Sugar Cravings

Halloween marked three months since the beginning of our family experiment. All eleven of us went on a modified version of the GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) diet beginning August 1st. We eliminated all fruit/grains/sugars from our home to starve the fungus in our bodies. (See this previous post.)

It has not been an easy three months. Everyone has struggled. Especially our 10-year-old son with type 1 diabetes. It's as if his body demanded sugar in some form. Nighttime has been especially difficult.

One lesson we've learned is that sugar cravings are not simply about willpower. The body's chemistry plays a vital role.

The biggest help for the cravings? Lacto-fermented foods. According to one of my daughters, "Sauerkraut with the apple cider vinegar dressing is NUMBER ONE, for sure. It causes die-off, yes, but it's the only thing that I've found that nips it in the bud pretty much immediately."

The biggest help for Colin, our son with diabetes? Homemade goat yogurt and goat kefir.

Coconut water kefir has helped others.

A mom on the website Pickl-It shares the story of her young son's journey out of "sugarholism":

During one of his food-stuffing suffocating, choking sprees, he’d packed his face, to-the-max, with bread. Digging it out of his mouth, a few wayward crumbs fell onto his clothing and chair. As I bent down to collect them, he let loose with a record-breaking scream, directly into my ear.

Blinded and deafened, lightning bolts of pain searing through my brain, I bowed down over the kitchen table, planting my hands on its hard surface for support. I gradually realized my right hand was grasping strange, bumpy objects. A platter of whole dill pickles! I’d fished them out of a large wooden-barrel, just a few hours earlier, while visiting a local meat market. “Old-fashioned, cured, just like Grandma made,” the sign over the barrel read.

Glancing at my son, I impulsively, grabbed one of the pickles, plugging his gaping mouth a split-second before he let loose with another ear-shattering scream.


The tears immediately stopped flowing (so did his). Wide-eyed, he quietly removed the pickle, examined it, then returned it to his mouth, chomping off a large chunk, alligator-style. An angelic expression descended over his face – a sweet face – a face I was seeing for the very first time.

The rest of the family watched, too exhausted to eat, while he happily polished off the pickle – without raging, projectile vomiting, over-stuffing his mouth, gagging or choking.

There is scientific evidence for the power of lacto-fermented foods. A study funded by the National Institutes of Health found that bitter foods may share the same taste buds as sweet foods. In fact, the bitter foods may help turn off the sugar cravings because of the peptide cholecystokinin (CCK). According to the study,

CCK might excite the bitter taste and at the same time inhibit the sweet taste, so the bitter message gets to the brain.

Lactic acid, which is generated by lactic-acid bacteria during fermentation, creates a "bitter" flavor in the form of peptides.

No wonder the sauerkraut, yogurt, and kefir have helped!

When we began our experiment three months ago, I never dreamed we would contentedly celebrate Halloween with "stevia pop" (made with vanilla cream liquid stevia and mineral water) and homemade peppermint patties, and top off our day with homemade coconut cupcakes!

The best news? Colin's blood sugars stayed in range all day. Whereas Halloween used to require 20-30 units of fast-acting insulin, this year he used a total of six units for all three meals and our special dessert!

Now that's the best treat ever!