Welcome back, voyagers! It's been several months and I have traversed several sugar holidays, and am sad to report that I was firmly and truly off the wagon. Sigh. Sugar is an incredibly powerful force.
I have new discoveries to report, however. About 6 weeks back, I suffered a major IBS attack like I have not experienced in a long, long time. It was painful, embarrassing, and noisy to say the least. My companions were very understanding but nevertheless, it is not something I care to repeat. I believe I know what set me off- popcorn with nutritional yeast! Yes, the hippie superfood. I did some looking later and discovered that it is actually not good for you, not digestible, and not what the body wants.
It was suggested to me that I start to eat fermented foods. I wrinkled my nose in distaste, automatically thinking of dirty socks kimchi, of the nasty relish on hot dogs (that I had mistaken for sauerkraut), and other such yucky treats. Well, was I in for a surprise!
I wasn't going to let my palate get in the way of healing. The very next day I went out and bought two very important books:
Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon, and
Wild Fermentation by Sandor Katz.
They are stuffed with information about healing, nutrition, about the bogus diets and bogus FDA and food pyramid that are making people so sick. It jives with the paleo principles I've been following (despite the fact that I still sneak in chocolate- I am a bad monkey). There is information about restoring the gut flora and the benefits of that- regulating mood, cravings, digestive issues, malnourishment and so on. They are huge proponents for animal proteins- but not just any! Animal proteins acquired from animals living in the most natural way possible (aka grass fed cattle, chickens eating bugs and grass) and from small farms. I am learning more and more.
So, I did it. I made some sauerkraut. I thought I'd hate it. It's a tough sell, I tell you, at first whiff. Collective wisdom I've read says if you can get past that first whiff, you can fall madly in love with the stuff. They were right. I made garlic kraut, thinking it would make anything taste ok- and I LOVE IT.
I've been drinking kefir every single day (from grains acquired from a friend, I make my own); yogurt I make myself (way cheaper); garlic kraut; fermented ginger carrots; and- drumroll, please- sourdough bread! I made my own starter and have made some bread and wow, it is amazing! I am totally thrilled. Life is opening up.
My sugar cravings are not gone, but are definitely less pressing. I am trying to stick to honey when I crave it- raw, unprocessed cream honey. Or to the maple syrup we made this year. From sap! From trees! Amazing! To keep myself focused on healthy food I have occupied my kitchen with little projects- kefir, kraut, violet infused honey, mead, dandelion vinegar, dandelion wine. I am paying attention to the season, started a garden with my own cabbage for kraut, kale and broccoli too.
Of course I am adjusting my ice cream recipe once again, moving towards full fat milk and cream; even experimenting with raw milk from a local farm. Using eggs from a local farm (critical, people- stay away from factory eggs! Poison!), and local maple syrup or honey. Or even dates. Life is better with whole foods.
I will be the first to admit that kicking sugar is a total bear. It's next to impossible. Our health is getting worse, though, and we need to pay attention. Consume less, consume less sugar. I also have read sugar's dirty history, sugar slavery (which is still alive and well!) and am less than impressed. I need to make the choice- do I want that sugar on my lips, on my conscience? Or support local agriculture? It all helps.