I Quit Sugar

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.

Still there, but way down.

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. My teeth are cleaner.
  5. I’ve lost close to 2 kg without trying.
  6. I’m actually sleepy at normal-person bed time, not buzzing until 1 am.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.

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