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Alcohol sugar cravings (managing them) and the whole Gut-Brain health connection thing.
It was just over 4 years ago now that I took my first day off work because of a hangover. I was broken and full of self-disgust and a sense of utter helplessness. How had my drinking gotten so out of control? It seriously wasn’t fun anymore – and hadn’t been for quite some time. And yet I couldn’t stop. I went to my family Doctor, who was useless. I decided to face it on my own and so the Great God Google led me to an online community … which was great, but still I couldn’t master my cravings. Over the last four years I tried everything looking for that magic elixir that would cure me instantly – alas. It turns out there really isn’t one. But there is something that has been of significant help to me … so read on.
Some people use alcohol to manage psychological conditions – like anxiety or childhood trauma – there are many different causes for turning to alcohol. For me it started when I was a teen, to manage extreme shyness and social anxiety. But as I get older I find my social anxiety getting less and less – maybe because I just don’t care what people think anymore? YET I WAS STILL DRINKING. And I still could NOT manage my cravings.
I am not a medical professional, this is what has worked for me but you should probably consult your doctor first – The abridged version is this. USE L-GLUTAMINE POWDER AT LEAST 10MGS A DAY TO CONTROL YOUR PHYSICAL ALCOHOL CRAVINGS!
For those who like context and detail, read on…
I researched a LOT on my own and went to a naturopath at my local health food store.
One thing I noticed for me (and it may not be true for everyone) is that I have 2 types of craving. The first is psychological – my lizard brain telling me I NEED it – if you are here you know all about that so I won’t go on. The second is purely physical. An actual physical urge/need to get some alcohol (or more specifically sugar, in the form of alcohol) into my body.
I kept finding that I could manage my mental issues by educating myself and talking in online forums with people going through the same thing and that was great – but then my physical need would take over and BOOM! (haha pardon the pun) I would be at the liquor store again.
WHO ELSE HAS QUIT DRINKING ONLY TO FIND THEMSELVES FIGHTING A SEVERE SUGAR/CANDY ADDICTION?
I starting reading about our gut and how it is basically a second brain and how its health is SO ESSENTIAL to our well being.
I never missed work (apart from that one day) because of my drinking but I was definitely noticing a decline in my overall wellbeing – most specifically around my gut health – in short, and to be blunt I constantly had the SHITS. I mean, every day. All-day. I still kept drinking, obviously.
This led me to research my poop. It’s quite fascinating – there’s a whole chart so you can reference the status of your poop and gauge how your health is. Mine was really really bad. LIKE, NUMBER 7 on the chart. I realized that something needed to be done so I researched and talked to the Naturopath at my local health food store again.
If our eyes are the window to our souls then our poop is the window to our internal gut health.
It turns out that us humans aren’t alone even if we think we are the loneliest social outcasts out there – we are each individually hosting entire fucking colonies of bacteria, parasites and funguses both inside and out. We are basically walking talking symbiotes.
One of our usually helpful and friendly little internal companions is called Candida Albicans. It is friendly unless it gets out of control and then it grows little branches and pierces our gut walls, leading to a condition called leaky gut. When you have a candida overgrowth guess what you crave ? sugar and alcohol. Now, guess what can cause a Candida overgrowth? yep. Overdoing the old booze.
A chicken/egg conundrum if you will.
When you have a candida overgrowth and / or leaky gut you will know by the state of your poop. It will be fluffy and stringy and yellowy-orange and runny and gross. And frequent. A number 6 or 7 on the Bristol stool chart. Oh and there will be bits of undigested food in there. For context, it should be a 3 or 4 – brown, maybe a little lumpy / cracked and solid. Like a sausage.
Leaky gut is BAD and can be linked to all kinds of serious health conditions, like cancer. Basically, the gut wall has been pierced and so is now permeable. Bits of stuff and food inside of us can now pass into our bloodstream, making us really sick.
Leaky gut and candida overgrowth usually go hand in hand, along with alcohol abuse as a cause (there are other causes of course but I’m just talking about the booze). It can be fixed and as it gets fixed you will find that your physical cravings for sugar (including alcohol) decrease and eventually become a NON-THING. The benefit? You are now only left with your mental/psychological cravings – which can be overcome using different tools. At least you won’t be doing double battle with your lizard brain AND physical need for sugar/alcohol.
I used a couple of different things the main one being L-GLUTAMINE. At the end of this post I have added in some links if you want to explore this. L-Glutamine actually significantly reduces your sugar/alcohol cravings AND heals your gut. The 5mg recommended dose is not strong enough, especially if you have a leaky gut – one of the links includes a high dose protocol that I followed. I recommend the powder (not the capsules) and I started at 10mgs (2 scoops) a day working up to 40mgs (8 scoops) a day over a 10 – 14 day period. Now I take 10mgs every day for maintenance. Even if you don’t have any gut issues it seriously helps with physical urges for sugar/alcohol.
I also take a pre-biotic every day called Molkosan, which doesn’t really help with cravings but does help rebuild your poor abused gut lining.
A good quality probiotic also really helps in the early days.
I am pleased to tell you that my poop is now and has been for some time a regular number 4 on the Bristol Stool Chart.
And alcohol is a NON-THING! In fact, I am off now for a weekend of skiing with my kids, which would never have happened in my drinking days. Because of course a long weekend back then revolved around thinking about drinking (how much? when? where?), regretting and recovering from drinking (fuck not again – never again) and rinse and repeat until you have to go back to work, having achieved not a single fucking thing except getting drunk.
If you’re Drinking too much too often Rethink the Drink.
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