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.
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.