I’m going on a diet.  Now, before you try to punch me through your screen, it is not for the purposes of weight loss.  My motivation to change what and how I eat, is mostly due to the persistent psoriasis in my scalp, which happens to be an auto immune condition – something that the ‘I Quit Sugar’ diet claims to assist.

The other week, as I was scrolling through Instagram, I noticed Sarah Wilson, the book’s author, was staying nearby at Byron Bay, as she was speaking that night (only about five minutes from my house), about her health philosophy.  I jumped at the chance to hear all about it, as it is something that I’ve been meaning to read about and try.  Being a typical mother, though, I put my health and wellbeing at the bottom of a very long list of other priorities and responsibilities.  Lately, however, I have started to notice a few of my health ‘set backs’ getting worse and affecting my ability to function with ease and comfort – low energy levels, poor digestion, skin concerns, brain fog, and that bloody stubborn psoriasis – so I’ve decided to do something about it.

Sarah spoke about gut health and how it impacts the body, the brain and our hormones.  The room was filled mostly with those suffering from auto immune diseases and disorders.  Now, I’m not saying that my psoriasis is as bad as diabetes or multiple sclerosis, but if I can clear just a bit of it by changing my diet, then I’ll give it go.  Short of getting pregnant or shaving my head again, it seems like the simplest option.  My ears also pricked up when she discussed the effect that poor gut health can have on anxiety, another shitty thing I would be happy to live without.  I already know that my food choices impact my mental health and emotional state – I have been getting ‘hangry’ for many years, and I always seem to feel emptiness in my head before I feel it in my stomach.  My body feels depleted, because either my bad guts aren’t properly absorbing the nutrients from my food or I burn it all up too quickly.  I then start to feel stressed and anxious,  followed by flare ups of hives and psoriasis, which fuel even more stress and upset digestion – and so the cycle continues.  Something has to change, and it has to start with what I’m putting in my mouth, because I know it works.

Almost twenty years ago, I removed sugar from my diet completely.  After being on long term antibiotics for my acne, my gut flora was all out of whack and my digestive system was a mess.  I was diagnosed as having Candida Albicans – a yeast infection – in my gut (fortunately not in my lady parts, though I have experienced that absolute bastard a few times in my life).  So I was put on a strict diet – no sugar, no yeast, no fermented products, no moulds.  It was boring as bat shit, but the resulting health and beauty improvements were dramatic and it’s probably the best I’ve felt (and looked) in my life.  I have tried modified versions of the diet over the years, with varying degrees of commitment and success, as there is always the tendency with ‘sugar free’ to eat plastic foods made from artificial sweeteners, or to just have hot chips or movie popcorn for every meal.  The ‘nutrition’ part was completely lost on me until I became passionate about healing myself with food and preparing my body to make babies.

Though not completely sugar free while getting ready for conception, I wasn’t filling my body with pretend food either.  My chocolate was always the darkest I could get and eaten in moderation, and ‘superfoods’ featured in every meal.  I had even begun studying nutrition, before finding out I was having twins – because, f*ck that for busy.  While trying to conceive, I tried a gluten free diet at the suggestion of my doctor.  As a result, my blood tests showed a significant drop in my inflammation levels, but my guts were royally messed up and I was doing the most uncomfortable and unsatisfying shits ever – I needed gluten.  Once I fell pregnant, that was it, I shoved my face into the nearest cheesymite scroll, and my poos returned to normal.  My pregnancy diet was all over the place – I was filled with the best organic intentions, but severe all day morning sickness for three months, kind of pissed all over that idea.  I did what I could, however, and produced two healthy baby girls.  What was interesting during that time, was the disappearance of my psoriasis due to a weakened immune system during pregnancy, and its subsequent triumphant and unwelcome return post birth, when my immunity kicked into overdrive, my diet took an unhealthy turn, and my stress levels rose.  Sure, I hardly ever get sick, but having a constantly itchy and crusty scalp is just as bad as getting the occasional head cold.  At least the latter gives me an excuse to spend a bit of extra time in bed.

My daughters are my life, and their happiness and wellbeing is at the absolute top of my list.  I have neglected my own health as a result, but now feel that things need to change.  It’s still all about them of course, because if I’m going to be the best mum I can be, then I should be at my optimum health both physically and mentally.  And if being at my optimum health means that I have clear skin, comfortable insides and a sharper mind, then bring that shit on.  Oh, and if that itchy psoriasis could just piss off for good, then that would be awesome too.

This is just an overview of my health status and an insight into how nutrition has impacted my life over the years.  It’s a bit all over the place, but like many of these posts, I could have written a whole book.  Instead, I hope you guys are OK with me sharing my sugar free journey in future articles, because I’m going to be telling you all about it.  I just have to find some time to read the bloody book.