August 24, 2017

The Sugar Overdose Story

I overdosed on sugar last week.  You’ve probably done the same. 

Working at a cookie company makes it easy to do, although it doesn’t often happen these days.  I thought I’d share the run up to it along with the methods for treatment I use to quickly recover.

Leading To The Fall

In a knee-jerk reaction to a warehouse fire in Oakland (The Ghost Ship Fire), the City of San Diego decided to crack down on all of its art warehouses including ours, which was called The Glashaus. 

Rather than spend $150k on upgrades, our landlord decided to evict everyone, gut the place, then terminate his lease with the building owner.  

When the sudden eviction notice came to the 20-odd artists at The Glashaus (including some world famous and VERY talented creators), Paleo Treats got on with the task of finding a new building.

Stress & Sensitivity

I won’t go into the details of finding a new space other than to note it was stressful.  Lee did a superb job at finding us a new building, but it took an incredible amount of work.  The searching and not-knowing was bloody stressful.  

Admittedly, it’s First World stress, but we humans adapt our sensitivity to our surroundings.  As I’ve noted in other articles, specifically the one on the 5 Day Water Fast, eating is a response to stress.


The Stress Meter

The Descent

In my case, as a total sucker for sweets, I mowed ‘em down.  Figs from the tree, an extra Paleo Treat or two every day, and one of my favorite and most seldom indulgences, a lychee lemonade from a local restaurant. 

It didn’t seem like it would, but all that sugar adds up. On a beautiful San Diego Sunday morning it brought me down.

The symptoms of sugar overdose are obvious to me now, although I used to mistake them for the flu.  Lots of congestion, a super runny nose, achy joints, an unclear head for thinking, and a constant low-grade irritation with the world. 

Some people might view that as a cold and expect it to last the usual 7 to 10 days.  To me it was a clear case of sugar poisoning and curable within 24 hours.

The Treatment

Among her many other talents and skills, my wife Lee got her Holistic Health Practitioner degree a million years ago in New Mexico, so she doesn’t immediately turn to drugs for treatment. 

She’s usually both amused and disappointed when I fall for the “too-much-sugar” trick, but she almost unfailingly puts our “Overdose Plan” into cheerfully (for her) immediate action.

No sugar!

First and most obviously, no more sugar.  No Paleo Treats, no honey, no fruit, no carrots, nothing.  On top of that, no snacks.  At this point in an overdose, any kind of nutrients are just one more load on an already irritated digestive system.  I want to give that 30 foot long miracle of a processing tube a good rest.

Second, I burn off any excess sugar with vigorous exercise.  Doesn’t have to be an intense giant-killer workout, a good run in the heat of the day will do it.  Getting rid of that sugar frosting in my blood, elevating body temps and getting everything moving in my body is a great set up for the rest of the treatment. 

Yes, it’s unpleasant to run when it’s hot, when you don’t feel good, and when you’re blowing your nose every 10 steps.  Doesn’t mean it’s not effective.

Run hot enough to burn off sugar and smoke out a fever

Third, we aim to empty the gut.  The most pleasant way to that is my morning coffee followed by a few hours of fasting. 

Fourth, we focus on gut health; kimchi or sauerkraut, lots of sprouts, and a local apple cider vinegar based concoction called Demonic Tonic.  Getting the digestive system toned back up and fully supported is critical in a sugar overdose. 

Gut health with salad and sauerkraut

Finally, we focus on recovery and restoration.  These take the form of our standard cure-all blast, which is Oscillococcinum, huge doses of Vitamin C, a spritz of zinc to the back of the throat, a slightly too warm Epsom salt bath and lots of sleep. 

The Oscillo is homeopathic. We’ve found it to be the most reliable help in curing damn near any unease or sickness, even these temporary poisonings.

None of these are particularly enjoyable from a pure pleasure standpoint.  Even sleeping is uncomfortable as my body is still clearing out all the excess sugar irritation, usually through my nose.

Still, that’s how we do it, and within just over 24 hours I was back to full power.  The fascinating thing for me is that I used to believe these symptoms were from a flu, and I’d believe myself into laying low for days. 

It makes me wonder two things:  Just how powerful is sugar, and what are the limits of our minds when it comes to affecting reality?

Follow Up:

Once I’m through the cycle and the sugar is out, I usually make some kind of vow to not ever eat sugar again, followed by a more reasonable set of decisions to create a lower stress environment with healthier eating options. 

A visit to the Farmer’s Market for some incredible meat from Da-Le Ranch grilled to absolute perfection by Lee, a trip to Specialty Produce for more sprouts and greens, and my daily feeding schedule (butter coffee in the AM, small late lunch of leftovers, dinner of meat & greens) is back on track to total health domination.

With the food side of the equation in order, I tackle the stress piece, which is what triggered the whole thing in the first place.  Again, luckily I’ve got Lee, who spent the better part of two weeks scouring local commercial listings to find us a superb new building for Paleo Treats. 

The Paleo Treats HQ

With the stress problem solved I focus on re-building good habits; plenty of rest and recovery, creative thinking time, sunlight, and stoke from flying my paraglider in the evenings out in the foothills of San Diego. 

That’s my sugar overdose story.  I’m back to a few Paleo Treats a week (YUM!) and feeling awesome, whew!

Please let me know if you have any particular cures or protocols for when you overdose on the sweet stuff, I’m always searching for new fronts on which to attack when I’m low.

Nik @ PT

(supported with considerable patience by Lee)

p.s. If we had high-powered corporate lawyers, they'd probably demand that I write the following:  None of the above is medical advice or should be construed as such.  Consult a doctor immediately in the event of any kind of overdose or poisoning.  

Liked this article about sugar overdose?  Here are few more that might help you on your Paleo journey.

Nik Hawks


Nik Hawks helps run the show at Paleo Treats. Fascinated by humans in all their strange glory, Nik is harnessed in and pulling hard in pursuit of excellence with the rest of the PT Crew. Enjoy!

Too much reading...
How about dessert?

Too Much Reading...How About Dessert?



August 28, 2017

Thanks for the feedback all! Em, excellent point re. sucrose & the Oscillo. I think the benefits outweigh the drawback on this one, although I don’t like that sweet taste when I’m trying to stay away from sugar. Cheers!


August 28, 2017

Love you guys. So know that story. Yaay Lee. (Although, clearly NOT a million years ago Nik!!! :)


August 28, 2017

It’s confusing why you would take Oscillococcinum to help you detox from sugar when an ingredient in it is sucrose. Otherwise the article is pretty good.

Cynthia Selman
Cynthia Selman

August 28, 2017

Hoorah for my lovely and smart and talented daughter!!!!!!!!!!!!

Madeline Modrak
Madeline Modrak

August 28, 2017

Thanks for hanging in re the eviction. What would we do without Paleo Treats?

Donna Houghton
Donna Houghton

August 28, 2017

Nice article. Perfect detox plan!

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