When I was just out of high school, I used to work the reception desk part-time at a motor sports dealership, across the street from Tim Hortons. I’d buy a 20-pack of Timbits (the “jam”-filled ones with powdered sugar) and demolish them during my evening shift. I’d often have an Iced Capp to go with it. And get this: I’d be hungry an hour later. In my mind there was zero correlation between this junk I ate and my crippling IBS attacks (this was before I even knew IBS existed), and the anxiety-bordering-on-panic-attacks from too much caffeine. I used to eat those Welch’s fruit snacks by the box. And fruit juice? I’d drink it by the litre. But I was a skinny-mini, so it must have meant I was invincible. DUH.
Remember when I said I have gut issues that are linked to candida overgrowth? The candida albicans microorganism just LOVES the sugar. And when you have too much candida, you don’t just loves the sugar. You needs the sugar. Concentrated, refined sugar, and lots of it! Fruit juice, fruit snacks, Iced Capps and Timbits are the BEST for candida. You know what else is good for candida? Beeeeer. Wiiiiine. Ciiiiider.
Candida starts out as a single celled yeast. Given enough fuel, it will reproduce and morph into a multi-cellular fungus; at this point it’s much harder to kill and the associated symptoms get worse.
You can’t really blame candida. It’s just trying to live it’s life, alright? I happen to have been a fantastic provider to candida for a very long time. I put food on it’s table, I give it a roof over it’s head. I am a warm, moist, welcoming home. Is this getting a little too weird, me sympathizing with the thing that causes me so much misery?
Last year I attempted an anti-candida diet. Very low carb and almost no sugar. I had one apple a day to satisfy my sweet tooth. Sugar withdrawal sucks. Anyone with a sugar addiction who’s tried to cut it out cold turkey knows what I mean. The first week was the toughest. I had one panic attack from the shock of cutting carbs. After that, things started improving. I felt a tiny bit better every day. I didn’t feel so strung out and exhausted. I looked forward to that one apple every day, and it was so delicious!
All in all, I lasted three weeks before something emotionally traumatic happened and I abandoned my candida diet for vodka and cranberry juice. Am I weak? Some may say so but I find it’s counterproductive to put yourself down when you’re already down. I haven’t attempted the diet since, but I want to give it another shot at some point.
I should clarify, even if you didn’t have a candida overgrowth, you’d still need sugar to live. Every one of the trillions of cells in your body needs glucose to produce energy to make it go. If your gut bacteria was in balance, you wouldn’t crave carbs in the same insane, irrational way. You’d likely be content getting your carbs from whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat, and pretty much any vegetable. The fibre in these foods helps your body break it down into glucose slowly, versus pure sugar that spikes in your blood and makes you feel like this:
Alternatively, you could be so burnt out that sugar (and caffeine) just barely brings you up to normal. That’s linked to adrenal fatigue, a topic I will leave for another day.
Physiology and pathogenic yeast aside, there is a deeper reason we reach for doughnuts or chips or whatever. Stress, loneliness, boredom, sadness. If you’re reaching for sugar, could it be you are lacking sweetness in other areas of your life? I speak only for myself when I say YES.
P.S. I haven’t had a drink for over a week now! Woohoo! My greasy breakfasts at the cafeteria by my work, though… that’s gotta change. Baby steps!