Home business, home education and health challenges: what makes us tic?

Posts tagged ‘sugar’

Sugar and Spice

I love spicy food. I really do – hot curries, flavourful puddings, the more taste it has, the better. My sister accuses me of being an “auto-condimentiser”, because I almost always automatically add salt to my meal before I’ve even taken a bite.

Colossians 4:6

“Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.”

In our highly processed, instant world, the word “seasoned” often conjures images in our minds of MSG-laden foods, or bright red concoctions that’ll have our kids bouncing off the walls in twenty minutes flat!

But seasonings can be a good thing. In fact, studies show that capsaicin, the active ingredients in chillis, can be very beneficial for asthma sufferers. It also helps with migraines and certain types of headaches. Ginger is known to relieve nausea and indigestion. It is also useful for blocked sinuses, assists in the absorption of nutrients, and has healing properties. Cinnamon reduces cholesterol and blood sugar levels over time, and reminds us of the holidays!

And then there’s salt. No kitchen is without salt, and it has many essential functions.

Functions of salt:

  • Add flavour
  • Preserve
  • Clean and disinfect
  • Dry

Bland food is magically transformed into gourmet cuisine with a sprinkle of salt. It adds flavour to any dish – even chocolate! More importantly, it enhances the flavour already there. A little salt brings out the best in each element of a meal. Even sweet foods get a touch of pizzazz with a pinch of salt.

Do you like biltong? In our house, it’s practically a staple food, and by far the number one reason so few South Africans choose to be vegetarians. What makes biltong awesome? Salt. Salt preserves food, making it last for longer, while still being safe for human consumption. In ancient times, before the invention of useful devices like refrigerators, salt was a valuable commodity in keeping food fresh and healthy.

Salt cleans. It disinfects. If you’ve ever had toothache, a mouth ulcer, or a sore throat, a teaspoon or two of salt in a little lukewarm water is the perfect gargle to sort it out – and so economical, too!

In fact, salt was so valuable that part of a Roman soldier’s annual salary was paid in salt.

Short(ish) history

In high school, ongoing cramps, skin break outs and head aches caused my parents to cut wheat and dairy out of my diet. My mom had been diagnosed with these allergies, so it seemed a good candidate. Towards the end of high school my doctor prescribed the Pill for my irregular periods and bad skin. I’d been on antibiotics many times in my life for colds, ‘flu, tummy bugs and more. I was also put on Prozac for depression. Once I cut out wheat and dairy, my cramps and headaches improved, and so did my moods (although at that time I didn’t connect the mood swings with my diet). For many years I lived only on salad and fruit, and I felt fantastic. My school marks improved, and I had energy.

I lost a lot of weight, which wasn’t really a good thing, but it was a natural side effect of my strict diet. And nothing cured my chocoholism!

When I met my future husband in 1995, things changed. He loved pizza,  pies, pasta, coke and coffee. We shared red wine and Italian dinners and a lot of fun. I was young and in love, and felt as if things couldn’t be better.

Gradually, my brain grew foggier and foggier. My waist line expanded, and my face got puffy. I started feeling tired and lethargic. Slowly, I noticed that I was feeling less motivated and more “down in the dumps”. With a personal and family history of mild depression, I didn’t think much of it. I kept fuelling my lifestyle with coffee and chocolate and, having decided that I’d never been truly allergic since I’d never been properly diagnosed, I was merrily consuming every pastry, pasta, bread and cheese known to man.

By the end of 2000 I was regularly bedridden with killer migraines. My lower abdomen looked permanently 6 months pregnant. My husband and I tried to fall pregnant. Coming off the pill had only two effects: irregular periods and severe pain in my lower abdomen. Eventually it was so bad I could hardly walk.

A trip to the doctor led to minor surgery to deal with a lesion on my uterus, the result of either endometriosis, polycystic ovaries, or something else. We were told we’d never fall pregnant, so we stopped trying. Needless to say, a year later we had a gorgeous, completely healthy little girl.

I was exhausted. I could hardly get out of bed, and felt a constant need to sleep. My baby had been sleeping for up to 12 hours a night from a very early age, yet I felt as if I’d been hit by a truck. That’s when I went to a nutritional specialist. She “officially” diagnosed lactose and gluten allergies and advised that I avoid all sugar.

I heard and obeyed. Within two weeks, I had energy, I was upbeat, I could think, and things looked better than ever. Since then, we’ve had another child, and I’ve stayed pretty much gluten-free. However, I remain firmly addicted to chocolate, I battle with migraines, and my skin isn’t very good. So I’ve decided to do something about it, and this is where I’m keeping track of it.

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