Last Friday, I had an appointment with a new doctor. After decades of seeing a traditional primary care physician, a friend suggested I give a naturopath a try. She recommended one from her own doctor’s practice and I looked him up. Once I learned he was covered by my husband’s insurance, I made an appointment.
I’m so glad I did.
Our first appointment was last Friday and lasted 90 minutes. 90 minutes!!! As much as I love my previous doctor, I was lucky to get ten minutes with him because he was so booked. During our 90 minute appointment, the doctor asked about everything that’s been going on, health-wise. After listening and taking notes, he suggested the first thing we focus on is my constant pain and turned to diet.
He advised me to cut out sugar altogether and cut way back on carbs and drew up an eating plan that’s heavy on protein and fat while being very low on carbs. The only sugar allowed would be naturally occurring sugars in the handful of fruits and veggies included in the eating plan. The doctor cautioned that quitting sugar “cold turkey” would be difficult. He was not wrong. I’d read news reports quoting a study that suggests sugar addiction is as serious as cocaine addiction. Well, I told myself, I’m ready for this. I kicked a bad cocaine habit cold turkey thirty years ago. I can do this.
I’m on Day 8 of my eating plan and I’m miserable. I’ve gone a week without sugar, but also without the bagels, pasta, and rice I’ve included in nearly every meal I’ve enjoyed since I started eating solid foods. I’m tired of forcing myself to eat foods high in protein and fat. I’m tired of monitoring my carb intake. I want a burger and fries, with a side of spaghetti and meatballs, followed by an entire tiramisu topped with vanilla ice cream.
I won’t do it, though.
I’m on Day 8 of my eating plan and found I can walk at a reasonable pace without feeling as though every joint is made of broken glass, held together by burning hot wires. I still ache, but my pain level has dropped from 15 to about 7. My knee pain is manageable because it’s the usual arthritis pain. Same with my lower back and shoulders. I’m sleeping a little better at night. I feel almost human again. I’ve also lost six pounds.
My doctor told me I can have one “treat day” a week, where I can enjoy a little sugary concoction of some sort. But I know I cannot. If I need to quit sugar, I need to quit it 100%. I learned this lesson 30 years ago when I tried to quit cocaine. As I did back then, I’ll take it one day at a time, and on some days, one minute at a time. Sugar needs to be like cocaine to me, and cocaine nearly ruined my life.
I’ll learn to love stevia and cauliflower rice. And when I’m ready for a “treat day” that won’t derail my efforts, I’ll use it enjoy a slice of really good pizza.
P.S. If you’ve got some good high-protein, low-carb foods or recipes you like, please share your recipes in the comments.