It happened every year, after an exhausting 24 hour car ride (driven in the middle of the night so the kids could sleep) we would arrive at grandma’s house and eat dozens upon dozens of sugary Christmas cookies. It was my grandma’s sugar cookie recipe and it was a Christmas tradition. We would eat them the whole time we were there. Inevitably, someone in the house would get sick and then it would spread through the grandkids and adults. Sickens during the holidays became a tradition too.We just thought it was because we were all in close proximity to each other and spreading germs. Those cookies were so addictive that we couldn’t stop eating them. My husband told me that one night he was tired and sleepy and not hungry but he still dragged himself to the kitchen and had another sugar cookie. These cookies were covered in sprinkles and they would fall off, so he ate them over the trash can as to not get them on the carpet. Good lord, it was crazy.
Fast forward many years, and I now know why we got sick.
As humans, we naturally crave a sweet taste. It is an essential part of balancing the other tastes found in nature such as salty, bitter, and sour flavors. But it felt like we were crazy addicts at Christmas time. So, what happens when we consume a lot of sugar? First and foremost, our bacteria shifts dramatically and makes more sugar-loving microbes that make us crave sugar like crazy. This, along with the key player in the reward system of our brain, set us up for control problems. That feeling of pleasure we get from food and other substances is made by dopamine. Dopamine receptors are all over our brain, and indulging in any addictive substance, such as sugar, brings on a deluge of dopamine.
Guess what happens when we eat a lot of sugar?
Yep, those levels also surge and then we need more to stay satisfied. Neurotransmitters – namely epinephrine, norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine – have been shown to play a major role in controlling and maintaining homeostasis within the gut system in terms of nutrient absorption, blood flow, gut microbiome, local immune system, and overall gut motility and cravings. Hang on — I’m not saying you have to give it all up, but I’m going to tell you what to do to help yourself and bring the balance back. But first, let me tell you what goes on inside of your body.
There is a fact that you may not know about your body’s immune system:
EATING ANY KIND OF SUGAR HAS THE POTENTIAL TO REDUCE YOUR BODY’S DEFENSES BY 75% OR MORE FOR FOUR TO SIX HOURS.
This is the reason my family always got sick at Christmas. We had way too much sugar during the holidays and it lowered our immune system’s ability to keep us well. Let’s talk about this in regards to vitamin C. In the 1970’s, Dr. Linus Pauling (one of the greatest researchers in the field of microbiology) discovered that vitamin C helps the body combat the common cold. But what he also found was how sugar can do the opposite.
So it’s not a great idea, and especially if you’re sick, to eat any kind of sugar, because the white blood cells can’t get past the sugar to do their job. So this is why we all got sick every Christmas. Our bodies lost their superpower strength to keep us healthy because we were eating so much sugar and crashing our immune system again and again.
Want to avoid getting sick? In addition to washing your hands frequently and staying warm (mom was right … bring a sweater; viruses thrive in cold weather) perhaps the best way to prevent illness is to avoid eating excess sugar. Sugar weakens the immune system.
There are certain times of the year when you need to strengthen your inner micro-biome and the holidays is one of those times.
Look at these great holiday inspired ferments:
Kefir is my number one thing I consume every day. It sets my day off right. It balances hormones and blood sugar and, goodness, I don’t know what I would do without it. There are fifty bacteria in kefir. It will be a mighty force in your life and slowly change this whole world inside of you.
You just make a jar of Easy Kefir, which only takes 24 hours to make. Then when it’s done, add a few spoonfuls of this to small jars and fill them with milk. Let this ferment for 24 hours or until it’s thick and creamy, and then place in the fridge. You can even make chocolate milk kefir and boy, is it yummy. It’s such an easy way to make kefir and since it’s made from actual kefir grains, you get all the benefits of kefir without worrying about straining out the grains. Kefir is so nutrient dense that it will give your gut and brain what it needs and calm your body down while strengthening your immune system too!
Have it every day and just watch how you’ll change and sail through cold and flu season.
Kombucha is a powerful detoxifier and will stop those craving for sugar quite effectively. Sugar is hard on your liver and kombucha will help support liver function. Kombucha will also supply you with a very powerful probiotic yeast that fights Candida and keeps not only the good bacteria in your body healthy, but the good yeasts too! When I have overwhelming cravings for food I know won’t be good for me, I always drink a kombucha first; and then if I still want it, I can have it but I never do. Kombucha works and it’s super delicious too.
Candy Cane Kombucha
and let the microbes eat the sugar out of the tea. Then you’ll receive a holiday treat with tons of Christmas flavor and lots of bubbliness too!
And what about an interesting twist on Keifer water – gingerbread style featuring blackstrap molasses, ginger and spices.!
Christmas Kefir Soda
Christmas flavored kefir soda that’s super bubbly. The fruit adds extra food for the culture, which gives you extra probiotics too. This bottle can be used as a starter for many more bottles. Donna shares her recipes, and how to’s on her site Click Here
These recipes and so many more are available at CulturedFoodLife.Com
Colds and flu aren’t the only reason not to eat sugar. Look through this list of other-sugar-related-ailments. If you are suffering from any of these, think about how much sugar you are ingesting. Here’s another article on a blood sugar stabilizing diet, it’s similar to the Mediterranean-type diet. This is a very simple and delicious way to cut back on the sugar.