The Icing on the Cake

Rainbow Cake

I should probably warn you in advance: I suspect this post is going to be a bit boring.  My aim has always been to create a blog that makes you feel like you’re sitting at my kitchen table having a chat.  Well, today I think it might be me droning on a bit and you might need to alternate between nodding politely and staring wistfully out my virtual kitchen window.

The thing is, I’ve given up sugar.

I’m not usually a candidate for the latest fad diet.  I like to eat food and most of the time, I’m happy enough with how Iook, bingo wings and all.  But I’m sick of feeling sick, and I think this might be the solution.

For at least a year now, it seems I couldn’t eat anything without blowing up like a balloon (stop casting knowing looks at my belly: I’m NOT PREGNANT) and yearning to snuggle down for a nice, long nanna-nap.  I thought I might have Coeliac disease, like my mum, but the test came up negative.  I gave up gluten anyway and it seemed to help, but the problem didn’t completely go away.

I’ve always had a bit of a mania for sweet things (remember this and this?) and sugary foods seemed to give me a reaction as well (though I was very reluctant to admit it).

It was my mum who worked it out.  “I was thinking,” she said to me one Monday afternoon, “you might have”, she lowered her voice, “thrush.”

The temperature of my face rose by several degrees. “Uh, nope, Mum, all fine in that department, thanks!”

“No, I mean, in your intestines.”

“Is that a thing?” I whispered.  I’m not sure why we were whispering in my kitchen, but it seemed right at the time.

It turns out it is a thing.  In the garden of my small intestine, the yeast plant used to live in harmony with all the other germ flowers.  But now it’s all overgrown and causing all manner of troubles.  Symptoms include bloating, tiredness, sugar mania, brain fog and … sorry … um … what were we saying?

One of the ways to control this monster is by cutting off its food supply.  This means no sugar (or grains or lactose).  A second is to dose up on natural yoghurt and probiotics.  And finally, I needed to attack the yeast with some anti-fungal pills from the chemist and natural remedies like garlic.

I got really keen on the whole diet idea.  I wrote a long shopping list and filled my trolley with nuts and salad and hommus and plain corn chips and salmon and steak.  Every time I cooked a meal for myself I felt compelled to photograph it.  Look:

Omelette

Mmmmm….

Pumpkin Soup and Salad

Ohhhhh…

healthy snack

Aahhhh…

Steak and salad

Yummm…

So you can see I had plenty of good food to eat and no need to go hungry.  Things were going pretty well on Day 1 of the diet.  I spent the whole morning feeling all virtuous and smug.  I am now Healthy Woman.  I will battle this gut thrush with everything I’ve got!  Natural yoghurt?  Yes please!

But then it was 3:30pm.  I wanted something sweet.  It was feeding time for the Yeast Beast and the Yeast Beast wasn’t happy.  I had the sugar shakes.  I started pacing around, fantasising about drinking maple syrup and eating sugar by the spoonful.  This wasn’t just a change in diet.  This was going cold turkey on a strong chemical addiction.  I went to bed early that night to escape the withdrawal symptoms.

The second day was not much better.  On the third day I thought I’d try a home remedy.  Garlic was supposed to be good at attacking yeast and raw garlic even better.  So I chopped up two whole cloves, stirred them in some natural yoghurt and tipped it on my salad for lunch.  It burned my mouth when I ate it, but I continued with grim determination: take that, gut thrush!

Garlic was my constant companion for the rest of that day.  I could taste it in my mouth, I could smell it, I could feel it coming out my pores.  It was so intense.  I was a walking garlic cloud.  All I could think about was garlic.  It was a nice change from fixating on sugar all the time.

I’m a week into it now and while I’m feeling a lot healthier and more energetic (and thirsty when I need to drink, and sleepy when I’m tired), it’s still a struggle.  I realise now just how much sugar I used to eat, from the hidden sugars in sauces and processed foods, to all the little bits of sweet food I would eat throughout the day, like an alcoholic taking nips from her hip flask.

Today is Halloween, and more than any other year I am cursing the American holiday that is growing in popularity over here.  Everywhere I go I see decorations of sweets and lollypops.  I’m scared I’m going to relapse and go demand lollies from my neighbours dressed as a half-crazed sugar junkie.  “Trick or treat, damn you! TRICKORTREEEEEAT!!”

I think I need to go munch some garlic…

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19 thoughts on “The Icing on the Cake

  1. Ruby Doom

    You just described me!! 3.30 is a dangerous time of the day and woe betide anyone who comes into my office after school if I forgot to pack my chocolate biscuit!

    Reply
  2. The Simple Italians

    Good to know, as I’d never heard of this before. But then, I don’t like sweets–about the only sugar I have fairly often is in my espresso, so I doubt I’ve got it! Do hope you get to feeling better. And by the way, I’m with you on today’s holiday…my country should have kept it to themselves, or better yet, just gotten rid of it! Actually, though, it was the Scotch-Irish who took it over there in the first place!

    Reply
    1. katelikestocreate Post author

      That is true, but it’s the American version of the holiday that we’re getting here. I was almost tempted to dress my little ones up as saints and celebrate “All Hallows’ Eve”. We could have a holy card treasure hunt, string rosary beads out of lollies and eat cake in the shape of a miraculous medal! Do you think that idea could take off? Ah, a girl can dream!

      Reply
      1. The Simple Italians

        Yep, it’s good to dream! And you’re right, the version of the holiday that is out there now is definitely the USA version–big and commercial!

        Reply
  3. Brad

    Good luck Kate. I’ve given up sugar for several months on two separate occasions but haven’t been able to sustain it.

    Reply
    1. katelikestocreate Post author

      It would be fine if I were a hermit and only ever ate alone but it gets tricky when I’m out with friends. We’ll see how it goes. Hopefully I won’t have to be on it for too long…

      Reply
  4. Hollis Hildebrand-Mills

    Never feel you are boring! And I love the layer cake with each layer the color of one of the chakras! And lastly, I too have given up gluten, but a little parm on gluten-free spaghetti and I blow up also.(I guess I should be more rigid with the gluten-free) but….I could never give up sugar!!!!! Or wine! And also I want to tell you, I used to paint (I am a painter) food. Like you photograph it. Happy Halloween!!!!!!!

    Reply
    1. katelikestocreate Post author

      I must admit, that amazing cake was neither my creation nor my photograph. In an earlier post, ( https://laptopontheironingboard.wordpress.com/2013/03/09/beautiful-parties-magazine/ ) I share photos from a child’s birthday party hosted by my friend and creative genius, Jack Sprout. This picture was taken by Jack’s sister-in-law.
      I must admit, I haven’t entirely given up wine – or coffee for that matter – even though I probably should. A girl’s gotta have SOME vices!
      You should join our Art in August next year! Though, you might be over-qualified!

      Reply
  5. emilyofoldmoon

    Hahahahaha “holy card treasure hunt”. Gold. You should think about being a children’s party host. Who needs a clown or a fairy?! You could dress as Mary and run games such as “ring around a rosary” and “hide and go seek-forgiveness.”

    I love having these virtual kitchen table chats! They always make my day 😀

    Reply
    1. katelikestocreate Post author

      Oh you make me laugh so much! Matilda just said “why are you clapping, Mum?”

      Musical Pews
      Pass the Pastor

      It’s the gift that keeps on giving!
      I’m glad you read the comments – sometimes that’s where the best stuff happens!
      Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to make a piñata in the shape of a dove, and when it breaks open, all the gifts of the Holy Spirit fall out…

      Reply
    2. katelikestocreate Post author

      I spoke to Emmanuel on Cup Day – he’s an Anglican priest now – and he had a few more to add:

      Musical Prayers (when the music stops, kneel down and say a quick one)
      Pass the Collection Plate

      I MISS YOU SISTAH

      Please write more blog for me…

      Reply
  6. Distracted Mom

    I have a friend with chronic fatigue syndrome. She occasionally has to go on yeast and sugar elimination diets for a few weeks to get her body back on track. She’s then able to add things back in once her system has been readjusted. Her chiropractor is actually the one who figured out that the yeast in her gut was causing her problems.

    Reply
    1. katelikestocreate Post author

      I like the idea of ‘a few weeks’. This diet is killing me! Thanks so much for your comment. I’ll be having a little giveaway in the next few days (blog birthday!), so make sure you put your name in the draw!

      Reply
  7. Pingback: Fun Run Fail. | Laptop on the Ironing Board

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