By Marco Girgenti
In my last article, I wrote about 'The Only Time I Ever Gained Some Weight Back,' the article outlined the effects a 16 week, no carb transformation had on me. Today, I’d like to share how cutting refined sugar from my everyday eating has impacted other areas of my life; not just my reduced waistline.
When you get used to living with joint pain or inflammation, you come to a place where you accept it and don’t really notice the symptoms any more… until one day you wake up and they are gone. It is a well documented fact that sugar causes inflammation which is a major factor in a long list of diseases, from cancer and diabetes, to atherosclerosis and digestive disorders. On a personal level, I had pain in my left knee for years, a trigger finger - caused by local swelling from inflammation or scarring of the tendon sheath around the flexor tendons and I also had recurring pain in the lower left side of my back and my left wrist. Since eliminating refined sugar or “simple carbs,” these are all gone!
Again, I want to take you back to my last article and remind you that I am speaking strictly about eliminating refined sugar, the kind you find in almost anything baked, any packaged foods, or meals in restaurants. Yes, it is everywhere. I still have lots of sugar from dates, fruits, etc… but my waist keeps shrinking and I feel stronger now than I did even 10 years ago (I am 49 as I write this article).
Refined sugar is also referred to as a High GI (Glycemic Index) food. My workouts are intense. They are all superset exercises and the HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) in my boxing workouts is extremely punishing. Yet, without any type of “pre workout” supplement, I power through these workouts with no inflammation and my energy comes solely from plant based foods. It amazes me. No “super science made in a lab” concoction. For a pre workout energy boost, I prefer 5-6 medjool dates and 2-3 tablespoons of seeds and my favourite are pumpkin and some coconut water to wash it all down. Alternately, I will juice an entire red beet, a 1-2 inch piece of ginger root with some cilantro and kale. These provide clean energy with nutritional benefits that are almost immeasurable and oh, they taste great by the way!
POST WORKOUT STIFFNESS
In the past I would feel a lot of soreness following intense workouts, even when I was younger, which means I should have been able to recover more quickly than at 49. However, since I eliminated refined sugar, that post training soreness has dropped to 90% of what it was. In fact, I train to the absolute max, the kind of max where one more rep could mean the bench press bar landing on my neck, or one more HIIT could mean the heart rate at above 190. The fact that I feel little to no discomfort at all from 24 hours following this type of intense workout astounds me perhaps more than anything else.
I no longer find myself with energy drops throughout the day; the 2:00 p.m. dip etc… I am wide awake and more alert than I have ever been since I replaced refined sugar with foods that have naturally occurring sugar.
In my next article, I will talk a bit more about sugar, as well as the shocking effects I experienced after coming off dairy and then having a 3/4 cup serving of greek yogurt; a darling of the health food industry.
I hope this information helps to inspire you to make healthy lifestyle changes.
Thanks for reading!