July 11, 2015 completes 5 years of being sugar free for me. It totals 1,826 days deliberately avoiding sugar in my diet. Why do I count? I was addicted to food and especially sugar and like a drug addict who is clean, I count the days to hold myself accountable to the LORD for what I put into my mouth and body.
I cannot say for sure that I have not had some sugar in foods where I was unaware, but to the best of my ability, I have read labels and I have not deliberately had sugar in 5 years.
This is not a fad or a temporary diet for me. This is a permanent lifestyle change. My health challenges were many and I can honestly say I feel better off sugar than I did when I was 20 years younger and eating sugar.
In the first four months off sugar, I shed weight and much body pain. I gained energy and began to sleep better. My mood and my clarity of thought improved.
I spent a month praying and planning back in 2010 before I totally cut sugar. I bought stevia. My preferred brand is SweetLeaf Stevia. Months later, I decided I wanted to be able to bake for my family, so I learned how to use Birch Xylitol and Erythritol. I also occasionally use Yacon. All of these sweeteners have very low glycemic. Yacon and Stevia have ZERO!
At the same time as I stopped sugar, I stopped wheat and the majority of other grains. I have played with those on and off, adding them back and removing again and overall, I now know that I feel much better when I am grain free. I have not even played with wheat since March of 2012 and don’t ever intend to add it back in.
So, what do I eat? I eat clean meats like grass fed beef, poultry and fish. I eat eggs, raw dairy and organic nuts. I eat almost all fruits and veggies. I make a point of eating some real butter, coconut oil and avocados every day. I avoid white potatoes and any high starch content foods. I do not buy or eat the “gluten free” versions of foods, but instead have converted our family favorites to almond or coconut flour.
I avoid all chemicals and artificial sweeteners and I severely limit honey and maple syrup. I read labels. I ask questions at restaurants. I make my own mayonnaise, my own salad dressings and avoid all package mixes.
The end result is fabulous. Most of the people who have tasted my cooking view it as good, homemade cooking and have no clue that they are eating sugar and chemical free. My food is not much different than what my grandma cooked 75 years ago when she was a young mom, just minus the sugar. Back then, food didn’t have chemicals and didn’t come out of boxes and cans.
When I was a child, I watched my grandma fix her food from scratch. She rarely used anything from a can or box, thus her food did not contain msg or other preservatives or chemicals. She got her meat and produce every 2-3 days at a local grocer, so it was fresh.
Other than being sugar and grain free, my way of cooking is NOT new. It is actually going back to the way my grandma cooked before all the processed, packaged food was invented. I have had a few people tell me they think my cooking is gourmet. On one of those occasions, all they had was roast and carrots I had cooked from scratch. It was such a simple meal, I was actually astonished that they were so impressed.
I think the majority of people living today, especially under 50, have not experienced REAL food. They are deprived and don’t even know it. Most everything they eat comes out of a package or a box or from a fast food restaurant. Sadly, the result of that lifestyle is chronic autoimmune disorders at younger and younger ages.
Cooking from scratch and eating real, whole food has become a thing of the past. It is almost a lost art. Almost, but many are retaking their kitchens for the glory of God and the health and wellness of their families.
I use natural supplements to support my health, but NO supplement can overcome bad eating habits. Someone said that to me five and a half years ago and it really helped me to understand my need to change my lifestyle and eating plan. Sadly, too many people are looking for a drug or supplement to “fix” what they are causing with their own forks. It just won’t happen!
The way to improve overall wellness, vitality and energy is by eating whole, live food, food that is chemical and preservative free. I will say it again: there is NO pill, supplement, or even prescription drug that can fix what bad food and chemicals cause.
When I started this path, it was lonely, but now I meet people all the time who are working to get the chemicals, sugars and grains out of their lives. Some of these are young moms who want to raise their families to be healthier than they were. It is exciting to see these young families and know what a head start they have by raising their children this way.
Support is growing rapidly, even within the medical community. Dr. William Davis, author of WHEAT BELLY, is a cardiologist who is promoting a grain free and sugar free lifestyle. His books have helped hundreds of people to have a new chance at wellness. You can follow his WHEAT BELLY page on Facebook to read some very exciting testimonies.
Dr. David Perlmutter, author of GRAIN BRAIN, is a neurologist who also promotes grain and sugar free living. You can follow him by finding the page with his name on Facebook. He gives some really good nutrition advice, like eating avocados, my favorite brain food!
There are sooo many websites with grain free, sugar free recipes now and it was rare when I started this journey five years ago. I have been asked several times to do a cookbook and I am seriously considering it, but there are lots of those out there, too. The resources for a healthy lifestyle are numerous. The word is spreading and many thousands are discovering the freedom and renewed health they gain from stopping sugar and grains.
I have had many people tell me that there was no way they could do it and yet, thousands of people are making the commitment to go absolutely sugar and grain free. I also know some who said they couldn’t do it UNTIL a major health crisis occurred and then, they did it. Some of those wish they had done it even sooner. I know I wish I had done it 20 years sooner and saved myself and my family much pain.
Most of us go through withdrawal that is quite similar to a drug withdrawal when we drop sugar and grains. Knowing what to expect makes it easier. Planning ahead by having stevia and a kitchen full of fresh fruits and vegetables makes a huge difference in the outcome. Everyone I know who has made a decision to do this permanently has experienced renewed health and energy on the other side of the withdrawal. There is also a huge emotional burden lifted when we no longer have to make a daily or moment by moment decision about what to eat.
In July, 2010, I decided I would NEVER, EVER deliberately eat sugar again. It was a very freeing decision. The next time I was at a wedding or church supper I did not have to decide what to eat. I had already made the decision and I simply walked right past the foods that do not fit into the healthy eating plan that I chose.
In March 2012, I made the decision to NEVER eat wheat again and now, I no longer have to decide if I will eat things made with wheat. It is NOT an option.
The LORD has strengthened me throughout this time and I know HE called me to walk this walk, even if I have to walk it alone. He convicted me that my body is HIS temple and that I should not ever put anything in it that is bad for it.
When I agreed with Him and began this walk, I felt a great burden was lifted from me. The daily struggle was over. No more decisions needed to be made. I was truly “out of my bondage” !
I thank God for friends and family who have helped me convert recipes and for those of you who have cheered me on. I want to give a special thank you to those of you who do not eat like I eat, but have gone out of your way to provide clean food for me when I am with you. I know it is a paradigm shift from the standard American diet and I cannot begin to tell you how I appreciate your efforts on my behalf. You are a blessing to me!
I thank God for His gift of conviction in this area and for opening my eyes to the alternatives so I could feed my family treats and not compromise the path HE has given me. I thank God for strengthening my spirit, so I could make the changes and stick with them.
Truly, NOTHING is too hard for the LORD God! He IS able to take a frail and weak vessel like me and give new energy, while releasing me once and for all from my addiction to sugar and wheat.
To God be the Glory!
Ladonna – Five years and still counting!
‘Ah, Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You.’ Jeremiah 32:17