know how to begin. It takes work to maintain this – I’m not going to lie – but when you realize how much better you feel, and how many little issues that you always took for granted as “normal” (insomnia, headaches, mood swings, etc.) are now gone, you know that it’s totally worth it.
So here I am, trying to find a way to make it work for me. Trying out foods and recipes that help me during cravings, and trying to relearn the way I cook to make it inflammation-diet friendly. Trying to educate myself about what foods do to my body and why. Trying to see what I can and can’t get away with. Sometimes succeeding. And sometimes failing miserably.
And writing about it on the way, because I thought that maybe my “everyday average person” perspective might be useful to other people. Besides that, it gives me a sense a focus and purpose to this thing that helps keep me from falling off the wagon!
Here’s what you can expect from Hold the Sugar:
- Recipes – things I’ve found that help with cravings, and also just plain delicious foods that happen to be anti-inflammatory friendly. One thing I’ve found is that, while cravings for the foods you’re used to don’t completely go away, if you’re eating delicious and filling foods that you can be excited about, it’s much easier.
- Posts about what I’m learning along the way, and my successes and failures. Hopefully reading about those things will make it easier if you’re going through them too and help you know what you can expect!
- Information and links to sites that can educate you about healthy eating and living. I’m always on the lookout for good sites and articles, and as I find ones worth sharing I put them there. Check them out! You might find another site that’s useful to you, or learn something you didn’t know before!
Thanks for stopping by. I’m going to do my best to get posts up quickly and regularly, so come back often!