I must confess…I am a sugarholic.
If it has chocolate, caramel, berries, lemon or cream in it then I want it in and around my mouth please. I grew up surrounded by family and friends, who like me, are pudding fiends. Pudding became almost a nightly occurrence with the idea that if I put something fruity with it then all the bad bits will be balanced out. Deep down I know that this isn’t the case but I needed to justify my need for sweet foods somehow.
So I had, what I am now calling, an A-Ha Moment.
I read a book called ‘Crazy, Sexy, Diet’ by Kris Carr.
This book made me take a good hard look at my own diet and realize that perhaps I could make a few changes. I decided on that day I would go sugar free for 21 days. I accepted this challenge and now 19 days later I have stayed on track and haven’t put any refined sugars in my body.
PCOS is linked to insulin resistance meaning that it can alter the way your body is able to process and deal with sugar, which can lead to diabetes. Although I am not a diabetic filling my body up with refined sugary goodness only causes my blood sugar to spike and drop quickly which influences my hormones, weight, mood and energy. Despite knowing this for a very long time I chose to do nothing about it, as I’ve gotten older I’ve realized that this attitude is ridiculous. We only get one body so we better treat it well.
What does sugar do to the body?
Once I jumped on the sugar free bandwagon I decided to look further into what sugar actually does to our bodies.
Turns out it is releases an opiate-like substance that activates the brains reward system. We take it, feel good so we want more. Other substances that do this are things like heroin…
Refined sugar has absolutely no nutritional value. It makes our digestive system more acidic which causes vitamins and minerals to leach from the body. It depletes essential nutrients like potassium, calcium and magnesium all things that we actually need. It suppresses the immune system, impairs liver function, affects aging, and contributes to dental issues.
After gathering all this information… getting rid of it was starting to seem like the best possible path to go down…
Before starting I got myself ready, I stocked the pantry and fridge full of things that I knew I would be able to eat and hid/got rid of/gave away anything that I might have been tempted by. What shocked me was how many products actually contain hidden sugars – breads and sauces especially.
I did have a few withdrawal symptoms, cravings particularly. I found that the only way I could combat them was with fresh fruit and failing that go and destroy my body with an excessively long gym session.
I have the most amazing partner who has been so supportive throughout this whole challenge. He listened to me whine about how much I want chocolate, dealt with my withdrawal mood swings, went on special supermarket trips on his way home from work to get me grapes and pineapples and helping me bake sugar free foods. He made this whole process so much easier for me by simply reminding me why I decided to undergo the challenge in the first place. Most of my friends were just as awesome. I was posting pictures of the foods I was baking on instagram and I’d get messages about how good they looked and they’d link me to sugar free recipes that they had found on the internet. My best friend even changed our normal routine dessert night for a healthy dinner.
So with only two days left on my sugar free challenge I feel a lot better. I have more energy, my skin is looking better and I’m not having any mood swings. Now I see going sugar free as a lifestyle choice, something that I want to continue to do for the foreseeable future. I don’t doubt that at some point I will have refined sugar but I no longer puddings in my life. I also am not going to treat refined sugar as a ‘treat’ or ‘reward’ again.
Surprisingly instagram was one thing that I could not have done without, that app was a sugar free haven for me. Not only did it provide a great procrastination tool during lectures there is over 100, 000 pictures with the tag #sugarfree. Not only were there food porn pictures but comments that contained the recipes and links to amazing raw-organic-sugar-free-cooking blogs that only gave me more options to create much needed chocolate replacements. Some of my favourites are:
Support is key. Insure that you surround yourself with people who believe that you can do this and are willing to help you with it when you are struggling.
Do it! Afterwards you feel great knowing that you have accomplished something that at the beginning seemed almost impossible