As February 1st loomed, I
skimmed re-read the detox chapters of Sarah’s I Quit Sugar in preparation and came across this sentence when she talks about starting to cut back relatively slowly for the first couple of weeks:
“Your gut will be in a better place with the adjustment and the cravings will be milder. Stick to this experimental ‘I’m just playing with the idea’ phase for one or two weeks. But not too long. You don’t want to get bored with the experiment.“
See, we’ve been cutting back on sugar for about 3 weeks now. And I have been starting to get a little bored with the ‘trying it out’ phase. I’ve seen some serious effects in terms of losing weight, lack of stomach pains, no bloating after meals, more energy, improved concentration. And I’ve eaten sugar a few times just to have my body let me know it’s not happy within minutes. I’m convinced.
So, we’ve decided to jump straight into the ‘cold turkey’ phase – the four weeks completely without sugar – straightaway. It seems logical instead of playing around with the idea again for a couple more weeks when we already know we want to do it. So we are having a “fructose-free February”. And then the first two weeks of March will be when we start phasing a little fruit and low-fructose things back in. Over those two weeks and beyond, we will be seeing how much sugar our bodies can cope with without getting hooked, and we will be finding our perfect balance for the future.
We don’t want to be the annoying people who make it incredibly difficult when eating at friends’ houses or eating out (which is actually easier than I thought!). We don’t want to make ourselves and our daughter fussy eaters. That is not the aim. In fact, those are instances where we plan on relaxed rules and occasional indulgence. But we do want to aim for moderation (the WHO’s RDA if possible), and at least cutting back significantly on our previous intake of sugar.
On a bit of a sidenote, I was horrified to discover a few days ago that the RDA on a box of sugar-free cereals I picked up said 90g! As I explained in my previous sugar-related post, the RDA of nutritionists/doctors/scientists as well as the World Health Organization is 50g, and the suggestion is that that be halved. After doing a bit of research, I discovered that although this is the case and is what the NHS suggests, UK food companies can use 90g as their RDA on labels because this is the RDA for so-called “total sugars”, including about half dairy/fruit/”natural” sugars and half “added” sugars. And it doesn’t matter if what they have in the product is “natural” or “added”. Other than allowing them to label a product “sugar-free” if it contains so-called “natural” sugars! As a result, if you are trying to stick to the WHO’s RDA of 25g, as I hope to at least be close to, when you see a label that says 25% of your RDA of sugar, it is in fact almost your entire day’s worth of sugar! And even if you are sticking to old guidelines, it is almost half!
I am furious that our government is allowing food companies to get away with this – no wonder we have an obesity problem in this country!
Anyway, rant over… and back to the detox.
A day in, obviously there is not much I can tell you so far! But I’m feeling great and have spent some of our budget on some savoury treats to help motivate me. Our fridge and cupboards are full of some favourite vegetables, full-fat dairy products (including some yummy cheeses), savoury biscuits, coconut milk and cream, red wine, olives, sourdough and rye breads, chickpeas (for hummus), eggs, lots of nice teas, coffees and cacao powder, and lots more exciting foods.
Looking ahead a bit, I am not 100% convinced by the fruit argument. Yes, it is still fructose. And yes, while I am trying to curb my addiction to fructose, I should avoid it in all forms. That much I agree with. And it is true that I am planning on cutting back on the fruit so I am eating it no more than once a day, and always whole.
But that is the thing – from my research, it seems that a lot of doctors and nutrition experts are saying that fruit is not in and of itself bad (mind you Sarah says this too). It is just that it must be eaten whole where possible. Because without the fibre that is found wherever fructose is found in nature (sugar cane is stripped of fibre to make sugar), then the fructose simply will not be digested properly and be dangerous to our health (particularly to our liver, brain and overall weight gain).
I think this is what Sarah is also trying to tell us, but fruit does sometimes seem to get a bit of a bad rep on the I Quit Sugar program!
So after the detox, I plan on eating fruit, but trying to limit myself to a piece a day (if even that), and trying to eat it whole as much as possible. I will primarily stick to low-fructose fruits like berries and citrus fruits, peaches, nectarines and melons, but I may occasionally go for high-fructose fruits like banana, apples and grapes as a treat. Fruit juice is going to be tough to give up, but one glass is what my daily intake should be, so it is just not an option!
If you are interested in seeing what some of the sugar-free goodies I will be enjoying after the detox (and possibly even a couple during) are like, check out my Pinterest board: Sugar-Free Goodness.
And for a little further advice, read articles such as this one.
See you next week with another update! 🙂