Roughly around July/ August 2014, when I was suffering from regular headaches, I remember thinking to myself: 'Why do these headaches always start when I begin a healthier diet'? At the time, the healthy diet always included carbohydrate-restriction (definitely no bread or pasta) and very little sugar (no refined sugar and only very small amounts of fruit, if any). If I remember correctly, the 'healthy' diet then included lots of smoothies and greens. And I had a problem with serious dehydration at the time also - more than now.
I remember noticing then that a sugary 'coconut macaroon' would sometimes help to get over the headache, and was wondering whether pastries (which I craved a lot) were helping to keep the headaches at bay too. The 'healthy' diet would always cut out the pastries and probably most other starchy carbohydrates too.
I kept trying to stick to low-carb diets, but later, for some reason, I decided to try drinking fruit juice in the morning to see if it would help me wake up and get out of bed easier. Previously I would have never been able to do this since even a little bit of fruit juice seemed to cause serious fatigue and a fevery feeling, as well as other symptoms. But ever since I managed to clear some of the aspergillus mold infection, I was able to begin drinking fruit juice. And amazingly, I found out that fruit juice in the morning had a dramatic effect on my energy levels!
Now when my alarm clock goes off I drink a glass of fruit juice (usually pasteurized 100% juice not from concentrate, e.g. orange, mango, tropical mix, etc.). After lying in bed for about 15-20 mins after drinking the juice I'm usually so awake that I can't sleep anymore, and get up without problems.
It is worth noting that I have been caffeine free for some years now and if I needed a caffeine-fix in the morning the fruit juice would probably not be a sufficient substitute. But even being caffeine free, I have been struggling at times to get up in the morning, as my energy levels tend to rise towards the evening, for some reason.
Not only does fruit juice seem to help me wake up earlier in the morning, it also seems to help sustain my energy during the day. If I get energy dips, I occasionally - not always - drink fruit juice to wake myself up. I must be careful, however, not to drink too much as I am still sugar intolerant to some degree.
Also just eating fruit seems to help with energy, although maybe slower than fruit juice. I also feel nicely balanced with fruit and fruit juice, it somehow makes me feel content in my body and improves focus and mental energy/ moods. I therefore now suspect that I was to some extent 'starving' myself on the low-carb diets - hence headaches and low energy. In addition, I was trying to eat a diet high in raw vegetables, but later found out that I had difficulties digesting so much fiber.
The more I attempted to stick to the low-carbohydrate diet, the more my body was craving easy-to-digest, quick carbohydrates, such as fruit juice and white-flour products. It was a vicious circle for a while, however, since the aspergillus infection would flare up and cause problems every time I ate fruit or sugar. When I cleared much of the infection, however, and was able to tolerate fruit juice again, it seems that my body is - surprisingly - reacting very well to it.
I have many unresolved questions in my mind regarding this finding. 1) Do I suffer from low blood sugar while sleeping and is that why I have been struggling to make do with eight hours of sleep for so long? 2) Did the low-carbohydrate ('caveman diet' & paleo) and low-sugar diets I experimented with worsen my sugar intolerance? 3) Did the juice fasts train my body to demand quick-to-digest and quick-to-burn energy in juice form? 4) Is this a healthy form of energy in the long-term and should I try to stick to wholefood fruit mostly instead of juice?
I don't think the fruit juice causes blood sugar problems in my case (and I don't think it acts as a stimulant for me in the bad sense of the word) since I don't get energy dips afterwards. I do occasionally get energy dips but they seem unrelated to the fruit juice consumption. The effect of the fruit and the juice seems entirely positive, as long as I eat and drink them in moderation.
It is interesting to note that the same doesn't seem to go for store-bought smoothies, such as Innocent or Tesco smoothies. These seem to have an adverse effect on me (these days) for some reason but I'm not sure if this is true of all smoothies or just some of them. Perhaps they contain too much fiber or some type of hidden preservative.
Generally I feel that my energy levels are good these days, although of course I get tired if I have a mentally straining day, if I am on my feet all day or if I've eaten a lot of sugar. I do still get some energy dips, however, and I still cannot tolerate stress or long days nearly as well as I would like to. Too many white-flour products or eating dairy seem to make me sleepy as well. My eyes are one of the biggest problems now as they get quite red and my vision blurs if I get tired. And I do still get tired more easily than I used to, but I'm stronger than I was, say, a year or 1.5 years ago. I can take stress better and I have better energy.
I still react adversely to sugar, especially white sugar, but seem to be able to tolerate it in moderation. Eating more protein seems to help tolerate it better as well. As mentioned, I can now drink fruit juice, eat most types of fruits, and I seem to also tolerate molasses, and molasses sugar. I drank some very sugary (alcohol-free) mulled wine, which used raw cane sugar, without any adverse effects on the day. However, if I drink too much fruit juice, for example, I do still feel weak.
Something to note, however, is that if I eat something very sugary, like cake, or the mulled wine mentioned above, I do seem to feel much more out of energy the next day, and I can still get heart palpitations, but those are clearly linked to anxieties and worries as well. I therefore stay away from chemicals and processed sugar most of the time, while happily guzzling a fair bit of fruit juice.
I also eat fresh plain croissants quite often these days, as I am on a low budget again and busy with studies. I don't get a food intolerance reaction to them (like I do to most bread) and they don't seem to make me put on weight anymore, like they used to. Pizza, cheese, alcohol and lack of exercise (and perhaps stress) do seem to cause weight gain quickly, however.
But not everyone can tolerate carbohydrates or sugary fruit, and this may be due to infections, stealth infections, candida or parasites - as it seems to have been in my case (mold infection). It may also be that there are 'carb type' and 'protein type' bodies, as Dr. Mercola advocates - so one type of diet does not fit all. In my case, however, eating more carbohydrates - even bad quality ones like croissants - seems to have made both my energy levels and my health better. I would eventually like to eliminate wheat and gluten from my diet and am experimenting with different things to replace the croissants. But at the same time I am just so happy to be feeling better.
One thing to note, however, is that eating wheat makes me feel more 'numb' emotionally, which sometimes feels helpful when dealing with stressful situations involving work and other people.
I still don't feel even close to as good and healthy as during the best moments of my raw food diets and I don't look as vibrant and healthy either. So there is definitely still much to aspire to in terms of an improved diet (and lifestyle). Perhaps now that I can tolerate fruit better I can begin another raw food challenge. In any case, I have learned a lot from my complex health journey, and my health has improved a lot, though it did experience some big changes along the way.
Update: Read also: Is Starch Worse for Your Health than Sugar?
"The Healthiest Diet on the Planet: Why the Foods You Love - Pizza, Pancakes, Potatoes, Pasta, and More - Are the Solution to Preventing Disease and Looking and Feeling Your Best" by John McDougall:
"The China Study: Revised and Expanded Edition: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss, and Long-Term Health" by T. Colin Campbell and M.D. Thomas M. Campbell II (2016 Edition):
The 80/10/10 Diet by Dr. Douglas Graham
The Detox Miracle Sourcebook: Raw Foods and Herbs for Complete Cellular Regeneration: The Ultimate Healing System by Dr Robert Morse
This book came out of a necessity to begin putting in one coherent place, neatly ordered, all the amazing ways we can use to naturally reclaim back our health, free of charge.
This book contains 70 brief chapters, each introducing you to the benefits of a certain technique, or a trick, to improve your health affordably. Methods suitable for busy lifestyles. Natural, noninvasive and easy techniques. Pick the ones that suit your lifestyle and interests best and begin enjoying the good life!
Benefits of Juice Fasting
Benefits of the Raw Food Diet
Caveman Diet - Diary
Fiber Can Cause Dehydration
Dr. Joel Furhman: Eat for Health
Zakhah: Joy of Living Live
My Natural Health Journey - summary and diaries
Is Starch Worse for Your Health than Sugar?
Ulla is the Editor of Cheap Health Revolution, covering natural remedies and health solutions.