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*Why* I Quit Sugar

March 2, 2012

Last week, I came back from the dead and wrote a long post about how I quit sugar and lost 17 pounds. No biggie, right? So I quit sugar.

I freakin’ quit SUGAR! The sweet nectar of life, one of God’s treasures to show us that he loves us. It’s so sweet when it hits the lips…

Why on God’s green earth would I go and do something stupid and crazy like that? Well, don’t gag, but it seems I have a slight yeast problem.

Eew.

I could write forever about this, but I really just want this to be short and sweet. So the basics are this…

  • I’ve had a scalp condition for as long as I can remember. Like dandruff, but grosser. Coal tar shampoo and tea tree oil shampoo have been faithful companions for…ever.
  • A good 10-12 years ago, I went to my gynecologist for an itch problem. (Contrary to popular belief, I am not a walking Monistat commercial. I don’t have that yeast problem.) That was the first time I was told I had a yeast-related problem, and promptly received my first of many prescriptions for topical steroids.
  • After I had my first son, and I was struggling with breastfeeding, that same gynecologist diagnosed me with a yeast infection in my breast. (Eew. And painful.) Interestingly, on the insurance form he diagnosed me with mastitis, but specifically told me that yeast, not mastitis, was my problem.
  • My itch problem continued to get worse as I got older, and I brought it up with my new gynecologist. Again, she confirmed that it was yeast related, gave me some lifestyle information on how to keep it at bay, and again wrote me more steroid prescriptions.
  • And then last fall, I finally got around to seeing a dermatologist for my scalp and got an official diagnosis – Seborrhea Dermatitis, which is…wait for it…fed by yeast. And the multiple steroid prescriptions continued.

Over the course of many years, I’ve had three medical doctors diagnose me with a yeast-related condition. And every one of them insisted that topical steroids were my only form of relief. I felt challenged, like it was my duty to prove them all wrong – there had to be something I could do about this other than slather steroids all over my skin. Steroids, by the way, that were slowly depleting my immune system, thinning my skin and requiring ever-stronger steroids to continue working.

So I dove in head first. I have since become best buds with the owner of the local health foods store, Nutrition Stop. It was recommended I read “The Yeast Connection” by Dr. William Crook, the groundbreaking 1986 book connecting systemic yeast to a variety of disease. I Googled the hell out of “Yeast” and “Candida.” And did I learn more about Yeast than I ever, ever wanted to know.

Here’s a list of some of the things that a systemic yeast problem lead to:

  • Gastrointestinal and digestion problems (check)
  • Skin problems (skin infections, eczema, psoriasis, acne) and itchiness (check)
  • Foggy brain / Trouble concentrating (oh, crap, check and check)
  • Fatigue and exhaustion (yeah, check that, too)
  • Anxiety, mood swings, anger, irritability (not so much anxiety, but mood swings and irritability, most definitely check)
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) (No. Thank goodness.)
  • Headaches and migraines (Not for me)
  • Intense cravings for sugars, sweets, breads and alcohol (Doesn’t everyone? Oh, I mean, check.)
  • Food allergies and sensitivities to odor and chemicals (YES! Wow! Check that one, too.)
And to think I was trying to convince my gynecologist that I was experiencing early menopause because I was sure I was going hormone crazy! But, seriously, everyone has yeast in their body, so why doesn’t everyone suffer from multiple symptoms like yours truly? Every body is different, but there are a few factors that can tip you over into an overgrowth:
  • Repeated use of antibiotics – which I took fairly regularly in high school to fight sinus infections, bronchitis and tonsilitis
  • Prolonged use of steroids – which I’ve been on, in various degrees, for over 10 years
  • Prolonged use of The Pill – which I was on for 15 years
  • Pregnancy – which I’ve done twice
  • A diet high in sugar – which, if you live in America, you have a diet high in sugar
What does sugar have to do with yeast? Yeast feeds on sugar. So if I have a yeast overgrowth and I need to kill it and rebalance my body, I have to elminate yeast’s main food source. Sugar may indeed be the White Devil, but that’s for another post. In this instance, it’s feeding the very problem that is causing a whole host of other problems in my body. So it had to go.
NOTE: I will be able to slowly reintroduce foods with sugar, but I’m not there yet. And somethings, in all honesty, no longer hold any appeal to me.

Do you need to do something this drastic? I cannot tell you. This story is unique to me. If anything from above strikes a chord with you or seems familiar, please feel free to contact me either through the blog or directly at FitMommas@Gmail.com. There are plenty of “you’re a quack” sites out there to tell you that there’s no such thing as a yeast syndrome, that naturopaths just want your money, and it’s all just a bunch of hooey. Realize that I’ve had Western-trained medical doctors tell me I have yeast; it’s just that none of them were willing to make the connection between all my issues, and describe it as systemic.

I highly recommend these resources if this post is talkin’ to you:

The book and most of these sites also have questionnaires to fill out that score your history along with your symptoms. On every one of these quizzes, I scored off the charts before I even finished all the questions. But before you buy anything or begin any program, by all means, send me a note. Today marks two months since I’ve been on this diet, and I’m still fighting yeast with various treatment protocols. I have had a lot of trial and error, spent money on things I wish I hadn’t and there are things I wish I had known.

So that’s my Yeast story and why I quit sugar. If you didn’t catch last week’s post on how I’ve lost 17 pounds on this journey, check it out here. More healthy recipes, discussions on sugar and the diet, and other crazy stuff to come!

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. chris permalink
    March 2, 2012 3:49 pm

    Wow, great job taking control of your health and listening to the voice within! My mother had horrible candidiasis too and struggles with it still. She’s read the Yeast Connection, which she highly recommends as well. Liz Reynolds (you know wonderful Liz from MOPS) went through the same restrictive eating plan years ago and sees a doctor that she gives a lot of credit to– Dr. Sultan. Good luck on this journey and you look great!

  2. March 2, 2012 4:21 pm

    I did not know that about Liz! Dr. Sultan’s office has come up more than once in my research. I can’t remember what led me to his website, I’ll have to ask Liz about him.

    That’s interesting, and a bit disheartening, to hear about your mom. I have a fear that I’ll never really kick this thing, and will struggle also. I’d love to hear from her about what has and has not worked.

    • chris permalink
      March 2, 2012 5:47 pm

      Oops, don’t let her be disheartening– she can’t kick it because she falls back in to bad habits big time. However, when she is doing the right things (mainly food and avoiding alcohol)– her candida and everything goes away. Liz is a good example too. Dr. Sultan has helped both of them tremendously. It can be defeated 🙂

  3. Tracy permalink
    March 25, 2012 9:37 am

    Okay – so just read this. interesting stuff! My friend, Amber, was diagnosed with candida years ago and also went on a similar diet. She said it cured her. We now have three gluten free folks in our house…. we might try eliminating it in everyone’s diet and see what happens. Can you give us some ideas of a daily meal plan you are following?

    • March 25, 2012 3:04 pm

      Tracy, is that your friend that owns the limo company? I’d love to talk to her about how she did it, how long, what her menus were.

      I’m hoping to get more daily menus togethers, but I really need to branch out. We’re kinda eating the same thing over and over and we’re all getting tired of it! LOL!

      I eat A Lot of salads!

  4. June 3, 2012 9:00 pm

    Great post! Here’s a great site with condition-related diet, recipe & meal planning advice from experts that may help anyone http://www.myfoodmyhealth.com/Meal-Plans-Diets/Conditions/Candidiasis.php?id=home

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