Sugar Free

While I was in Australia, I came across two books by Sarah Wilson that I heard about on a health food blog I follow called Eating Bird Food.  The books were called I Quit Sugar and I Quit Sugar For Life.  The books had only been published in Australia, but one was going to be published in North America in late April/early May.  With all the flights we had, there was plenty of time sitting around airports and browsing the book stores and, eventually, I bought them.  Seriously, look at her, who wouldn’t want to look that healthy…and tan!

It ended up being a lot of my reading while I was there.  The more I read the more I wondered: Could I do it?  How long would I last?  What sacrifices would I have to make? I can’t give up my favourite bakeries!  They’ll never forgive me!  I LOVE SWEETS!  The panic it caused in my mind made me realize that perhaps I had a wee bit of a sugar problem and that it needed to be addressed.  I had always had a hard time with afternoon cravings or wanting dessert instead of dinner.  And these thoughts shouldn’t be more powerful than your will to control them.

So after eating all the desserts I could on our trip and finishing our last meal with a heavenly dessert of lemon panna cotta, I quit sugar.  I really did.

I am in my sixth week of an eight week program of no sugar (processed or fast absorbing, like honey), and strangely it hasn’t been that hard.  I miss things, but I don’t crave them. The real challenge was finding non-sugar food to eat.  Sugar is in everything, from packaged meat, to bread, in practically every cereal and drinks.  I felt hungry all the time and bacon, while a good non-sugar option, couldn’t be had for every meal. Sarah’s books are great though, they have a good balance of recipes for savoury and sweet using alternatives like Stevia and brown rice syrup, which are natural or slow absorbing, so you don’t get a sugar rush.

This first week I had headaches, the third week I had some vision problems, (this was from taking fruit out for a couple weeks), but everything went back to normal in the fourth week. My body finally is adjusted.  I haven’t had any strong cravings, and never came close to breaking.  I just say no to everything with sugar, it is far easier than telling myself I can have something sugary once a week, there are too many decisions and temptations that way.

I miss my favourite things, like Earnest ice cream, and Chunky Monkey Bread from Trafiq, but they will be there when I’m done and for years to come.  I’ve learned that I don’t have to have my favourite things every week (I won’t die!), that I can enjoy fruit, or sugar free desserts and be really satisfied.

People have been asking why I am doing it?  To lose weight (I haven’t), to cut back (yes), will it be forever (no).  I want to get through the eight week program, and make sure I come out not being controlled by my sugar urges.  I want to enjoy ice cream and pie, but not feel like I need it every day, more like once a week.  

In Wilson’s books, I have found some really great recipes including Paleo Choc-coco Muggin, Cashewy Chia Pudding and Vietnamese Chicken Curry.  She also has loads of great recipes on her website.  I’m hoping to make her Raw Chocolate and Raspberry Cheesecake soon.

Courtesy of I Quit Sugar
Courtesy of I Quit Sugar

I will always have a sweet tooth, but at least now I know that there are good alternatives to satisfy me and that it is possible to tame the beast that my mind can be.

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