Do you struggle with excess weight, fatigue, depression or mental ‘fogginess’, pain, or food cravings? Have you tried diets, cleanses, exercise regimens, and calorie counting, only to return to being overweight or simply carrying a few stubborn, extra pounds? Do you spend hours working out and still not lose weight? If you are carrying excess weight, you are likely dealing with chronic inflammation. And chances are, hidden sugar consumption is driving your inflammation.
Losing weight it is not as simple as monitoring calories in/calories out; there is a chemical issue taking place. We are all a living, breathing, complex, chemical experiment. The types of food we consume, our environments, the thoughts we think, and our activities work together to form the cellular and hormonal structure of the bodies we live in.
Everyone knows the saying, “You are what you eat.” But it is equally true that “We eat what we are.” Let that sink in. We will crave the things that have composed our bodies on a cellular level over years. If you have stubborn excess weight, there are deeper chemical issues, rooted in your endocrine system, that are driving your food cravings and energy levels. In essence, you will need to restructure your body on a cellular level from the inside to change your outside.
Let’s start with inflammation, its manifestations, and its root causes. The #1 cause of inflammation is chronic stress. The #2 cause is sugar consumption. According to an article by Forbes magazine, americans consume on average three pounds of sugar per week. Most of this sugar comes from soft drinks or is hidden in foods, as sugar is an additive in almost every prepared food in the U.S. The calories in sugar have no nutritional value, yet are more addictive than cocaine.
Yes, that’s right, folks. According to a study conducted by Dr. Nicole Avena of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, brain scans show that sugar is eight times as addictive as cocaine. Even if you are not gorging on Oreos and ice cream and drinking a jumbo soda, sugar is lurking everywhere in our foods: Pizza, sushi, sauces, prepared meats, cereals, chips, coffee creamers, coffee drinks, sports drinks, almond/soy milk, energy bars…sugar is everywhere. And this sugar, along with making you crave more and more and more food, is stoking a raging fire in your body that is keeping you overweight and possibly sick and in pain: inflammation.
What is inflammation, what does sugar have to do with it, and how do you reverse it?
Inflammation is the body’s natural immune response to injury or stress- whether a cut, an internal illness, lack of sleep, or emotional distress. There are two types of inflammation: acute and chronic. Acute inflammation is a good thing when it comes to fighting infection on a scraped knee or healing from surgery. However, chronic inflammation, like slow-burning coals, keeps our bodies in a constant chemical state of injury-response from prolonged exposure to stress and poor diet. Chronic inflammation is at the root of almost every major disease:
- Heart disease
- Auto-immune diseases
- Joint pain & arthritis
So how does inflammation cause you to gain weight and hold onto fat? We now know that fat is not inert; it is an active part of our body’s endocrine system. Inflammation actually begins in our active fat cells, which secrete hormones and inflammatory cytokines. Elevated levels of cytokines cause both insulin resistance (diabetes, hypoglycemia) and leptin resistance (inability to tell when you are really full). It is a vicious cycle: excess fat causes inflammation, and inflammation causes excess fat. Get me out.
Putting out the fire of inflammation involves eliminating the fire’s fuel. Getting rest, exercising, relieving stress, and being outdoors in the sunshine (vitamin D helps fight inflammation) are all beneficial. However, if stress is the wood on the inflammation fire, sugar is gasoline.
Have you ever tried to go three days without ANY sugar? None- no sauces, creamers, sports drinks- nada. If you have, you probably got a massive headache, had to take naps, felt irritable, and possibly even became depressed. Most of us in the Western world are addicted to sugar and don’t even know it, as it is concealed in almost every food we eat. But by making the difficult, conscious choice to remove sugar from your diet, you are opening a door for your body to finally heal and to get to your body’s best weight.
In addition to removing sugar, most people will benefit from a gluten-free diet. Even if you do not have a gluten sensitivity (or gluten allergy or Celiac’s disease), removing gluten for a time will help calm the inflammation process.
Saltwater Chef has a 9-Day Sugar Cleanse protocol that can help break through the cycle of sugar cravings and addiction, and calm the inflammation that is keeping you overweight and in pain. By eliminating sugar and replacing processed, sugary foods with healthy meats, nuts, seed, monounsaturated fats, eggs, clean produce, and bone broths, the entire chemical structure of your body will change over time.
- You will crave different foods.
- You will feel more vital, alive, energetic.
- Your sex life will improve.
- Your hormones will regulate.
- Your athletic performance will improve.
- You will sleep better.
- Depression will improve, and in some cases, disappear.
- Your skin, hair, nails, and body will look better.
- And your will lose the weight that has stubbornly stayed around. Your best body will emerge, and you will love it.
As the holidays approach, click here for a link to the Saltwater Chef 9 Day Sugar Cleanse to get you moving in a new direction. I will be posting sugar-free desserts and recipes you can try along the way. I promise, it is worth the effort. Your health is the reward.