Growing up I was always sick and had a severe addiction. The kind of addiction that no one talked about, worried about or even knew about. I had an addiction to sugar. Sugar doesn’t seem that bad you may think, but looking back over my entire health history it is clear that I was one of the many kids who suffered for no reason. From unnecessary illnesses, non-stop anxiety and many unexplainable symptoms I specifically remember feeling helpless and it was all due to inflammation. I always wondered why most kids were never as sick as I was. The vicious cycle of going to the doctor and constantly getting prescriptions (some packed with added sugar) for benign issues made me feel like I was an anomaly of a kid. This led to severe depression I battled for years. The crippling pain of not understanding why I was feeling as nervous, anxious, sad or even immobile at times was so much to take while all I wanted was just to fit in and have fun. One of the main issues I struggled with with my non-stop, highly inflamed acne. I struggled for 11 years with what felt like my “normal” skin and once I was able to dive into my health and really dig for some answers I was shocked at how simple the fix really was.
The main culprit for all of the different skin conditions I treat is inflammation. Whether it be acne, rosacea or hyperpigmentation the main issue comes from an inflamed response within. Maybe people don’t understand why my original consult starts with a detailed description of your food and supplement intake. I truly believe that the food you eat can be the safest and most powerful medicine in the world or the slowest form of poison.
Basically every type of sugar has both glucose and fructose molecules which split apart in your small intestine. Once they reach the liver the glucose turns into energy unless we have too much and don’t exercise which will then become stored fat. The fructose can also become excess fat once your liver tries to process too much and this can lead to insulin resistance. Insulin resistance completely tampers with your metabolism. This all leads to unfortunately common issues:
- The heart will start to created an inflamed lining of arteries, causing higher risk of attack or stroke.
- Kidneys will have incredibly hard time trying to breakdown toxins and backups your body’s detox process.
- Sugar slows down blood flow which may exacerbate joint pain or even libido. (bummer!)
What really trips me out and what I have personally struggled with myself is what sugar does to my brain and skin. The brain becomes addicted to high levels of processed sugars (similarly to how alcohol and cocaine addictions form) and have a 58% chance of leading to depression. Sugar to the skin leads to advanced glycation which is when sugar binds to your amino acids. This can cause premature aging and wrinkles. I always find a low level of pink or red undertones in the skin that indicated a sensitized state. Once your skin starts to show this type of inflammation the key factor is to cool yourself off and work towards an alkaline diet. No heat, excess sun or processed foods should be in your life at this point.
Here is some simple insight as to how to navigate the inflammation on your skin with a few easy steps:
- Start reading your labels. If you haven’t started doing this yet you will be surprised to find that sugar is in everything. Keep all your foods to low levels of sugar or zero sugar. Note that there are many different names for sugar so look at the ingredients and also the total gram amount.
- Know the difference between natural sugars and processed sugars. Honey, maple syrup, and all fruits are natural sugars which are much easier for our bodies to break down and use as energy. It’s all still so delicious as well!
- Have your sugar in the morning time with some fiber. The fiber will help the break down your foods so you can assist your natural metabolism. Fiber rich foods will have more likelihood of helping you stay full with an abundance of energy because they have more antioxidants and vitamins. Raw nuts, raw or dried fruits, beans, veggies and some healthy grains are great options.
- Exercise! If you’re like me this word can sometimes make you cringe but it is absolutely necessary for so many reasons. The key is finding the type of exercise that you actually want to do. My favorite go-to app when wanting to fit in a last minute sweat sesh is Fitspot. I get to pick anything from yoga to pilates, boxing to strength training, and my absolute favorite they offer stretch sessions when you’re feeling sore but still want some movement. There really is no excuse once you see how affordable and easy they make it for you. On demand trainers at your door or local gym, yes please! Use the code "TSC" at checkout for your next session and half of the proceeds will be donated to the WomenforWomen organization and ClimateResolve.
Over the last few years I have cut sugar out of my diet multiple times. I have detoxed it out of my system enough that I get an immediate response when it creeps back in and I can keep it under control. I feel like I finally have control of my life in a way. The key is definitely to be kind to yourself in moments where you may not have chosen the most nutritious option for you. Get to know your body and what works best for you. If you need a program to help reset your system I love the Clean Program as it will not only give you the support and guidelines you need for a reset but it is so impactful to your long term health.