I’ve been a sugar junkie since way back. I love almost anything sweet, especially dark chocolate and any flavor of ice cream.
When I was younger and had a bad day at work, I’d find a cheap, sweet treat and that made me feel better. But I started to notice that I’d get sluggish and tired after I ate something sweet. When I tried to cut sugar out of my life, I got headaches and felt moody, which made the cravings worse. So I visited a functional medicine doctor who had left her practice to investigate her own health and learn about which foods triggered feelings of weakness, brain fog, fatigue, or frustration.
The whole process was fascinating. They drew what seemed like a gallon of blood and analyzed my sensitivities. But there was so much information, it was hard to keep it all in my head and turn it into useful guidelines. So I’ve boiled down what I’ve learned to a few things.
When I gain weight, I feel worse (which was a problem during the COVID-19 pandemic). I’ve cut out sugar, gluten, and dairy, and vastly reduced caffeine and alcohol. Sometimes I fall off the wagon, which definitely makes me feel worse — not immediately, but a day or two after. But I don’t beat myself up about it. I think guilt and regret can be almost as damaging to my health.
Frankly, my fall-off-the-wagon moments give me less pleasure because the food tastes a little less yummy and satisfying. I feel better when I follow my plan — proud of myself and less burdened by bloat and heaviness. And hopefully, one day, I won’t look for ice cream when I’m having a down moment.
MyMSTeam columnists discuss multiple sclerosis from a specific point of view. Columnists' articles don’t reflect the opinions of MyMSTeam staff, medical experts, partners, advertisers, or sponsors. MyMSTeam content isn't intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.