After two weeks in Bologna, Steffan and I realized, even before returning home, that we would need to trim down. A lot! Sugar withdrawal from our diet would be key. To say that we indulged in all sorts of evil, yummy foods while in Italy would be a terrible understatement.

sugar withdrawal

This to me is the most unappealing form of sugar. I didn’t want to tempt you with actual pictures of what we ate in Bologna!

Every Bit of Bologna

We had, absolutely, eaten every temptation laid out before us: pasta, pizza, pastry – and all manner of Nutella specialities. (Nutella comes from Italy, so you find it everywhere there, on and in all sorts of things you wouldn’t find elsewhere – like on pizza, for example. That’s right, Nutella Pizza.)

Sugar Withdrawal? What’s that?

So we kept our sugar-eating bacteria very happy while there. Ahem. (If you didn’t know, fully 90% of you – or what you tend to think of you – is actually bacteria. Only 10% of you is actually Homo sapien.)

If I had a craving or even a slight curiosity about some delicious form of sugar, I didn’t hesitate. Naturally, I gained weight. We all did.

Roxy lost it again in a week, just by being back home and eating what she usually eats again. Steffan and I – well, that’s another story.

We started taking an online health class about Sane Eating, from Jonathan Bailor. I can say in all honesty, the class has impacted my health in a really positive way. I’m astounded at the results. The excess weight is falling off of us (both me and Steffan), and we’ve only been doing this a few weeks.

Overall energy is way up, I’ve lost a full dress size already, and I just feel better.

At one point, Roxy said to me, “Mommy, you are so much fun when you are thin!” Of course I am. I actually have energy to do stuff. It’s great!

Withdrawal due to Withdrawal.

But if you’ve been following my personal blog here, you may have noticed that I was absent for a period of time. I haven’t written about Happy Palmtree Events. I haven’t even written anything about the funny cultural observations while in Italy (trust me, I’m itching to write about that!).

Yes, there was the Bologna trip and that kept me from the keyboard. Yes, there was the need for me to catch up with work and get back into the swing of things upon my return home. But that isn’t why I wasn’t writing here.

For the past two weeks, I’ve been really excited about my writing. The material on GreatStorybook is really solid work. Most recently (just to show you what I’ve been banging out as of late), I’ve written about:

How to Write Third Person Narrative – This piece was a long time coming, but it was difficult to tackle properly. I’m really happy with this one!

Literacy on the Margins – This is a response to a personal email written to me from an unnamed African American Athletic Coach who wants to write stories that reach kids living on the margins. He asked me how to do that, and this is my answer.

International Appeal: how to write for it – This is another important lesson learned from the Bologna Book Fair. How to write a story that appeals to many cultures is really important, but the way to do that isn’t so obvious.

Special Interview with Author/Artist Lita Judge – This amazing writer and illustrator lives an enviously creative life filled with beauty and international travel. It’s a real thrill for me to have interviewed her and her husband, and it’s especially fun to be able to see her amazing studio space. Pictures!

I’ve also been busy illustrating a brand new storybook, one inspired by my Bologna trip on a very deep and personal level. I think it’s my best story to date, and my mom and dad agree! Ahem. So you know it must be true.

So with all this, why wasn’t I writing anything here? It wasn’t for lack of things to write about. I just couldn’t move.

Bed Bound and Bonkers.

I had a week’s time where I felt really sick. It was terrible. Very much like a flu, with common flu symptoms – but strange. It was different. I had splitting headaches, and my upper body felt extremely heavy, as if made of lead.

My stomach hurt. Not from hunger, but just pain.

If I didn’t need to go to the bathroom, I was down. My head felt too heavy to lift up off the bed. When I weaved my way through the hall, I’d bump into the walls. I was lightheaded and sometimes quite dizzy. It was ludicrous!

Now, I’m no stranger to illness, but I was worried. Steffan said that if I didn’t feel better by Monday, he’d drag me to the doctor. I felt so badly, I actually said, “ok.”

I am not the type of person to say “ok” to a trip to the doctor. It was that bad.

All the while, I had a craving for lasagna. Not the high quality lasagna I got to eat in Italy, no. I wanted the goopy, thick, cheesy stuff we could order-in from a local fast food joint. I wanted the heavy lasagna, the type you can feel sitting in your gut for a full day. I thought this strange, because no one in their right mind would prefer to eat fast food lasagna over authentic Italian lasagna.

NOTE: When you feel a craving for certain foods, it probably isn’t you craving it. It’s your bacteria telling you to eat what they thrive on.

Friday I felt terrible. Saturday it was worse. On Sunday, it was even worse. I thought for sure I would be heading for the hospital on Monday (never on a Sunday, people).

Monday morning, I woke up feeling… just fine. It was incredible. Not only did I not feel so bad, I felt better than I normally feel. It was if my status quo had been boosted. What happened?

What Happened.

Steffan is an avid podcast listener (radio talk shows recorded as MP3 files so that you can get them from the Internet), and Jonathan Bailor, our health teacher, has a podcast. In one, he mentions sugar withdrawal.

Yes, actual withdrawal symptoms from a lack of your usual sugar dose. Like a drug.

My experience that terrible week, when I felt so ill I thought a trip to the hospital was nigh, was just me and my bacteria going through withdrawal. I had gone without any refined sugars (including breads and pasta) for two weeks.

Since that point, I have better sleep quality and my head is clearer (headaches used to be a regular thing for me). As I say, I’m a dress size smaller (after less than a month) – and I can feel that there’s more to come… or rather, less of me to come. It’s amazing.

New Information About Alzheimer’s Disease

One of the things I learned recently is a brand new scientific discovery: Alzheimer’s Disease has now been identified as Type 3 Diabetes.

Before now, we had Type 1 and Type 2. Today, we know that Type 3 Diabetes comes from a lifetime of eating too many sugars (which again, means breads and pasta). When we eat this way, it causes regular, daily inflammation of the brain. After a lifetime of that, the brain just gives out – and Alzheimer’s sets in. It’s diabetes.

The US Department of Agriculture needs to stop lying to people, needs to stop claiming that breads and pasta are the primary ingredient to a healthy diet and that the largest portion of food on our plate should be these sugars. It isn’t true, not at all. (Dangerously, the USDA Food Pyramid is what children are taught in schools about a balanced diet.)

It’s what you feed farm animals when you want to fatten them up, not what you want to feed people who would just like to get through the day without a headache.

I’m not a Bailor Affiliate, but I cannot more highly recommend his classes, his books – and certainly, his podcast. He really knows what he’s talking about! Go starve your sugar-feeding bacteria and get healthy.


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