One week down, three to go! Or four weeks down, five to go, depending on how you look at it…
As you’ve probably heard, we are going completely sugar-free for four weeks as part of the I Quit Sugar eight week detox (2 weeks easing off sugar before, then 2 weeks slowly phasing it back in after). New to this blog? Read about it here.
So how’s it going so far?
Well, the most surprising thing I have found is how little I actually miss sugar. If you had told me as little as two months ago that I would give sugar up completely and not miss it, this fructose-crazy, self-confessed chocoholic and sugar addict would have laughed in your face. And probably fallen off her chair. Because, well, seriously?! Never. And add an ever to that never. It might have worked for you, and good on you for it, but it’s not for me. Now go away, you crazy sugar-free person, while I stuff my face with donuts.
Here I am.
There are things I sometimes wish I could have a little of. Some fruit perhaps, or a piece of dark chocolate. And I finally caught the cold that’s been going round my family and friends, which made me crave some quick sugary energy a little more. But the truth is, I don’t miss it. In fact, I think a whole lot less about food in general…
Some other thoughts I’ve jotted down in the last week include:
– Feeling pleasantly full, but no bloating! I spend my days feeling contented and very rarely craving any kind of food until the next meal. I am still snacking once, sometimes twice a day, as is suggested on the detox, but instead of biscuits and supposedly-healthy-but-actually-very-sugary-cereal-bars I have been having lots of hot drinks, crisps (baked tortillas mostly), ricecakes or sourdough bread with peanut butter or various cheeses, hummus, salted butter popcorn, and other homemade goodies…
– Thanks to this lack of bloating, my tummy is flatter than it was before pregnancy. In fact, it’s flatter than it has been in many years now! There has been some general weight loss, but that’s not really a reason I am doing this detox (just a perk!), so I haven’t been keeping an eye on exactly how much.
– Many people note that their skin improved drastically (both in terms of less spots and less wrinkles) when giving up sugar. I have noticed this, but not to the extent that others have suggested.
– The biggest change by far has been in my energy levels. It used to be that I would crash around 4/5pm (classic sugar addiction symptom), and then I would be pretty much exhausted from then until I crawled into bed around 9/10pm. But since giving up sugar, my husband and I have been blown away by my energy levels. I consistently have energy throughout the day (no crashes!), and I find that after our daughter goes to bed at 7, I still have lots of energy to get things done in the evenings that I would normally have glared at through tired eyes and left until morning. My husband has also noticed that he has more energy, and finds himself in bed some nights wondering why he went to bed as early as usual because he is still awake!
– One of the other really surprising aspects of the detox has been the effect on our budget. We had it in our minds that this month may end up costing us quite a bit more than usual as we would be eating a lot of fresh vegetables and more good fats (including more meat) than usual. What’s seriously surprised us is that while most months, by the end of the fortnightly meal plan, we are often out of the first half of the month’s money and eating into the second fortnight’s, this time we have been under-budget! Turns out that all those snacks and sugar and baking items and fruit we would keep going back for when we ran out quicker than expected really do add up! We have even been able to buy some nice red wine and lovely cheeses and vegetables and other things we don’t usually have enough money for and still come in under budget!
– A renewed love of cooking. I fell in love with baking a few years back, but I was always a big fan of cooking before that, and I have found that re-directing my creative energy to coming up with fun ways to use fresh veg and meats and cheeses and spices has given me the creativity I long for from baking while still keeping us healthy! I also treated myself to Paul Hollywood’s Bread at the start of the detox, and my husband and I have been re-focusing baking on learning to make bread and pastries better rather than sugar-laden cakes and cookies.
– Strangely, snacks and desserts have not been the hardest times without sugar as we expected, because we are usually really pleasantly full from our nice big meals. No, the only times we’ve really noticed the lack of sugar has been breakfast. Now, I have to admit, this is partly due to a lack of planning on my part. Because I know full well that first thing in the morning when the baby is up, I am unlikely to want to cook eggs and/or bacon or other filling sugar-free breakfasts. The times we have managed this, we have not only enjoyed it far more than our cereal-based breakfasts, but it has filled us up and got us through to lunch more easily. But we’ve realised that what we need to do is plan for breakfasts as well as dinners in order to be organised about it. Because with my new-found energy in the evenings, it really wouldn’t cost me much to get the slow-cooker out and chuck some overnight oats (hot or cold) in, or an overnight breakfast casserole. Or to get the ingredients for a filling last-minute cook breakfast all ready so all I have to do is turn the hob/grill on and chuck it all in.
– I’m not sure whether it is a negative or positive exactly, but this detox has also made me much more aware of what actually has sugar in it. As we have had to check labels on, well, everything, I have discovered sugar (hidden behind many many different names) in some truly unexpected places. Things labelled “sugar-free” or “no added sugar”, crisps, canned goods, and so much more. The weirdest (and possibly most infuriating) so far have been baby food (even some formulas!) and toothpaste!
That is the most irritating. My number 1 reason for cutting as much sugar as possible from our diet is for my daughter. Obesity rates have risen to over half of the population, and are continuing to rise, and nowhere is this more obvious than in children. I will do everything I can to avoid her becoming one of those kids. But I know that the best way to do that is to show her a healthy model of it. That means no crash/yo-yo dieting, no criticising my body in front of her, and choosing the healthiest lifestyle possible. And if modern nutritionists, the World Health Organisation, and doctors/scientists/endocrinologists are to be believed, then that means avoiding sugar. So for food companies to be allowed to tell me to avoid giving my daughter sugar for at least a year, and then to shove it in baby food and formulas…well, that really really annoys me!
So overall it’s going pretty well so far, and I am enjoying my newfound energy and enthusiasm, as well as feeling pretty happy with my diet and my family’s. My husband and I are currently feeling pretty sold on the low-sugar lifestyle. We’re full of energy, full of life, and just plain full!
Not bad for someone eating fats and snacks and other yummy things! 😉