It’s been a while since I quit sugar and gluten. What I remember and what people are reporting to me is that it takes about 3-4 weeks for the cravings for sugar to subside. During that period you’re going to have some miserable times so be aware that you might be on a bit of an emotional/energetic roller coaster ride. The good news is that if you are abstinent from sugar and other sweeteners you should have complete relief from the cravings for sugar. If you are “tapering off” or “cutting back” with the goal of eventually being sugar free it may actually be harder than going cold turkey. Either way there are some simple things that you can do to ease you through this transition. First, a little background as to what you are most likely up against.
Sugar suppresses your immune system. Sugar also feeds the undesirable microbes in your gut. When the flora in your gut is out of balance the undesirable microbes take hold and the symbiosis of digestion gets thrown off. There are at least 3 microbes that burrow into your intestinal wall and contribute to what is known as leaky gut. Leaky gut in severe forms would present as IBS, Chrones, Diverticulitis, and other digestive ailments. You can have also have leaky gut in a less severe form that is contributing to a lack of vibrant health. The toxins that are meant to be eliminated or broken down more completely are entering your bloodstream through the intestinal wall. Or they are not getting absorbed and continuing down your intestines where they feed the bad microbes in a condition known as mal-absorption. These toxins would be taken care of by your immune system, but your immune system has been suppressed by the sugar that is contributing to the leaky gut/mal-absorption. The toxins travel to your liver where they have another chance to get filtered out of your bloodstream before they can do more damage. Your liver is overwhelmed with having to process stuff that it was not meant to take care of. Your liver stores the toxins in your tissue and fat cells in an attempt to protect your major organs. Read GAPS, “Gut and Psychology Syndrome” by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride MD, or “Breaking the Vicious Cycle” by Elaine Gottschall for more details.
I am going to recommend a few things that are going to work on the issue of leaky gut/mal-absorbtion, and your overtaxed liver. This should help you get through the transition to gluten/sugar freedom. You don’t want to do a liver cleanse. You want to support your liver in an attempt to get your liver back functioning properly. There are 2 supplements that can help with that. I used just regular Milk Thistle capsules, and milk thistle tea. Another supplement that has been recommended to me is Hepatiben by Liver Medic. Both are available locally at Debra’s Natural Gourmet in West Concord. The second product is Vitality Super Green by Body Ecology. I take this an hour before breakfast 2 scoops with 24oz of warm water. The Vitality Super green is going to get nutrients and micro organisms to your gut to help you heal and repopulate your gut with the right balance of microbes. Third I recommend cultured vegetables. I use the Body Ecology Starter to introduce the beneficial probiotics to the cultured vegetables. The probiotics eat the vegetable sugar, and the probiotic colony grows. The vegetables are broken down and more easily digested, the probiotics get down into your gut where it can do the most good. Fourth, bone broth. Everyone from Gaps to Sally Fallon are heralding the effects of bone broth. Easily digested. Loaded with minerals. Collagen to heal and soothe your digestive tract. Other than that just be aware that you’re going to be going through some withdrawls so watch your interactions with the ones you love and the ones who love you and be gentle with yourself.
In the beginning phases of going gluten/sugar free we are just going to assume that you have leaky gut to some extent and if that is not the case, the protocol will contribute to beefing up your digestive tract/immune system. If you have diarrhea, constipation, or you feel sick go see your Doctor and get it checked out. I’m not recommending anything I have not or would not take myself or anything that would harm you if taken as directed.
The other part of this is that unless you’re used to making broth, and doing some of the other recommendations it’s a little bit of a learning curve. For example when I make cultured veggies I do it in 5 gallon plastic food grade buckets. I make 2-3 cases of quart jars at a time so that I am not constantly having to take on a food project (I can forward the recipe if you are interested). Another example; for dinner tonight we are having roasted turkey with vegetables. I bought an organic 22lb. turkey. This morning I cut off both legs and the back and froze them for later use. We will roast the breast, and serve it for dinner. From the leftovers we will make sandwiches for the kid’s school lunches. With the carcass when we are done we will make bone broth. The back will get tossed into a bone broth some where along the way. The legs and thighs will make smoked BBQ turkey legs on the grill. So you have at least 2 dinners to feed 4. We will make sandwiches for 2 teenagers possibly for a week, and a gallon or so of bone broth. Not a bad value when you think about it. Don’t get stuck on the cost of organic/grass fed when you are thinking about bone broth. Remember you want to heal your gut.
The last bit of this is something that has unfolded for Maria and I over the last few months, and that is the power of fellowship. AA is credited for saving millions of lives, and spawning several 12 step programs. I have always been struck by the simplicity and the happenstance of AA creation. This is from the history of AA, “In Akron, Ohio in 1935 a meeting between two men (Bill W and Dr. Bob), both of whom were termed “hopeless” alcoholics, began a program of recovery that has helped millions find sobriety and serenity – the fellowship known as Alcoholics Anonymous”. If you are seeking lasting change and vibrant health, seek fellowship. Maria and I have started a support group that meets at the studio monthly if you would like to join us. Another choice would be Over Eaters Anonymous. Either way your chances of success are greatly improved with fellowship, and being with other “like minded” people will make the process a lot easier.