Category: Nutrition

What is sciatica?

Sciatica is characterized by sharp, intense pain that runs the entire length of the backside of the leg. This can occur when certain nerves become pinched in the lower part of the spine running along the sciatica nerve, which is the longest single nerve in the human body.

Symptoms:

  • Strong, shooting pains in the limbs and lower back -Numbness and tingling in the lower extremities -Difficulty moving and exercising
  • Feeling stiff and unable to properly move feet -Pain when sleeping
  • Throbbing around the thighs, glutes, and low back when sitting or standing for long periods of times

Non-Surgery Solutions:

  1.  Since chiropractic care is the direct interaction with the nervous system, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that chiropractic adjustments can greatly improve sciatica! In fact, a 2010 study in the Journal of Manipulative Physiological Therapies found that 60% of patients benefited from chiropractic adjustments AFTER having received failed medical interventions.
  2. Exercises to strengthen the low back AND the core are very important as well to treating sciatica. Try exercises such as forward fold, cat-cow, and plank. A standard yoga class will incorporate these moves – along with much more – so it is well worth giving yoga a try!
  3. Don’t sit for long periods of time. Movement equals life when it comes to your health! Unfortunately, most of us have sedentary jobs that require us to sit for extended periods of time. Try getting a standing desk or utilize a wobble cushion to keep your spine moving throughout the day. After all, 90% of the stimulation that goes to your brain is controlled by the spine directly.
  4. Lastly, eat a healing and non-inflammatory diet. This may not seem as obvious at first, but chronic and systemic inflammation lead to many underlying pains and diseases. A healing diet consists of things like healthy fats (think coconut oil, olive oil, and ghee!), high quality meats such as grass-fed beef and organic, free range poultry, and finally, reduce grains and sugars as much as possible from the diet. Turmeric is another fun spice to add into the mix due to its anti-inflammatory properties!

What is acid reflux?

Do you know that it is estimated that 25 to 40 percent of Americans suffer from acid reflux? By definition, acid reflux is dysfunction of the lower esophageal sphincter. If this sphincter doesn’t close all the way after food has passed through, acid from the stomach will creep up the digestive tract and cause a skew of symptoms. Symptoms include: heartburn, bitter taste in mouth, bad breath, dry mouth, gum irritations, black stools, bloody vomiting, regurgitation of acidic food, pain in the abdomen, and belching, flatulence, and nausea.

Conventional Solutions – The Risks:

Over the counter medications such as antacids (TUMS) and H2 Blockers (Pepcid), might treat a symptom in the short-term, but are very detrimental to your health. For starters, these medications are designed to block the body’s natural production of HCl. Therefore, the body is no longer able to produce pepsin, which is the body’s digestive enzyme responsible for breaking down proteins. This can cause further abdominal pain and increases your risk of infections from bacteria that would normally be killed by a healthy pH in the stomach.

Natural Solutions:

1) Apple cider vinegar

This home remedy is so simple it is definitely worth a try if you suffer from acid reflux. Apple cider vinegar works by balancing your stomach’s pH and therefore normalizing stomach acid. Try 2 tablespoons with 8 ounces of water before meals.

2) Eat green, leafy vegetables

The benefits of leafy greens are endless! Cruciferous vegetables are amazing at balancing the pH in your stomach and alkalizing your whole body. The precursor to your body’s strongest antioxidant, glutathione, comes directly from these greens. Load up with vegetables like broccoli, kale and spinach – or try others to find your new favorite!

3) Fermented foods/drinks

Probiotic foods can help nourish the healthy bacteria in our digestive tract. Research has shown that these fer- mented foods can protect the stomach lining and even prevent regurgitation. Try out foods like kombucha, kefir, and sauerkraut. Better, yet – experiment making your own fermented foods!

4) Get adjusted

Stress from sitting all day, car accidents, sports injuries, or other traumas can lead to compression of the spine, specifically in the mid back region where nerves lead directly to the stomach. Moreover, an issue in the upper part of your neck can put pressure on your vagus nerve. This nerve controls the parasympathetic system and tells your body to relax and digest food. What ends up happening is your body is put into a chronic stress response (sympathetic overload), and in turn your body is not able to function and heal like it is designed to. It is is clear to see why a healthy, functioning spine is essential for not only acid reflux, but also overall health!

 

Oh my Migraines

MY OH MY! MIGRAINES!

What is your migraine trying to tell you? If you suffer from migraines, it is crucial to ask yourself: “What is causing my migraines?” Instead of: “How can I treat my migraines?” Functional medicine is medicine by CAUSE, not medicine by symptom. So what are some common underlying causes of migraines?

Causes:
1) Food sensitivities

2) Hormone imbalances

3) Magensium
deficiency

4) Posture and
subluxation

The good news is there are simple steps you can take to treat underlying causes
of migraines!

Solutions:

1) Elimination diet

By removing common food allergens, you can test which foods might be causing your migraines. These foods include eggs, dairy, gluten, and peanuts.
Be sure to reintroduce each food slowly.

2) Balance your hormones

Some migraines can be caused by too much estrogen and not enough progesterone. That is why some women get premenstrual migraines! Some things you can do to restore this balance naturally are eliminating caffeine and alcohol, reducing sugar and intake of flour/starches, eating a diet rich with plant based foods, getting quality of sleep, and reducing stress. Also, reduce or eliminate pharmaceutical medications with high levels of estrogen if possible.

Furthermore, hormone imbalances can be caused by a B vitamin
deficiency. Try adding 400 mg of vitamin B2 or riboflavin daily.
Finally, sleep cycles can cause hormone imbalances so a melatonin supplement has been shown to be effective at reducing migraines.

3) Restore magnesium deficiency

Magnesium is known as the relaxation mineral and so deficiency
can cause elevated levels of stress and in return, migraines. Try
adding 300-600 mg of magnesium 2x per day into your routine.

4) Make chiropractic care a part of your wellness routine

Unfortunately, many people have sedentary jobs requiring them
to sit for the majority of their day. This can lead to poor posture
and tense muscles, specifically around the neck region. In a
randomized control trial by the Journal of Manipulative and
Physiological Therapeutics, a 90% reduction in migraines was
found after only 16 treatments.

Article written by Lauren Oljar with Queen City Health Center

The USDA recommends that we take in 240-420 mg of magnesium each day. The actual number depends on age, but sadly, most of us fall short of the minimum amount on a regular basis. Without sufficient magnesium, our bodies may be unable to absorb other essential nutrients such as calcium, and we suffer from a variety of symptoms, including:

  • Muscle cramps
  • Constipation
  • Calcium deficiency
  • Poor heart health
  • Poor memory
  • Insomnia
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Type II Diabetes
  • Osteoporosis
  • Migraines

The list goes on… Magnesium is an essential mineral. Without it, our bodies are not able to operate at optimal levels, as we fail to absorb other nutrients essential to our bodies’ overall function. If you suffer from any of the symptoms listed above, you may have a magnesium deficiency. Thankfully, there are some ways to safely supplement this mineral to ensure you’re taking in the right amount on a daily basis, and bring your body back into equilibrium.

How to Supplement Magnesium

  1. Take a Magnesium supplement. Sounds simple, and that’s because it is! Magnesium citrate is among the most readily absorbed forms of this nutrient, however, beware of taking too much at once. There is a certain threshold that your bowels can handle, and exceeding that threshold can lead to diarrhea and other gastrointestinal symptoms that’ll make you wish you had never taken it in the first place!
  2. Eat magnesium-rich foods. These include: seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, and sesame), spinach, black beans, squash, almonds, okra, cashews, and soybeans.
  3. Use a topical magnesium treatment. Magnesium chloride can be applied topically and absorbed into your skin, which is very porous and able to absorb just about anything it comes in contact with (another reason to limit your skin’s exposure to toxins). If you don’t want to take an oral supplement and don’t feel that your diet will suffice to solve a deficiency problem, this is a good alternative solution. Google “magnesium oil” to find a variety of topical solutions that you can use.

Chronic diseases are rampant in our society, and many of them result from a magnesium deficiency, which directly affects the gut by preventing the absorption of necessary nutrients into our bodies. If you think you might be at risk or are suffering from chronic illness, try supplementing your diet with the recommended daily amount of magnesium, and see what happens! We’re sure you’ll see a difference in your health and life.

20 Surprising Sources of Gluten

Whether you suffer from celiac disease, or you’re trying to cut down on sugar, gluten is one ingredient you should definitely avoid. You may be surprised to learn that it’s in many of the foods we eat and the personal care items we use every day. Here are 20 surprising sources of gluten to be aware of. We always recommend reading your ingredient labels before making a purchase, especially if there are ingredients (i.e. gluten) that you’re trying to stay away from.

1. Beauty products. Sadly this may include some of your favorite shampoos, conditioners, sunscreens, and makeup items such as lipstick or lip balm. Though not directly ingested through the mouth, they may easily seep into your body through your pores and still be able to cause damage. If you have a gluten allergy, you may want to replace your beauty products with ones that are certified gluten-free. Check your labels!

2. Chewing gum. Some manufacturers rub flour on the surface of the sticks to prevent them from sticking to the wrappers.

3. Sauces, condiments & dressings. This includes some prepared mustards, soy sauce (yes, it’s true!),  salad dressings, as well as frozen veggies in sauce.

4. Oats. Though technically gluten-free, some brands may be contaminated with gluten, so it’s important to be careful here. Make sure any oats you buy are certified gluten-free.

5. Pie filling & pudding. These items often contain gluten as an emulsifier or thickening agent. We recommend that you make your own from scratch (without gluten) in order to be safe. You can use plain fruit sweetened with honey or stevia. Or, if you’d like a thickening agent, arrowroot flour is a great gluten-free option!

6. Processed meats. Be extra careful with hot dogs, store-bought meatballs, and deli meats, which may (surprisingly) contain bread crumbs. It’s best to stick with local, grass-fed, organic meats that have not been processed anyway.

7. Spices. Some pre-packaged, mixed spices, may be contaminated with gluten. It’s often used to prevent caking, which is why we recommend mixing your own from whole, pure spices instead.

8. Instant coffee, hot chocolate & other powdered drink mixes. Powdered milk contains wheat, and again, manufacturers of powdered mixes often use gluten as a bulking agent. You can get gluten-free alternatives though. Check your local health food store or search online.

9. Canned soup. Try to buy organic soups in cartons or make your own with fresh vegetables and bone broth. Many canned soup brands contain gluten or wheat as a thickening agent, so it’s important to read the ingredients.

10. Licorice. Wheat flour is often used as a binding agent.

11. Caramel color. We recommend staying away from this artificial coloring agent altogether. It may contain gluten, depending on how its manufactured, but either way, it’s just not good for you.

12. Alcohols. Though the distillation process often rids this grain-based substance of gluten, not all alcohol manufacturers will utilize a thorough distillation process, resulting in some traces of gluten being left behind. You may need to check the company website to determine if their alcohol is gluten-free. Or stay away from alcohol entirely. It weakens your immune system anyway.

13. Rotisserie chicken. Seems strange for meat to contain gluten, right? However, some rotisserie chicken makers use flour or wheat in the spice rub. Double check before you purchase.

14. Sushi. As mentioned above, soy sauce often contains gluten, along with the imitation crab meat used in California rolls, as well as some prepared wasabi. Try making your own sushi at home! It’s a fun date-night activity.

15. Pickles. Not all pickle jars contain gluten. You have to check the label to be sure. If it contains malt vinegar, which comes from barley, then it’s a no-go.

16. Chocolate. Again, not all chocolate contains gluten, but it may be used as a thickening agent. We prefer pure, organic dark chocolate sweetened with stevia instead. (Lily’s is great brand!)

17. Medicines & supplements. It may be used as a binder in some medications and vitamins. You’ll be safe with Maximized Living nutritional supplements.

18. Bleu cheese. It may sound surprising, but some bleu cheeses are actually made with bread mold. Though it’s a minuscule amount and likely won’t affect you, it’s better to be safe than sorry (especially if you’re particularly sensitive.)

19. French fries. Though usually made with potatoes, oil, and salt, if they are fried in oil that’s also used to fry onion rings and other breaded foods that contain gluten, you could risk cross-contamination. Be especially careful if you order french fries at a restaurant.

20. “Wheat-free” items. Wheat-free doesn’t always mean gluten-free. In addition to wheat, gluten may also come from other grains, including rye, spelt and barley. Again, check your labels!

Embracing a gluten-free diet isn’t as hard as it sounds, especially with more and more food manufacturers coming on board to label their products “gluten-free.” Yes, it may mean you’ll have to eat out less and prepare more foods from scratch with fresh, unprocessed ingredients, but it’s worth it, because you’ll see a drastic improvement in your health as a result!

 

How to Treat Candida Naturally

Candida is a persistent overgrowth of yeast in the gut. There is a long list of symptoms associated with it, including:

Many conventional doctors don’t believe candida exists, and the ones who do will typically treat it with prescription anti-fungals, which may mask the symptoms, and even kill off the yeast for a time, but are most often not an effective long-term solution.

Why? Because—like most other conditions—candida starts in the gut. Which means, to really rid your body of it, you must target the problem at its root.

In other words, you can’t just put a bandaid on it, and expect to fully heal. In order to get rid of candida, and keep it at bay, you must commit to a lifestyle change designed to balance and maintain your healthy gut flora. This requires several actions that you can begin implementing right away. But remember: if you truly want to see a lasting difference, you should adapt these changes as a regular part of your lifestyle from here on out!

#1. Quit and/or limit your sugar intake. Candida thrives on sugar. Did you know that, if not treated properly, it can also lead to cancer. Interestingly enough, cancer cells also feed on sugar. Our chiropractors in Charlotte NC recommend quitting sugar altogether for 3 months, and then slowly introducing it back into your diet on a very limited scale. Also, avoid processed sugars and starchy foods that metabolize as sugar, including: bread, pasta, rice, grains, root vegetables, legumes, alcohol, and most fruit (excluding granny smith apples and berries.)

To keep it simple, you could implement a Maximized Living Advanced Plan. This book is full of additional info as well as great-tasting healthy recipes that are easy to make and Dr. Holly-approved! You can also receive a customized treatment plan from our chiropractors in Charlotte NC when you come into our office for a consultation.

#2. Take natural anti-fungal supplements. You can find a variety of these on Amazon.com, including Solaray Yeast Cleanse. Look for supplements that contain caprylic acid (also found in coconut oil), milk thistle, pau d’arco, and grapefruit seed extract.

#3. Take a good probiotic supplement. Look for ones that contain a high variety of probiotic strains and CFU, such as Garden of Life Raw Probiotics Ultimate Care or Hyperbiotics (also available on Amazon.com). We sell Garden of Life probiotic supplements in our office as well.

#4. Increase your Vitamin D3 intake. Maximized Living Vitamin D3 + Probiotics lets you kill two birds with one stone! You can buy it online or from our office when you come in to get adjusted by one of our chiropractors in Charlotte NC

#5. Limit dairy. With the exception of culture-rich dairy foods like yogurt and kefir, it’s best to keep your cow’s milk intake to a minimum.

#6. Take oregano oil. This highly-potent essential oil is known for its anti-fungal properties and has been very effective with many of our patients. You can buy it in supplement or liquid form. I use the doTerra brand. It’s also a very powerful immune booster!

#7. Eat a spoon full of coconut oil every day. Not only is this a powerful brain booster (and great at combatting brain fog). It’s also rich in caprylic acid, which, as we mentioned above, is a natural anti-fungal. And here’s another bonus: coconut oil is a healthy fat. When you replace bad fats with healthy fat and lower your sugar intake, your body burns more fat for energy, instead of burning sugar. Which means you lose weight!

#8. Get adjusted regularly. Receiving care from a chiropractor in Charlotte NC is good for a host of conditions—not just for pain management as many people believe. By keeping your spine in check, you’ll ensure that all of your body’s systems are working optimally, as your nervous system controls the function of all your other organs.

Be aware that as you begin to kill off the candida, your body will begin to release a large amount of toxins into your blood stream. As that happens, you’ll experience the symptoms listed above in a greater capacity. Similar to what happens when you detoxify your body, you’ll begin to feel worse before you feel better. Feeling worse is a sign that you’re killing off the yeast and what you’re doing is working! Don’t let it discourage you. Stay the course and stay strong, and you’ll eventually get rid of candida altogether.

But remember: This does not mean you can go back to your old ways! Adopt the habits above as permanent lifestyle changes to prevent candida from creeping back into your life again.

Think you might have candida overgrowth? Our chiropractors in Charlotte NC have successfully treated patients with this condition (and its symptoms) at Queen City Health Center, so we’re well-equipped to share what works! If you’re not sure, click here to request a free consultation with Dr. Holly. She’ll spend about 15 minutes on the phone with you to learn more about your symptoms, and if we believe chiropractic care could be a good solution, we’ll get you in for an office appointment and begin helping you aggressively rid your body of candida overgrowth.

Healthy Sugar Substitutes

We all have a sweet tooth from time to time (some more than others…). Believe it or not, there is a healthy version of just about every dessert you can think of. All you really need to do is substitute the bad stuff with better alternatives. And by ‘bad stuff’ I mean things like gluten and sugar.

Gluten-free flours and flour-substitutes abound and are trending in paleo-friendly sweets like brownies, cakes, and cookies. Lots of people have caught on to this trend and are taking advantage of it, due to increased gluten sensitivities. But you may not be aware of the dangers of sugar and the need to substitute that in your favorite desserts as well.

Besides the fact that it rots your teeth and makes you need to see a dentist more often, sugar is one of the most addictive substances on the planet—even more addictive than cocaine. It also happens to be in just about every processed food on grocery store shelves. Even if it’s not listed as an ingredient, some foods actually are metabolized by the body as sugar, including rice, bread, flour, pasta, as well as most fruits and starchy root vegetables like potatoes and carrots. Humans should not consume more than 25 grams of sugar per day, yet the average American consumes a lot more, thanks to our bread-heavy diet.

Sugar is one food that most people are just not willing to give up. But, if you knew the amount of healthy sweet treats you could create using viable substitutes, I’m willing to bet you’d change your mind! So that’s why I’m writing this post. Here are my top 5 favorite healthy alternatives to processed sugar that you can start using right away to modify your favorite desserts.

#1. Stevia. Stevia is an herb found in South and Central America. It’s up to forty times sweeter than regular sugar, without the calories or the blood-sugar spike. Because it has a slightly bitter aftertaste that’s similar to licorice, it’s been slow to gain popularity among sugar lovers, but I think it’s a great sugar substitute in beverages like tea and lemonade.

#2. Xylitol. This sugar alcohol occurs naturally in foods like berries, beets, and corn and is often found in toothpaste and sugar-free gum. It won’t raise your blood sugar, and lacks the bitter aftertaste of stevia. Because it tastes so similar to sugar, it’s a great substitute in baked goods like brownies, cakes, and cookies.

#3. Honey. This natural sweetener works great in just about anything! I definitely recommend it over agave nectar as a healthy sugar substitute. Though honey contains sugar, it’s a much better alternative to the processed varieties.

#4. Maple Syrup. Bye-bye Aunt Jemima with your high-fructose corn syrup! Maple syrup is one of the tastiest sweeteners and it’s great for much more than pancakes. Try putting it in your pumpkin spiced coffee. I promise you’ll be amazed at how great it tastes, and it’s much healthier than a Starbucks latte!

#5. Dates. There’s a reason why we find this delicious fruit in most raw brownie recipes. It’s a naturally-occurring food that just so happens to be a great sugar alternative! Its consistency also makes it ideal for the crumb crusts found on desserts like cheesecake and cobbler.

If you’re not sure how to substitute the above ingredients for sugar, just Google Paleo versions of your favorite desserts and see what pops up. Once you try the healthy versions, you’ll never look back!

No one can argue the health benefits of eating more greens. When you were told as a kid to “eat your vegetables,” there was a good reason for it! Leafy greens are among the healthiest foods on the planet. Full of nutrients and fiber, yet low in calories, they can be consumed in small amounts and still leave you feeling satiated. Or you can eat them by the pound if you wish—you won’t hear any objections from me!

Now for the hard part: you may detest the taste of greens. So how do you get them into your diet when you can’t stand to swallow them without gagging? Here are a few “tricks of the trade,” if you will. Some of my best-kept secrets for getting more healthy, leafy green vegetables into anyone’s diet, whether you LOVE eating kale and spinach, or you dread it like a 4-year-old who was just sent to his room with a plate of broccoli and told he couldn’t have a cookie until he finished it…

Tip #1: Drink a green smoothie for breakfast.

Before you dismiss this as a terrible idea, there are some great ways to mask the taste of kale and spinach in your breakfast smoothie. Add a banana and a splash of your favorite fresh-squeezed fruit juice, and I guarantee you won’t even be able to taste the greens. Or try a scoop chocolate protein powder with banana and almond butter. You could even do a plant-based protein, as those usually already contain greens of some sort already.

#2: Add spinach to your scrambled eggs or pancakes.

You can blend the spinach into the pancake batter (again, you won’t even be able to taste it.) Or if you don’t mind the taste, scrambled eggs with spinach sautéed in is one of my favorite morning meals.

#3: Eat green vegetables as a side with dinner.

Broccoli, kale, brussels sprouts, peas, asparagus, spinach … the options are endless. This trick is more for those crazy people who actually like green veggies. (Raises hand.)

#4: Take a “green” supplement.

Maximized Living Max Greens are chock full of green superfoods to boost your immune system and aid your body in natural detoxification. If you don’t like eating your greens, you can always drink them or take them in pill form instead! However, we do recommend trying to at least get in some real, leafy greens with at least one your meals every day. Supplements are great, but they should not be used as an excuse to skip out on your vegetables!

#5: Eat a mixed greens salad for lunch.

This, along with a good green supplement, is a great way to ensure you get enough greens into your diet. Of of my favorite recipes: raw, mixed greens topped with fresh strawberries, blueberries, crumbled goat cheese, avocado, and drizzled with olive oil and sea salt. YUM!

What are some other ways you manage to sneak more green veggies into your diet? Share your tricks with us in the comments section below!

Let’s face it: kids are picky eaters. As parents, we all want our children to eat healthy, but … #thestruggleisreal. Right? Getting them to eat their vegetables feels like pulling teeth, and preventing them from inhaling that cupcake at their cousin’s birthday party? Well, you might as well not even try. Or at least that’s what grandma and grandpa are telling you.

“Everything in moderation” is a popular saying these days, especially when it comes to food. But the problem with this saying is that everyone’s definition of “moderation” is different. What may seem moderate to you may be gluttonous to someone else. How do we define “moderation” and make it easy for our kids to consume healthy foods?

Here are 5 strategies to get your children to eat healthier that you can begin implementing at home right away.

1. Make healthier versions of common junk foods.

Substitute store-bought potato chips for homemade kale chips. Replace sugar in their favorite baked sweets with stevia or xylitol. Replace white or wheat flour with gluten-free alternatives like almond or chick-pea flour. Instead of buying ice-cream at the store, make your own dairy-free alternative at home. All you need is a frozen banana, coconut milk, berries, and a blender!

Believe it or not, there is almost always a healthy recipe out there for some of your children’s favorite junk foods. Check out this recipe for avocado chocolate mousse—a much healthier version of the chocolate pudding cups you can buy in grocery stores.

2. Sneak greens into smoothies.

You can mask the taste of kale and spinach easily in a smoothie. All you need is half a banana. You can also add in other fruits like peaches and apples, and even peanut butter. The possibilities are endless. 1-2 scoops of your favorite protein powder and you’ve got a healthy breakfast or mid-afternoon snack they’re sure to love!

3. Avoid eating out as much as possible.

All it takes is one trip to Chick Fil A, and they’re hooked. Trust me, I’ve seen it many, many times among my patients. Finding healthy alternatives to common foods is much harder when you go to a restaurant. Also, you can’t be sure that you’re getting grass-fed beef, free-range chicken, and organic fruits and veggies when you eat out. While many restaurants are incorporating more “superfoods” into their menu, it’s much safer to cook your own food at home.

4. Allow the occasional unhealthy treat.

There will be birthday parties and various other celebrations where your children will be enticed by a platter full of store-bought cupcakes. Grandma and Grandpa will want to spoil them with s’mores or candy on occasion. This is all part of being a kid. The good news is, it truly is “moderation” when you know it only happens while they’re visiting friends or relatives. So let them get their fix on occasion. If they are consistently eating healthy meals at home, they may not even have a taste for unhealthy foods anymore, which means the likelihood of them even finishing that cupcake is much smaller anyway.

5. Educate them early on good and bad foods.

Education is key! Take time to teach your children about the foods they’re eating, especially while they’re young. Teaching them early helps instill healthy habits for a lifetime!

Parents, what are some other tricks you use to encourage healthy eating habits in your home? Share them with us in the comment section below!

How to Overcome Your Sugar Addiction

FACT: Sugar is one of the most addictive substances on the planet.

Even more addictive than cocaine.

It makes sense if you really think about it. It’s in almost everything we eat, and the more we eat of it, the more we seem to crave.

Do you drink sodas and sugary beverages throughout the day? Do you put sugar in your coffee? Do you eat lots of breads, pastas and cereals? Starchy fruits and veggies like bananas and sweet potatoes? All of these foods add up to massive amounts of sugar in our diet. In fact, it’s safe to say that the American diet encourages the over-consumption of sugar. If you don’t believe me, think back to when you were in elementary school and learned about the United States food pyramid. Grains were at the bottom of the pyramid, which also happened to be the largest section (6-11 servings a day recommended.) The food pyramid has been revised quite a bit since then, but in my opinion, we could stand to revise it further.

Americans consume way too much sugar—especially processed sugar—and it is wreaking havoc on our health.

3 Reasons to Quit Eating Sugar

  1. Sugar feeds cancer cells.
  2. Sugar slows down immune system function, resulting in longer-lasting periods of illness.
  3. Sugar causes weight gain.

But if sugar is in virtually everything we eat, how can we get away from it? How do you overcome your sugar addiction? Here are some tips on how you can keep your sugar intake to a minimum, all while strengthening your immune system, losing weight, and preventing disease.

Tip #1: Commit to a 30-day “No Sugar” Challenge. There’s something about challenges that instinctively motivate us. Commit to quitting sugar for 30 days to reset your body, and you’ll likely find that your cravings decrease even beyond the 30-day period.

Tip #2: Stop buying food items that contain sugar. During your 30-day challenge, this includes sources of natural sugar like honey, maple syrup, agave nectar, milk, grains, breads, pastas, most fruits (except for berries and green apples), starchy veggies, and legumes. Stick to the outer aisles of the grocery store, and avoid boxed, precooked, or processed foods.

Tip #3: Quit drinking cow’s milk. Cow’s milk contains sugar. It also increases mucus production and most of it is pasteurized—a process that destroys essential nutrients. Humans were never meant to drink the milk of another animal, but cow’s milk is particularly unhealthy due to its mass production and the fact that most cows are grain-fed instead of grass-fed. If you can find raw, organic, grass-fed cow’s milk from a local farmer, that is a better choice, but I still advocate quitting milk cold-turkey for at least 30 days. You can opt for almond or coconut milk instead, but make sure you read the ingredients or make your own. Many store-bought nut milks contain artificial ingredients and preservatives that make them just as unhealthy as cow’s milk.

Tip #4: Drink more water. Staying hydrated is essential to maintaining good health and flushing your body of the toxins that will likely be released when you start the no-sugar challenge. You should drink at least half of your body weight in ounces of water each day.

Tip #5: Eat healthy fats. When you eat sugar, your body burns it for energy instead of fat, ultimately hindering weight loss. When you stop eating sugar, your body burns fat for energy, so it’s important to supplement your diet with sources of healthy fat, such as coconut oil, butter (the real stuff, not the substitutes), and avocados.

Tip #6: Get support! “A strand of three cords is not easily broken!” Partner up with a friend for your no-sugar challenge and commit to holding each other accountable. It’s much easier to maintain a commitment when you’re doing it with someone else who will support your efforts.

Have you ever completed a no-sugar challenge? We want to hear about your results! Please share them with us in the comments section below this post.

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Queen City Health Center is a Charlotte Chiropractic and total wellness center for individuals and families. With locations across Charlotte, NC and Matthews, NC, we specialize in helping individuals and families find true health and ways to maximize their lives through nutrition, lifestyle classes, detoxification and spinal correction.


SouthPark Office 4421 Sharon Rd #100 Charlotte, NC 28211 980-422-2000
Matthews Office 1730 Matthews Township Pkwy Matthews, NC 28105 704-844-6368