It amazes me how many people I know are suffering from an inflammatory disease, such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, osteoarthritis, gout and the list goes on. Things like these make me wonder what has changed in today’s society that so many more people are ill with inflammatory illnesses. I don’t have an answer to my question, other than my own story. As you all know, I am in the process of becoming a Health Coach by undergoing training with the Institute of Integrated Nutrition. What I have learned through my own life, school and talking to the people that I know, is that much of the inflammation can be reduced with nutrition. While I feel that our food consumption has dramatically changed over the last few decades, so have our lifestyles. Most people including myself are always on the run, many of us have no time for home cooking and depend on someone else to cook the food we eat, not knowing the ingredients for the most part. Between take-out, TV-dinners and processed foods, how many of us look at the ingredients on the box it comes in? I never used to! We buy processed foods that we think are good for us, because that’s what the packaging tells us, but the thought behind all of this is: “How good can it really be if I cannot pronounce or understand the words listed under the ingredients”? When I hear a mother say to her child, would you like to eat your apple, and she pulls out a processed kind of food, I asked myself, where is the actual apple? Over the last few years I have learned that “sugar” could be one of the highest inflammatory foods we eat. What we don’t realize is how many hidden sugars are in many processed foods we eat on a daily basis. High fructose corn syrup, sucrose, barley malt, dextrose, maltose rice syrup and palm sugar; these are some of the sugars being used in our processed foods and added to our drinks. To read up on this go to sugarscience.ucsf.edu and look for the article “Hidden in plain sight”. This article will give you a quick overview on hidden sugars. So, why do I believe that sugars add to the pain of our inflammatory diseases? It is because I have watched myself and how it feels not to eat added sugars. As you know I suffer from gluten sensitivity, and even though I have been eating gluten free, non-processed foods (for the most part), and while I am cooking much healthier meals for myself and my family, I never did cut out sugar. With this being said my stomach has felt much better other than the times when I would drink milk or have some gluten free muffins or a slice of cake or ice cream. For the longest time I couldn’t figure out why my stomach would hurt or for that matter my hip or my wrists or my thumb where I feel I have some arthritis or inflammation at times. I felt I was eating right and healthy, all organic, non-GMO, home cooked, lots of vegetable and fruits, drinking plenty of water… as healthy as I could manage. First I thought maybe I am sensitive to dairy as well so I tried that and it worked for a little while, but that was not it, as I still felt my symptoms here and their without dairy, until I listened to Sarah Wilson (Australian Journalist, Television Presenter, Blogger and Best Selling Author of the book “I quit Sugar”) when she spoke at my school about sugars. This piqued my interest, but not enough to quit sugar. Oh my god no, me quitting sugar? I love sugar! It’s my greatest weakness, I mean who doesn’t love milk chocolate, ice cream, cookies, cake ……. well I do! I am the master baker of yumminess, as well as my own number one fan! On the other hand, I was tired of feeling pain, so three month ago I put it to the test. I quit added sugar. I drank black coffee, switched from regular yogurt to plain, no candy….. the only sugars I would get were from fruit and vegetables. It took me about two weeks to feel a difference, no hip pain no stomach pain my wrists are fine, wow! And then came Thanksgiving last week, and I made my favorite pie, “my very own pecan pie” with a gluten free crust, I thought its ok I have been doing so well and I deserve a few slices of my favorite pie, despite the corn syrup I baked it with, after all it is Thanksgiving! After I had pie for two days in a row my stomach was so sore, and my hip hurt more than it had before I quit sugar, I could not believe the results from my own self-appointed generosity. This experience makes me a great believer that added sugars indeed contribute to inflammation. To all you sufferers of inflammatory pain, I felt the need to share my experience with you, and maybe this could help you in experimenting with the idea with being more aware of added sugars, and the reaction to your body after eating or not eating it and just maybe it will help improve your life as much as it did mine.