Throughout my life I have been on restrictive diets for various health and welfare reasons, to eliminate physical problems and to care for the world around me. My first hand knowledge of dairy free, lactose intolerant, vegetarian, vegan and gluten free eating has meant we can offer all these specialist diets to our guests. The clean air and lack of pesticides in the Eastern Rhodope Mountains means all the food I produce from my garden is organic, extremely tasty and packed full of nutrition.
So it was surprising that after living here for 5 years we were still experiencing minor ailments. Nothing requiring hospitalisation but niggles that occurred frequently and made us feel downhearted. So I did some research and all things pointed to sugar being the culprit. Most illnesses can be attributed to our bodies ph being out of kilter. We all have bacteria in our bodies that is needed to aid food digestion, however there is also unwanted or ‘bad’ bacteria which feeds off sugar and multiplies. This creates an overgrowth that has many side affects that are different for each person, like skin infections, feeling tired, headaches, depression, constipation, diarrhoea, bloating, rheumatism and candida.
Sugar is a very cheap commodity so manufacturers use it in vast quantities to add weight and make their products taste so good. Nearly all of the snack foods you are tempted with at the checkout, even the savoury ones, are laden with sugar. Lactose in milk is actually a sugar, soft drinks contain a huge amount and alcohol raises your blood sugar levels. Caffeine, white flour & pasta don’t help and the longer you’ve been unbalanced, the longer it takes to right yourself.
A sugar free cleanse was the hardest diet I’ve ever done. Cutting out sugar at first seemed impossible. It was everywhere and manufacturers label sugar in disguising ways – sucrose, maltose, lactose, glucose, dextrose and with E numbers. All sugars needed to be eliminated to give the good bacteria a fighting chance. This included fruit, fruit juice and honey. Starving the bacteria was the key but takes time, so to kill off the bad bacteria we increased anti-fungals: caprylic acid capsules (from coconut oil), apple cider vinegar, ginger, turmeric, olive oil, lemon juice and green leafy vegetables. To heal our insides, we began eating more of the things that feed the good bacteria – like raw garlic, plain yogurt, cinnamon and above all drinking plenty of water to flush the toxins out of our system.
At the start of the diet, the sugar cravings are intense but soon they diminish and it’s worth it. I switched to baking only wholemeal breads and buying only wholemeal pasta and rice. I learnt new recipes for sugar free snacks that weren’t boring and found tahini (a paste made from sesame seeds) a brilliant alternative to jam so I could still enjoy toast. Packed full of nutrients, it’s tasty and thick like peanut butter. And of course, making tasty nutritious soups from the green leafy vegetables in my organic garden.
We both experienced increased energy, improved eyesight, a zing in our step and more importantly, all ailments disappeared. We gradually reintroduced our ‘naughty’ food but have to keep a balance or the side effects reappear. Moderation is key.
So if you want to tip back your body’s balance, then this is for you.