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If somebody had told me last year that I would not be eating anything with refined sugar in it, I would have said they were crazy. I wasn’t able to go 2 days without my bar of chocolate, my sugar in coffee, or my slice of cake. My meals consisted of shop-bought sauces full of sugar, my sandwich spreads the sweetest you could find, and my after-dinner treats my extra sugar laden sugar high for the day. I started my day sweet, continued my day sweet and ended my day sweet. My tastebuds were sugar sensitive and needed sweet food.
“I was officially hooked on the sugar drug”
I consumed sugary foods for comfort, for energy, when bored and because I was just plain hooked. Much like most of the western world. I was officially hooked on the sugar drug, encouraged by food companies to indulge, advertising claiming the health benefits of the foods I ate while not declaring the detrimental effects of the sugar in the food. I was sucked in, thought it was the norm, everyone was doing it. Until, issues related to my hormones cropped up and I began to look into my heath.
“…refined sugar is the anti-fountain of youth.”
This is when I discovered the horror that refined sugar is. From blood sugar hikes, to diabetes and other diseases, BUT, what shook me to my core came from pure vanity. I had noticed the skin beneath my eyes had become more crepey. It did not spring back like it used to. This horrified me as I looked in the mirror. It was then that I discovered refined sugar affects the collagen in the skin, so in fact refined sugar is the anti-fountain of youth. And so began my sugar-free journey and what a journey it has been.
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Was Giving Up Sugar Easy?
No and yes.
In the first few weeks it was actually easier than I had expected it to be. I had read that many people suffer withdrawal symptoms like headaches and huge cravings. I went through a relatively easy first month coming off sugar. For me it was after the first month that cravings kicked in. I think my mind thought I was joking and did not believe I was going to follow through with it. It was convinced its artificial high was going to return. It was wrong. I was determined to keep to my commitment.
My First Challenge
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My first challenge came 2 months into my sugar detox journey. I had arranged to visit family and planned to take my Mum out for lunch every day, as well as coffee and cake.
Eating out can be problematic when giving up sugar as its hard to find out the exact ingredients in a dish. However, I planned ahead and made sure I followed a fairly strict plan. I didn’t feel like I was missing out in fact I felt quite liberated by the choices I was making.
My action plan when away from home was :
- Do not succumb to dessert. Eat a starter like soup, try not to have bread as white bread can hike up the blood sugar much like chocolate or cakes. Ditch the sweet sauces like ketchup, BBQ, sweet and sour etc.. If you need something on a burger and they have a mustard, sometimes they are low in sugar or sugar free.
- Choose Indian food, English or some other protein rich food source. Choose the less sweet options (not korma or tikka). Chinese food is pretty much a no-no as most western Chinese restaurants have an absolute buffet of sweet and sugary savoury meals and desserts. Apart from plain soup it’s a challenge to avoid refined sugar.
- Make your main course protein or dairy, and fat rich. If there is sugar in the meal, protein and dairy slows the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream. And when I say fat, I don’t mean dripping with fat options, but I do mean as good a fat as you can get.
- Drink water before the meal. Try and have a full glass as this will fill you so you may not feel you want to over-indulge. If you would like an alchoholic drink when away (which I did) choose wine over beer and water over fruit juice (fruit juice has all the good fibre taken out of it and is high in sugar and can cause blood sugar hikes).
- Avoid bread, especially white. If you really want some have it with cheese or protein.
How Do You Stop Craving?
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Before my trip I printed out lots of pictures of the most heavenly cakes, ice-cream chocolate (the kind of cakes that when you’re craving, make you panic if you do not get a slice!). I then followed the EFT technique. I tapped those cravings out. I first tapped on the craving feeling, how I was feeling desperate, on edge, anxious without the sugar and after a few days of doing this I tapped on what sugar does to the body, the side effects of too much sugar. This is how I dealt with those cravings. This worked so well. In cafes I would make myself look into the cake cabinet and they all looked like cardboard to me, either that, or not good food. I saw health issues, skin issues and all the problems associated with sugar addiction. I no longer saw yummy, scrummy cake.
My Second Challenge – Hormones
Blood Sugar -TIP
My Overall Advice
Physical Benefits Of Quitting Sugar
- More energy. Instead of wanting to stay in bed past 9am I now often get up before 8am and often before 7am now.
- Better skin tone. It may not revamp you back to your early twenties when things are nice and springy but it will prevent any further faster deterioration that can happen from too much sugar.
- I have lost over 1 stone in weight. This is without any effort and included snacking in between meals.
- Food tastes sweeter naturally. Fruit, vegetables, milk.. you will taste sweet like you have never tasted it before.
- Better mental focus. You will find you can concentrate more because you have more energy.
- Hormonal moods swings will lessen considerably.
- If you have PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) this is said to lessen symptoms also.
Emotional and Spiritual Benefits
“The biggest benefit is change.”
“Clarity, strength, balance.”
Under no circumstances should you make any changes to any medication regime that your physician has prescribed without the knowledge and permission of that physician, who is legally responsible for your primary healthcare.
The author’s responses, if any, to any comments made by others, are not, in any way, to be considered as expert moderation. Any such responses are the author’s personal opinion, and are not offered as advice.
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