So after going a solid month with little to no sugar, I decided to give in and have some. In the form of a bite-sized piece of almond brittle.
And then my back started to itch and I had a revelation.
Okay so let me explain.
A year or so after moving to California, I had some faint white splotches show up on my back. I didn’t think much of it but by the end of the summer, it was glaringly obvious. My skin was tan and brown except for these weird splotches all over my upper back. Tim was sure I was dying of melanoma (okay, I take that back, obviously we all know that I’m the hypochondriac in the family…) and insisted I see my doctor.
Sure enough, the doc immediately knew what it was and explained Tinea Versicolor to me. Apparently we all have a fair amount of fungus growing on our skin (ewww) and if the balance of the bacteria is out of whack, skin conditions happen. Like this one. They are often attributed to a yeast build-up in the body which explained why my back was always itchy when I ate sugar (which to yeast, is an all-you-can-eat buffet). It was nothing serious and I left his office with a prescription for what is basically Head & Shoulders shampoo on steroids.
While the treatment seemed to work and the splotches eventually went away, I still had that itchy back whenever I ate sugar.
Fast forward a few years and after a month of eating a high-fat, low-carb diet, my sugar intake has been minimal, if not non-existent. But one bite of that almond brittle and my back was itching! The revelation was that I realized I haven’t had an itchy back since beginning this diet! This is encouraging to me because it makes me think that I’m not only helping heal my hormones with a ketogenic diet but could also be healing a yeast overgrowth. One look at a typical Candida diet and I have to say, if following a dairy-free ketogenic diet, it matches up quite closely. Anyone who has attempted to follow a Candida diet knows first-hand that they suck. Like big leagues kind of suck. But perhaps the missing link is that they’re not filling their face full of bacon and salami!
Week 5 was higher in carbs than any week so far. I attribute this to the fact that we were on vacation for most of the week and I could have prepared a bit better. Although I do have to give myself some credit for using the crock pot to cook all our dinners while we were away (at Yosemite National Park). You think you love your crock pot at home? Wait until you come in from a long day of biking, hiking, and exploring only to be met by the aroma of a ready-to-eat home-cooked meal! If there were “Mother of the Year” awards, I’m pretty sure my traveling crock pot recipes would earn me a nomination.
While my macros were still pretty solid, I over-ate the majority of the week and so my carb grams were much higher than usual. And wow did I feel it! I was retaining water in response to the carb loading (evident by my higher than usual end-of-week weight which at time of writing, has since disappeared) and I experienced some very uncomfortable PCOS symptoms after eating beans. My ovaries felt like they were swollen and inflamed — similar to (although less than) the pain I felt when I ruptured a cyst last year. Truth is, I don’t experience much pain with my PCOS so this was definitely new to me.
Which begs the question: are PCOS symptoms worsened by eating inflammatory foods? Turns out, they are. And there are crap-tons of studies to prove it. Yeah, crap-tons is a word now.
All in all, the discoveries from Week 5 further confirm that I’m on the right track and doing the right thing for my body. For the first time in over a month, I struggled a bit to follow the diet because I didn’t have enough snacks prepared for our trip but all in all, I am feeling great!