Yesterday was the last day of my 8 weeks of no sugar. I made it.
I feel I ought to admit that it wasn’t actually hard at all though. Not once did I feel real withdrawal cravings or any symptoms like headaches or grumpiness. In fact, while occasionally I would gladly have gobbled a biscuit or two if I could, I’ve only really noticed good things since giving up the white stuff.
As I mentioned in my mid-way post, I really have noticed a vast increase of my attention span, and a notable improvement with my temper. It’s actually pretty scary to think that when you are eating can really affect your behaviour that much, but at the same time, it’s something we all know, deep down.
In the second half of the challenge/experiment I didn’t notice any additional benefits, but I did notice a change in my tastes. Two weeks ago I succumbed to ordering a cider on a hot afternoon in the city. The brand, Bilpin, has been my favourite since my birthday last November, but that day, when I took my first swig of Bilpin, I was disgusted! It really did taste like the most sickly apple juice, and I could not take more than three sips before handing it over to my boyfriend and ordering a glass of wine.
I also snuck a sip of my boyfriend’s vanilla milkshake a few weeks back as well, as we sat in a cafe waiting for our lunch. I loved milkshakes pre-IQS, especially strawberry ones. But this one was also far too sweet for my palette.
Then finally, this weekend, I visited a Hog’s Breath Cafe, where a good friend ordered a monster 400 g steak slab, slathered in a BBQ-style sauce. He offered for me to try some, so I carved a small piece, aware that I wasn’t really allowed the sauce, and took a bite: Beef Cake. It literally tasted like a cow-based dessert. Gross!
This is now day-1 of no rules and so far I’ve eaten two Weetbix with milk and chia seeds and a sugarless latte. And you know what? They were sweet enough already. We’ll see how the rest of the day goes, but I don’t see myself pigging out on Haribo for a looooong time.
And that, really, was the point. I’ve kissed sugar-dependency ‘good-bye’. Ha!
Edit: I just ate a Kingston biscuit. It didn’t taste overly sweet, but did have a bit of a weird aftertaste. And at 8.2 g of sugar per biccy, that was almost as much sugar as I’ve been eating in total per day for 56 days. Oh God – time to see how my body reacts!
This isn’t a craft, but it is an experiment. Therefore I want to write up some of my findings here on my blog.
25 days ago I decided to quit sugar
Before you scream “fad diet” “you need sugar” and “crazy person” at me, let me go into a little more detail. Firstly this is just an eight-week program, not forever. I’ve always had a sweet tooth and adored sugary treats. I just accepted that this was the way I was built and it’s okay because I don’t actually drink sugary drinks, I’m not a big drinker, and I do like salad.
Not good enough.
In the last few months I’ve noticed a dependency. Sugar on my porridge; sugar in my tea; mid-afternoon chocolate; late afternoon biscuit; ketchup/barbeque sauce with everything; and always, always, pudding after dinner. I tried cutting back, but failed, allowing myself exceptions for any damned excuse. So when I heard about the I Quit Sugar program I decided to give it a go. I’m an all or nothing kind of a gal, and it was time to go cold turkey.
The other thing you should know is that I’m not being a nazi about it. I’m avoiding any and all ADDED sugar, and not eating anything obviously sugary – including fruit. I’ve switched to a low sugar bread and have started checking the labels of any food I buy, discarding anything with more than about 4 g of sugar per 100 g. But I do have the odd tomato, sweet potato, milk, and stuff, and I am drinking wine (there is no frutose in red wine, and that’s the bad stuff).
Today, 25 days in, I thought I’d see just how much sugar I am having.
9 grams today came from sweet potato and two cherry tomatoes in my salad (3 and 1 g), onion and light sour cream in my Stroganoff (1 and 2 g), some rice crackers (1 g) and a handful of Smiths chips I succumbed to at Friday Beers in the office (1 g).
So it’s not completely gone, but it is most definitely an improvement.
So how is it going?
Well! It’s been surprisingly easy to do really. It certainly helps that I know that I can make no exceptions, but honestly my cravings haven’t been particularly noticable. I thought the biggest problem would be having my tea and coffee sans sugar, but in actual fact I quite enjoy them without now. My tastes are changing, thank goodness!
It’s not been a complete breeze, however.
The biggest difficulty is breakfast. What do you have for breakfast when you can’t have sugar-loaded cereal/yoghurt/a bowl of fruit, but don’t want eggs every flippin’ morning? My problem exactly. The IQS cookbook have a few suggestions, but mostly they involve Stevia, which I’m trying to avoid as I’m worried it will make me crave sugar more. I’ve discovered that I actually like Vegemite on toast, which was a shock to my English, Marmite-loving tongue, but I do seem to be getting through a lot of eggs.
And how am I feeling?
In many ways I just feel like myself, but a little less obsessed with when I can have my next snack. However when I put some thought into it I realised that there is a little more going on:
- I have a longer fuse. Sure, things still piss me off, but rather than fly off the handle, leaving a trail of devastation and mean words, I seem to be way better at just stating what is wrong, and why I’m annoyed.
- I have a much better concentration span. I’ve been getting stuck in to some nice projects and losing track of time, rather than doing ten minutes before losing interest and wondering how long I can last before visiting the vending machine.
- I am enjoying other food more. It used to be almost like the savoury was just the boring part before the nice, sugary food. But now I’m discovering a real love of proper meal-type food.
- My teeth are cleaner.
- I’ve lost close to 2 kg without trying.
- I’m actually sleepy at normal-person bed time, not buzzing until 1 am.
- I can’t handle my booze. No, really. It’s almost as if sugar in your system cushions the effects of alcohol, and now I can’t handle it. Last weekend, after a couple of glasses of vino, I very suddenly went from totally OK to TANKED. My usual ‘that’s enough now‘ guage had broken and the next day I had turned into a whimpering hangover baby.
- Similarly, caffine never used to affect me. It does now.
So that’s where I am at, almost half way in. Supposedly the worst cravings are yet to come, but I kind of find that unlikely at this stage. I will find out and report back in about 30 days. In the meantime, to anyone reading this thinking they’d like to make some changes, start by reading nutrition labels. You’ll be AMAZED how much sugar is in stuff. Then spend a bit of time at the supermarket finding better versions of stuff. It will actually help a lot.
Things have been pretty quiet on the craft front lately, for various reasons including mentally busy work, a skiing trip, and two assessment deadlines. But I have been meaning to make a few posts for a while now, covering some things I once crafted a loonggg time ago.
Zombie Apocalypse, 2010
A few years back I saw one of those Facebook status games on an old school-friend’s profile. It looked fun and I was bored so I decided to copy it to my status.
Look to your right. Whatever object you see there is your designated weapon in the upcoming Zombie Apocalypse. Comment on this post to tell me what it is.
After getting over 20 replies I had the brain wave that this would make a pretty cool cartoon, so I set about the epic task of drawing everyone wielding their weapons, ready to defend against a brain-thirsty zombie horde. I was quite pleased with the finished article. Check it out (click to view big version):
And here are the Facebook responses I drew:
A few weeks later Vince posted a short vid onto his YouTube account that he sneakily took while I was doing the drawings. I was pretty embarrassed at first, but he assured me that it was just a chance to practice his editing skills. Now I’m quite glad it exists
Until next time, perhaps you too should consider your strategy for the zombie apocalypse…?!
I couple of weeks back Jenny on Geekcrafts posted a link to a tutorial for how to make your own dwarf beard. Upon seeing the instructable, my boyfriend and I looked at one another for a second, then made for the door to go and buy wool. Later that evening, we had our very own beard.
I have now received several requests to make more of these beards. I only wish I’d waited until Christmas to do this, as it would make for some awesome and fairly inexpensive presents. And would also be brilliant timing for the Hobbit. In any case, I thoroughly recommend this make. Just try not to use itchy wool.
I’ve really been enjoying making felt plushies lately. Something I really ought not to be spending all my time on at the moment as I have Uni work to do, but let’s pretend that’s not a problem for a moment. A couple of days ago I thought I’d have a go at creating a Purple Tentacle from Day of the Tentacle and I am SO PLEASED with how it turned out.
The trickiest part was sewing the suckers into the cone. The sucker edges are just a long strip of felt, folded in half. I folded the base edge around a bit of cord to keep it nice and round – sort of like piping.
Want to make your own? Well, I whipped up a pattern for you. I can’t be bothered to write full instructions, but use your noggin and you should be able to work it out. If you have any questions or get stuck just comment below.
I didn’t get to play Day of the Tentacle when it was first out, but my boyfriend was a big fan, and we played through it together a few years ago. They don’t make em like that anymore! I kind of wish they did. Follow this link to watch some guy play through the whole thing.
Remember Blur’s music video for Coffee & TV? It had that cute Milk Carton character that goes for a wander around the big scary city. Well, I decided to make a felt plush version.
I did most of it by cutting out the parts freehand, whilst half distracted watching my new TV love Traffic Cops, so I’m amazed it turned out as well as it did. He’s so cute! I even put small magnets in his hands so that he can pick up metal things (like my sewing needles!) and hang off the fridge door.
If you would like to make your own felt Milky plushie, I drew up the shapes I used and made a downloadable patten: Milky the Milk Carton Plushie Pattern.
- Cut out patten from felt.
- Sew together limb parts, turn inside out and stuff with fluff.
- Attach wave pattern and face to the carton panels – you can stitch on like I did, or glue if you are impatient. I also embroidered the eyebrows. You can also add the word “mik” as in the video version, but I got lazy.
- Cut cross shapes in panels and insert limbs. Stitch into place securely.
- Sew together carton sides and bottom – outside in – leaving the top of the carton open.
- Turn right side out and stuff with fluff up to the first fold line.
- Fold the top like a milk carton. The pattern shows the fold lines to help you.
- Sew closed by stitching along the top of the blue wave section to keep the folds closed.
Let me know if you make one. In the meantime, let me take you back to 1999!
This one I’m pretty pleased with.
I set the camera going whilst Dave and I spend about two hours cleaning out our garage to make room for our brand new car (eeeee!). This is a big task, which you will know if you’ve ever read any of Dave’s blog posts on his crazy garage projects. Anyway, for nearly that whole time my camera sat clicking away every two minutes, capturing the spin of the Earth above our unit block.
I then also made a quick animation of it. Check it out:
Questacon in Canberra is kind of awesome. A building filled with fun hands-on science demonstrations for big and regular sized kids alike. There were floating magnets, flying scarves, water pumps, maths machines, a shaking earthquake room, a twister generator, an upside-down human swing, sea monsters, harmonographs and as many knobs and buttons to play with as any excited loony could dream of.
Whilst there, I took a peek in the gift shop, and picked up one of those magic puzzle cube things – the kind you sort-of turn inside out – with facts about the solar system on it. Whilst playing with it back home, I got wondering if I could make one of my own.
A quick Google later and I’d stumbled upon a pattern for making a papercraft version. So, as with most things, I decided to take the pattern and “geek it up” to create an Avengers Magic Puzzle Cube.
My cube features Thor, Captain America, Iron Man, The Hulk, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Nick Fury, Agent Coulson, Agent Hill, Dr. Selvig, Loki and the Avengers logo. Yep – 12 images on one cube. Well, it is magic. Here’s a quick vid of it in action, in case you still don’t know what I’m talking about.
Want to make your own? I’ve uploaded the pattern I used – see the links below. There aren’t any instructions, you just need to remember that each strip makes two adjoining cubes, and the labelled tabs then connect them all together: