*Five Minute Friday is an initiative set up by Lisa-Jo Baker over at Surprised by Motherhood. It has now been taken over by Kate over at Heading Home. The basic premise is to take the word Kate gives and write, non-stop for 5 minutes. Then you stop and post. Read more about it here. This October, I am taking part in a series based on this called “31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes”, in which we commit to writing from the prompt as usual, but everyday rather than just on a Friday. Read more here.
The 4pm sugar crash. That’s what made me face up to the reality of a potential sugar addiction back at the start of 2015. I know many of you read my many long posts on our process of detoxing from sugar through the I Quit Sugar program.
So as we find ourselves almost a year down the line – how are we doing? What does our sugar consumption look like? Has it changed?
I completely credit I Quit Sugar with changing our life for the better in terms of our family’s health, and I think without their detox program we would have struggled to cut back on sugar long-term as we needed to break the addiction we didn’t even realise was there. Having said that, I would say that the diet we have now varies a little from some more militant IQS followers.
Over the year I have been keenly following the news and health experts’ reports on sugar, as well as reading books such as Dr Robert Lustig’s Fat Chance and watching Jamie Oliver’s recent Sugar Rush documentary. As a result of all of these things, along with simply figuring out through trial and error what works best for our family – where our limits are, what helps or hinders the process, when that crash returns!
Our main lasting changes from IQS have been keeping our breakfast as low-sugar as possible, and cutting out fizzy drinks and juice almost entirely. But we have decided with our busy lives that the best for us is to (a) live the low-sugar lifestyle 80/20 (so we don’t worry too much – within reason – about our sugar consumption on weekends or special occasions), and (b) live according to the WHO and general doctors’ and experts’ recent guidelines. This means we try to keep our “free sugars” (added sugar and naturally occurring sugars in juice, honey and syrups) limited to 25g (about 6-7 tsp) a day, especially during the week. It also means that we are happy to eat whole (and even occasionally pureed/smoothied) fruits without worry, although we try to prioritise vegetables over fruit when we can. We do still have treats, but we see them as just that – treats – and if we are craving them during the week I will usually just make something sugar-free (often using xylitol).
We have periods where we fall back on old habits, but I would say we are fairly good at sticking to this most of the time (hence the 80/20 advice). Partly because when we have lapsed, we have felt so dreadful for it! We are fairly strict about it with our daughter, too, who does not get any juices, or sugar other than a couple of pieces of fruit in a day. And we feel much better for it. Our family are healthy, happy, rested and generally feeling like we would not look back.
Hopefully with all the media and science around this issue recently, something more national/international/global will be happening on this problem, but we feel happy that at least our family are continuing to take little steps for our own health, and hopefully inspiring others to do the same. 🙂