I just realized that today I am not feeling like a slave to carb and sugar cravings! It has taken me 4-5 months to kick the cravings and get a handle on my emotional eating and my urges for crap foods. Lots of people have been asking me about my healing journey which is why I am sharing this post with you today.
In March 2012 I dove in to an elimination diet to help out my nursling and her tummy troubles. Turns out I also needed the elimination of many overly abundant food items. I started with eliminating processed sugars (still ate fruits, honey, etc), I also eliminated gluten (aka wheat). At the onset of removing gluten and sugars I was super emotional and generally just feeling wrecked. Not only did my body hurt from the detoxification/ food withdrawal it was naturally undergoing but emotions & aggravations were high and totally incurable since I was eating the sugars and craps to “feel better” in the first place.
I clearly remember anticipating the kids nap times so I could binge on terrible foods. You can’t eat a snickers bar in front of your toddler without having to share it with her right? And the last thing I wanted was for my kid to eat these crap foods… So I’d wait till she was asleep to eat one and it would kind of be my stress relief and moment of calm… much like those stupid Dove chocolate commercials try to make eating a chocolate out to be… except I never really felt better. It just sort of artificially masked things.
At first, the sugars gave me a high that helped me through and the idea of splurging on myself kind of made me feel good for a moment but eventually even eating sugar all day long while the kids were awake didn’t provide any satisfaction or fix things. So what did I do? I just ate more and more like a junky, hoping that with enough consumption I’d start to feel better…
The problem is this type of emotional eating does nothing to help support your body’s health and it actually does quite a bit of damage when it is as excessive as mine was. I was basically hooked on sugar & processed carbs. My body confirmed this with my withdrawal headaches, muscle aches, mood swings and overall frame of mind when these foods were removed.
What myself and Adalyn battle is a combination of emotional eating, candida overgrowth thanks to the abundance sugar and carbs (which likely lead to my leaky gut issues) and then a slew of leaky gut symptoms (aka food sensitivities and digestion issues). My adrenal stress, candida overgrowth and gut imbalances likely inhibited my oxytocin production postpartum and thus impacted my bonding with Adalyn. Furthermore, she’s been exposed via birth to my own imbalanced gut flora & candida. Plus, she’s also having to suffer through my leaky gut and food sensitivities via my breast milk.
Gut health is so important but you just don’t realize it until you don’t have it …
PLUS it is a long and painful journey back to health if you haven’t done permanent damage already.
I feel like the worst of it is over now. My incurable, funky, dry-skin finger rash is mostly gone. My insane food cravings are gone. My overly emotional need for certain foods is gone. My insatiable hunger is gone. My fussy, constipated baby is eliminating WAY more often and more easily. Sleeping has been easier with a happier, better fed baby.
I am still on the healing path though. Anyone that thinks they can just heal overnight is grossly mistaken. It takes time to remove all the built up crap from you system before real results can be observed. I’m handling the very infrequent gluten exposures well, without tummy upset but now I’ve begun to notice a sensitivity to certain dairy products… so the gut is still leaking and will continue to do so (especially with foods I eat daily) until fully healed. Food rotation and variation is really working for me. Even the good for you stuff can’t be eaten daily I am finding. If they are, sensitivities will inevitably pop up.
Furthermore, once the cravings are kicked and you begin to feel better you can’t just go back to how it used to be. Binging on junk food or sugar or gluten again will only bring you right back to where you started, much like a drug junkie. I know, I’ve had many slip ups that I had to learn from and you likely will too.
For the sake of helping us all along the healing path… Since gut healing is on my mind and the minds of many of my readers, friends & family let’s do a little sharing of information and routines:
The things we are doing here to keep the gut healthy and on the path to healing are:
- Make fermented foods at home. The idea is to recolonize the gut with good bacteria so that healing may occur. Note: store-bought yogurt, probiotics and such typically aren’t enough to help. If you do the fermented foods right you’ll be recolonizing the gut and also aiding in the body’s detox. Our favorites to make are sauerkraut, kombucha & kefir. We are always trying out new stuff though. The book Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods is one I’d highly recommend for learning how to make your own fermented foods, it has tons of idea in there!
- Remove the troublesome foods from your diet and replace them with other food variations. For most it is sugar, gluten & dairy but that doesn’t mean you only get to chew on grass and twigs all day. Learn about ancient grains like Quinoa, Millet and so on (they are gluten-free!). Try out and make your own kefir dairy stuff. Kefir can be made almost completely lactose free and you can make ice cream, yogurts, dressings and such with it. Getting the chemical sugars out of my diet was sufficient and I didn’t have to go as far as removing all sugar containing foods (like apples and other fruits) to kick the cravings and issues.
- Replace the lacking nutrients and minerals. I don’t mean with supplements either. Raw sea salts are full of minerals as are various healing clays (pascalite clay) that you take internally. The healing clays can also be a great thing for removing those toxins from your body or to use while undergoing food withdrawal/ detoxing. Learn about Chia Seeds for health. Also, homemade bone broth (also vegetable broth) is important to make and consume for general health and mineral replenishment. Eat your greens and try to consume a ton of raw foods (smoothies!), as much as you can.
- Support the body’s natural healing processes. Besides eating a more whole foods diet and striving to really buy organic when appropriate I bought Slippery Elm Bark Powder, ginger root, pascalite clay and raw bee pollen to help support healing. Other things I’ve been thinking about are Natural Calm and I really wish I had bought Bach Flower Remedies while I was having food withdrawals.