About a week ago I was feeling like dog doo. Everything hurt. My neck, my arms, legs, even my friggin’ hands ached. After a long day at work, I shuffled in the door and collapsed on the couch, so tired I cancelled my plans to go out dancing. And someone who loves to boogie as much as I do has to be in a truck load of pain to skip the chance to shake, rattle, and roll.
As I sat there, legs propped up, massaging tight muscles I began to freak out. I was too young for this kind of pain. Other people my age don’t deal with this. Heck, even my parents didn’t have aches like mine.
So I took stock of my lifestyle.
Now, I’ve been into health foods since my first year of college and was a vegetarian for ten years. Even when I reintroduced meat, it consisted of poultry and fish. My low-fat diet consists of salads, lots of fruits and veggies, and nuts for snacks avoiding fried, processed, or high cholesterol foods. And I’ve worked out my entire life.
But I’ve always loved sugar. As soon as a sweet cookie or smooth piece of fudge touches my lips, I’m a goner. Like a drug, it never satisfies me. I need more. And more. And more. Until finally I’m in a sugar induced stupor.
And Valentine’s week was one for the books. My intake alone must have shot C & H Sugar’s profits up by 20%. Between a class party, chocolate hearts from my students, cake in the teacher’s lounge, and a tub of Hershey’s Miniatures during the staff meeting, I must have ingested five-hundred pounds of sugar.
So I went on-line and did some research. I was surprised to discover that foods high in sugar can cause inflammation. Studies discovered that spikes in insulin trigger biochemical reactions that lead to inflammation. Sugar also Sugar also contributes to joint pain and stiffness through a process called glycation. This occurs when sugar bonds with proteins to form compounds called advanced glycation end products which damage cells in the body by speeding up the oxidative process and changing normal cell behavior.
Aha! Time to make a change.
I began last Saturday with one simple goal. No candy, cookies, or cakes. I did great all weekend since I don’t keep sweets at home. Work, on the other hand, has so many sweets calling to me I felt as if I were a drug addict in a free pharmacy.
But pain is powerful motivator and I stayed away all week.
So how do I feel one week later? Better! The pain in my hands is gone. The rest of my body feels better and I have more energy. Neck stiffness I’ll always have, since two discs have degeneratated and last year’s hernia caused damage to a third. Still, even my neck pain diminished. Without mega-doses of ibuprofen.
I’d have to say that week one of my sugar purge was a success. I can’t wait for week two!