Week 3 of the sugar-detox is over – and the final week countdown has begun…
I’m looking forward to a handful of raspberries and a few squares of dark chocolate, I have to say!
I’m really starting to feel ready to phase sugar back in now, but at the same time, I’ve been surprised by how much my tastebuds have been changing this week. We went away with some friends over the week, which was so lovely, and they were amazingly considerate and avoided sugar in the food they made for us. But when we cooked dinner one night, I realised I had completely forgotten to think about a pudding for them. That’s usually what I plan all my meals around and the first thing I make, but I’ve just got so used to not having one, that it didn’t even occur to me!
I’m eating more at mealtimes (mostly in the form of protein/good fats/vegetables and plenty of fibre), snacking only when I really want to (once a day, if that, usually) on things like cheese, vegetables, hummus, crackers, rice cakes, tortilla crisps, etc., and I don’t feel I am missing out on anything. In fact, the few little things I’ve tasted that contain any sugar at all are starting to taste far too sweet for me!
Eating out hasn’t been as tough as I thought, but it does really depend where we go. If we are at a coffee shop/cafe, it’s often harder than in a restaurant where they have choices of meats and veggie dishes and roasts and cheese boards.
My husband and I have been talking a bit about how to phase sugar back in and how much we want to bring into our diet as we come out of the detox. We have settled on a small amount that should fit nicely into the WHO’s recommendations for the most part. This will include a daily piece of fruit (probably as a dessert), a few pieces of 85% dark chocolate a week, jam/marmalade on toast in the mornings once or twice a week (preferably homemade with lower sugar content), some low-sugar cereals (like Weetabix/Corn Flakes/dried-fruit-and-sugar-free muesli/sugar-free nut and seed granola) a few times a week, a few sugar-free puddings each month, and occasional “normal” cakes/cookies/etc. once or twice a month, probably mostly when we are with friends or have people round.
One thing I have been pleasantly surprised by is how much easier it is to live sugar-free than I thought. Don’t get me wrong – things HAVE to change because sadly we live in a world where they cram sugar into everything from sauces and pizzas to baby food and toothpaste!). And after reading Fat Chance: The Bitter Truth About Sugar by Dr Robert Lustig (which is AMAZING!), I am fired up to do my bit in trying to get the government to do something about the abysmal state of our food and its effect on obesity, particularly the way it hits the poor more than anyone else.
However, I was surprised to realize that I have not done anymore cooking than I usually do (in fact, I’ve spent less time in the kitchen than usual because I’ve been baking less). The dishes I’ve chosen have been mostly simple with a few real food ingredients or have been slow-cooker dishes where the crockpot does the work for me. Yes, eating sugar-free requires cooking from scratch, but I was doing that anyway for the most part, and it is possible to still get dinner on the table in very little time (and if you have a slow cooker, with minimal effort!).
On top of this, we have actually been under-budget! I’ve been discovering to my delight that the supermarket’s own range of products often contains less sugar than higher-end/branded products, as the way they add to the flavour and make them seem ‘nicer’ is to add sugar! I’ve also been buying lots of fresh frozen vegetables, cheaper cuts of grass-fed meat (the majority of lamb and cows in the UK are grass-fed) that can be cooked to perfection in the slow cooker and cheaper fish like mackerel that are actually better for us.
So on the whole, I have been finding this sugar detox an amazing experience. And if I fall off the wagon and start to feel myself getting hooked on sugar again somewhere down the line, I wouldn’t hesitate to do a mini-detox again. Because it has been good for my health, my wallet, and my life in general.
So here’s to a motivated final week of no sugar, and to a slow easing back into a small amount of sugar after that!
If you are interested in learning more about the sugar detox yourself, then get hold of a copy of Sarah Wilson’s I Quit Sugar (excellent overview and the detox plan) and Dr Robert Lustig’s Fat Chance: The Bitter Truth About Sugar (which is more in depth and more scientific).
See you on the other side…