Monday, January 16, 2017

My Not-So-Sweet Sugar Story

While I was pregnant with Eleanna, I was bombarded by yeast infections. One after the other after the other, until finally, I was given a prescription medication that finally did the trick in relieving me of the symptoms. However, six months after she was born it reared its ugly head again. I did the same things as before and when nothing was working, I went to the doctor. There I found out I had BV (bacterial vaginosis) which is the most common vaginal infection affecting women today. It's an imbalance of good bacteria and bad bacteria. They tell you to go to the doctor for antibiotics, which I did, but here's the kicker: 30% of BV cases come back. And it did for me, along with a UTI. I was miserable. I tried reading a book on BV specifically and how to treat it using hydrogen peroxide, probiotics, vitamins, yogurt, etc. etc. You name it, I tried it. Nothing was working and I was desperate. I finally chatted with a friend who is super knowledgeable about natural healing and she instructed me to eliminate sugar from my diet.

What does bacterial vaginosis have to do with sugar?

Quite a bit actually. My diet was killing my vagina. Was it as weird reading that as it was typing it? Haha, it sounds funny, but it is the truth. Sugar was feeding the yeast and I kept eating it. So, I cut all processed sugar from my diet completely. It was way harder than it sounds because sugar is in everything. Reading ingredients became a habit and I was strict about what I ate. I began to notice a big difference, but it didn't cure it.

When I went back to researching I happened across an online discussion where women, just like me, struggled with reoccurring BV's. Some things worked for some, while that same thing didn't work for others. It was extremely frustrating. I was going through their "Have you tried this?" list and found one that I had not tried: boric acid. Voila! After one suppository, the symptoms were gone! It was a HUGE relief.

Unfortunately, I feel like I'm now an expert on a subject I had no intention of ever knowing anything about, but I felt like I had to share this story because I know I'm not alone. And sugar may be your culprit.

Let's have a little chat about sugar. Sugar is a good thing in its natural form. It's what the body uses to create energy, however, there is a huge difference between natural sugar and refined/processed sugar. Our body needs sugar (aka carbohydrates) in order to function properly, however, no matter how badly we want it to, our body does not need cakes, cookies, pastas, breads, etc. Our body needs the nutrients and the carbohydrates, but I was beginning to understand how refined sugar affected me specifically and it was not good - obviously.

I also could not believe how much sugar my family was eating on a daily basis! We mainly stuck to the outside of the grocery store when shopping, and stuck to fruits and vegetables mainly. Still, we were consuming more sugar than was needed. I also couldn't believe how much I did not know about simple carbs and complex carbs or processed sugar verses refined sugar. The more I knew the more I became aware of healthy food choices.

And then when I saw and felt how my body reacted to this sugar break I knew I couldn't go back.

A Big Bonus
A big bonus of this knowledge, and putting it at work in my life, was my body's reaction to the changes. I was the biggest I've ever been my freshman year of college and was bound and determined to never be overweight again. In fact, I weighed less being pregnant than I did back in those days. The more I learned about diet, the more I began to understand the huge role it plays in overall health and appearance. Breastfeeding definitely helps in that "weight" arena, but eliminating sugar for 40 days took all that baby weight off. That was enormously satisfying in and of itself.

Another Sugar Fast
We decided that after the holiday's we needed another break from sugar, so we dedicated an entire month to being refined-sugar-free. I am again pleased with the results. The first week is the hardest, but it is so worth it.  I never, ever want to go back to where I was before. My body can't handle it. When I overdo sugar now-a-days my stomach hurts. It just isn't worth it. I used to enjoy giant macchiatos from Starbucks, or small blizzards from DQ, but now I can't even take a sip of it without cringing and I can barely finish a mini blizzard. It's too much and I'm perfectly okay with that. I enjoy a slice of dark chocolate after dinner and I'm satisfied. I feel so much better and my vagina thanks me... haha.

Just try it.
I encourage you to try it. Start with a week and see how you feel. Begin to pay attention to the ingredients and find food that has no added sugar, but you enjoy eating (example: cashews are a new favorite snack as well as goldfish and raisins or natural peanut butter and an apple). You do not have to cut everything out entirely, but moderation is most definitely a good thing.

Your body will thank you.

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