About 2 years ago now, when I was 18, I was feeling tired and lethargic all the time. I would wake up at 7am, have a nap at 9am for an hour or so, and then go to sleep at 8pm. I was EXHAUSTED! As an 18 year old I should have been full of energy but instead I didn’t want to leave the house and I could not concentrate on my university work. I thought to myself “this is not right”.
I went and saw my doctor numerous times, about 8 in total. Every time I got sent for a blood test and it came back all clear. Every time the doctor said to me that my body is growing and my body just needs rest. I knew that it wasn’t the case. I could feel something wasn’t right in my body.
After weeks and months of feeling lethargic all the time, my mother suggested that I go visit our family friend who is a naturopath. My first appointment with him and he told me to cut ALL wheat and refined sugar out of my diet. As an 18 year old, my first thought was about all the yummy food I would miss. No more doughnuts! Suddenly, my diet was being completely changed. I had to think hard when going out with friends because I could no longer have a milkshake or hot chocolate because of the sugar content, I was starting to question everything I put in my mouth. I had to start reading ingredient lists on everything because added sugars are hidden everywhere! I cannot eat canned beetroot anymore because it contains added sugar. All the things you wouldn’t expect contain sugars, do contain sugar. Something that isn’t really needed by our bodies, just to make it taste better so I as a consumer keep buying more.
The first month was horrible. My body was in withdrawals. Sugar is a drug, it stimulates the same part of the brain that cocaine does. Eating sugar makes you feel good, no wonder I kept wanting sugar. That first month I was moody and cranky. I began to think that this naturopath had it all wrong. I NEEDED sugar in my diet! Or so I thought.
But then I started to feel better! Seeing as I felt better I decided that I would start eating sugars again and it quickly changed how I started feeling! I began to feel lethargic and sick all over again so I decided to cut refined sugar out of my life for good.
Two years later, I feel better than ever. Sure, doughnuts still smell really nice but then I remember back to the way my body felt when I was eating sugars. I don’t ever want to feel like that again. Making the change to my diet has been hard. People judge me for it and think that I am just following the latest health food craze. Other people say sugar isn’t bad for me. My response to all of them is that I am doing what I think is best for my body, just as I am sure they are doing what they think is best for their body.
I think that as a society we are really uneducated about our diets and what our bodies actually need to function and thrive. It is time to realise that yummy food doesn’t necessarily equal good food.