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Food Cravings

Harms Reduction for a Sugar Addiction

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Harms Reduction for a Sugar Addiction

It is so funny that I constantly have 'brick hits forehead moments' regarding my food journey. I remember after two years of eating consciously I finally thought to look at my dogs food. Took me two fucking years and the brick really hit hard on this one.

Why so long I often wonder?

Recently I had the same type of moment regarding my approach to the famous sugar addiction. As many of you know sugar is my drug of choice. It has been years since I have had refined sugar in my diet, but not natural sugar.

I am still addicted to sugar.

Each year of my healing journey I have made small strides in overcoming my addiction. From consumption to psyche I have been proud of the progress even though baby steps. Slow and steady is the constant mantra in my miracle life especially when dealing with things  I am truly addicted too.

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Both Cigarettes and Sugar have been a true harms reduction approach.

I used to eat a pound of honey a week the first year I gave up refined sugar. I had not control and did care to change it. I knew I was going through hard core withdraws and decided harms reduction was the only way I was going to quit my sugar addiction.

Honey is less harmful than refined sugar in large quantities.

Examples of common harms reduction techniques are nicotine patches and methadone. Both used to help decrease the effects of addiction offering a less harmful approach using a taper method. This approach geared toward helping both the body and mind adjust at a slower rate than the all or nothing approach.

My addiction so strong I need the taper if I want to overcome. I learned this early on in my journey and have never been ashamed of it.

Not going to lie it is still hard. It is hard being an addict of anything. Sugar truly has shown to have a strong hold on my body & mind. The cycle is vicious and each year I believe I get closer and closer to the end of this addiction and hope within the next few years to be done with it.

I have struggled from time to time with the societal norms associated with overcoming addiction. These types of thoughts produce nothing good and have also been a part of this healing journey. Whenever I find myself saying things like "Why is it taking so long?" and "You are still having way too much fruit" I check myself.

Too much fruit is progress.

The last step in my journey to quit smoking came from the help of a talented Hypnotherapist. On my birthday this year she happened to call me sharing she was staring to consider Paleo and looking for resources. Sasha also shared in her work she noticed just like cigarettes many have a sugar addiction. Believe it or not she developed a method to overcome this addictive behavior and was releasing it this year. BAM. BAM. BAM.

Thank you life for once again for always providing. I am pretty sure hypnosis will be my last step in the sugar addiction journey and for now I continue to mentally prepare myself and work toward lowing my intake with healthy, baby steps.

My Harms Reduction Sugar Addiction Timeline;

  • 2012: Stop all refined sugar replace with honey, dates, maple syrup
  • 2013: Start doing Whole 30 challenges for a total of 2 challenges completed.
  • 2014: Continue with Whole 30 challenges for a total of 5 challenges completed.
  • 2015: Focus on Ketogenic approaches and begin fasting 12 hours
  • 2016: Start doing Whole Life Challenges for 8 weeks for a total of 3 challenges. Begin juice fasts and longer fast times. Start only eating seasonal fruits.
  • 2017: Give up maple syrup and honey items except for special occasions or recipe testing. Start 3 day bone broth fasts and 16 hour daily fasting/ 3~5 days weekly. Limit banana, apple and pears.
  • 2018: Increase 18 hour fasting, add more 3 day bone broth fasts, increase berries and decrease melons, mango's and figs.
  • 2019: TBC...

This my friends are my harms reduction steps regarding sugar. I learned by year 2014 that my addiction was strong and I was unable to maintain zero sugar after challenges. Any type of sugars triggered almost bulimic tendencies. After many failed attempts at stopping long term I realized I was truly an addict and needed to start a path of harms reduction.

I will update you all on my journey toward hypnosis and in the meantime hope a harms reduction  approach might inspire your journey with food.

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Eating Consciously Triggers 2 Eating Disorders

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Eating Consciously Triggers 2 Eating Disorders

As many of you know I have been eating consciously for over 6 years & experienced life changing results that set the stage for the miracle known as PaleoBOSS Lady. My food healing journey began with gluten & the changes my body felt with removing gluten from my diet were astounding. Restless leg almost immediately left my body which is an MS (Multiple Sclerosis) symptom that is often quite troubling.

This initial result of saying bye bye to gluten let me know that food was my missing piece and I needed to keep looking at food to biohack my health. Within a year of giving up gluten I started a Paleo lifestyle followed by The Wahls Protocol which is where I have remained and to this day I am a proud & faithful Wahls Warrior.

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Sadly eating consciously triggered 2 different eating disorders in my life.

Many who eat whole foods develop an eating disorder called Orthorexia which is when the restrictions of eating healthy become excessive regarding "clean" eating. Often this restrictive behavior flows into to other areas of your life limiting the ability to live your life.

I do not believe I had or have Orthorexia, but I do believe I have had bouts of Anorexia and Bulimia.

About a year after becoming a Wahls Warrior I decided to follow the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP Protocol) to see if I had any food triggers especially regarding night shades (peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, potato) & eggs. A trip to Italy where I got very sick eating a tomato, pepper & eggplant based meal prompted me to feel I needed to see what foods did not work for me in my healing journey.

AIP focuses on eating foods that heal your gut. After 90 days I begin a slow reintroduction which is the recommended path to see what foods may be a trigger for my body.

Because I am a dark chocolate lover extraordinaire I chose chocolate for my reintroduction & it did not go well. I was devastated & symptoms of MS started to return. This result made me pause, but I still keep going and in another couple days I reintroduced eggs with another poor result.

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Now I am 2 for 2 with negative outcomes & I begin to get concerned.

During this time my only resource or support system was Dr. Google. I was completely alone in the journey outside of a few bloggers offering online information. I personally do not know a single person using food as medicine & my doctors had already thought my approach to healing was bogus. Dr. Wahls had no book yet and Mark's Daily Apple was my most significant resource which is not AIP focused, but proved to be a lifeline regardless so many times during this period of my life.

Without conscious effort the negative results of the reintroduction translated into an almost anorexic behavior for me.

Suddenly food became an enemy & I was afraid to eat because I did not want any MS symptoms to return. The sad truth is I began losing so much weight & the compliments started pouring in which did not help my healing journey. It almost reinforced my anorexic behavior which was easy to hide because most stopped listening to me using food as medicine. At this time these types of healing protocols were new and somewhat ground breaking translating into most thinking it was 'hippie' bullshit.

I am not going to lie the positive reinforcement by way of comments about how great I looked losing so much weight continued to fuel my anorexic behavior.

Eating foods again became hard not only because of fear of an MS flair, but also because I loved all the attention around 'how great I looked.' Luckily for me I was deep into my conscious life journey & I woke up. It was a true brick hit forehead moment when I began realizing that my mitochondria needed food to continue to kick MS to the curb & eating was essential. I also reminded myself that I was not interested in being on the cover of Vogue & that I was trying to heal myself & regain some quality of life.

My current state of using food as medicine involves killing my sugar demons. Gave up refined sugar years ago yet I still struggle with anything that has a natural sweetener especially honey & maple syrup. In the last 2 years I have noticed a bulimic style behavior eating 'healthy' desserts with reckless abandonment

I literally can eat an entire pie, cake or box of Paleo style treats without any sense of self control & in one sitting.

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My 2017 healthcare goal has been to kick this type of habit to the curb as I have every conscious eating change. For some reason this demon has been the hardest of my life to date finding myself dealing with daily struggles that shock & scare me. I lack self control in a way I have never experienced. In May with the help of community I worked hard on a road map with tools, a good plan and course of action to overcome this addiction using tried and true steps that have served me when I quit smoking, gluten, dairy and processed foods and still the struggle is real.

I began looking at my conscious eating journey since the beginning and trying to see what I may be missing that I forgot or simply for insight into what has brought me to this place.

When I first started this path I was 100% alone not knowing anyone using food as medicine. There were little to no companies or food products that you were able to buy at a grocery store beyond ingredients to make all of your meal. There were no cakes, cookies, tarts, pizza, puddings, ice creams etc that were called Paleo. In fact, few and far between even recipes for making this desserts where hard to come by with bloggers just started to pop up. 

I have come to understand in this year of focused effort that my addiction is not to the ingredients it is to the food category.

I was under the assumption that eating ingredients that are Paleo or Wahls compliant was a good look & okay. I was dead wrong. In fact it simply is a gateway drug to get back into old unconscious eating habits or in my case creating new ones.

Once I have one compliant cookie I cannot stop until the box is gone.

Literally this is the path I have been on and of course I don't discount the power of addiction to substances, but this for me is coupled with a HUGE psychological addiction to my favorite comfort foods of days gone by.

I thought I needed to take honey & maple syrup out of my diet for life, but the reality is the types of foods that have these ingredients added are what I need to give up.

America is a consumer driven country and the conscious living movement is one of the fasted growing retail sectors in shelf space and new companies in a long time. Almost every month there is a new brand of some favorite processed food that is now available in a Paleo version. Companies know this is a fast growing market and are jumping on the gravy train yet this is merely recreating different forms of "processed type foods" using acceptable ingredients.

All of this truly serves to continue the bad habits we are trying to break regardless of the ingredients.

Now I am taking it back to my conscious living roots which did not include desserts of cake, cookies, ice cream and all the new products that mimic the things that simply are not Paleo or conscious no matter what we tell ourselves.

No doubt I got this finally. I am pretty confident the final quarter of 2017 will finish with me reaching my goal. Wish me luck.

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Managing a Sugar Addiction

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Managing a Sugar Addiction

Sugar continues to be my drug of choice. I am a full blown addict who craves sweetness all day long. Yes my sugar comes from natural sources like honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar, dates, sweet potato, fruits & other veggies. No matter what it is sugar, I love it & crave it 100%.

Since becoming conscious my sugar addiction has evolved all with the thought of overcoming this strong addiction.

It took me about 17 years of effort to overcome a strong addiction to Coke. I had the hardest time giving up 1/2 of a small can. I would sip it all day long many days not finishing the can, but still 'had' to have it.

I used to eat cookies everyday with cake & pie's too. Now I limit my sugar to natural options, however I still find it to be too much for optimum health. I have had a plan to end this & I thought you would like to hear about it.

I feel as if I am about 1 year to 18 months out of totally conquering this addiction of life & it has been a concentrated journey for almost 6+ years. Slow & steady has been my mantra always during my miracle life.

In order to live a truly conscious mindset & life as a Wahls Warrior I need to stop eating these types of foods in excess. MS hates sugar of any kind. It took hard work, but I did give up pizza, bread & gluten filled options & did not replace them with Paleo substitutes, but sweets are another thing all together. I have taken the slower road to this victory.

When I first started my conscious journey I ate about a 1 pound jar a week of local, raw honey. Literally I would simply put the spoon in the jar & go to town. This was how strong my addiction was that I had to consume large quantities of honey just to cope with the mental & physical changes happening from giving up refined sugars.

The next step for me was to do Whole 30 challenges.

These challenges are strict for 30 days with an automatic reset if you make a mistake. The competitive person I am did not ever have the need to reset & in the 1st year I did 7- Whole 30 challenges.

In the last year I decided to take it up a notch & do Whole Life Challenges.

Whole Life Challenges are 8 weeks and offer a few more elements to the challenge than the Whole 30 that I like. In addition to the time of the challenge being double a Whole Life Challenge offers several lifestyle goals & habits that also need to be met. It is not an all or nothing competition & has a scoring element that helps me to work even harder due to my competitive nature. Currently I am doing 3 of these yearly with each one limiting the amount of natural sugar I can consume helping to control my addiction.

The problem with both the Whole 30 and Whole Life Challenge is that when I am not participating I am back to consuming natural sugars & the addiction appears out of control.

Once I begin eating I eat it all. Not one cookie, but all the cookies. This is what I need to fix. This is where my issue lies just like any addiction. My hope is that after my next Whole Life Challenge I plan to not turn off the 'sugar' button because it is time to say goodbye to sugar foods forever. I am not going to allow myself to turn it on with compliant cakes, cookies & more for the last time.

Binging on foods during the off challenge times is not a good look & needs to stop for good so my body can have another level of healing.

I am hopeful this transition can happen & my sweet tooth can finally turn off so that living my best life will elevate to another level. Last year giving up booze was a huge step toward overcoming this addiction & I believe helped set the tone for me to overcome sugar this year & I am ready to make it happen.

Saying forever goodbye to sugar is the last piece in my food as medicine journey. Rome was not built in a day & my healing process has followed this mantra. I have worked consciously since 2011 to heal my body using food and this would be the final step & obviously has not been easy.

I am confident I can do this & have build a community of support with 5 other friends who are cheering me on & agreed to be my mentors. In addition I will be identifying several non sugar options to satisfy my temptations for the 1st 6 months with a plan to eventually weed those out eventually. I believe overcoming the need for 'something' after a meal is the behavior I am changing.

Wish me luck.

Have you given up sugar? What were your steps? Share below so we can all inspire each others journey.

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