No Added/Processed Sugar for 30 Days
It’s been 30 days of having little to no processed sugar in my diet. I finally did it! My sister and friend both mentioned that they were going to cut processed sugar from their diet and I figured I might as well try it out too. They’ve done it before and had great results and I’ve toyed with the idea but knew I needed someone else to do it with. I told them that I would give them each $100 if I didn’t go through with it. Initially I said $20 but then realized I don’t mind giving up $40 to eat cake. So $100 each it was.
My Relationship with Sugar
I like to eat sweets occasionally, but when I do, I go to town. If I buy ice cream, I will eat the whole thing. If I buy a bag of chips, I need to eat the whole bag. I feel so full that I don’t eat dinner. I love vanilla and honey Greek yogurt- it’s better than candy. I love ketchup. I love cookies. I love mangos and cherries. Turns out, there’s a lot of sugar in everything!
My Journey Without Sugar
The first few days were the worst because there were so many social events in January. At one point, I went to my husband’s work and ripped through their cupboards looking for food and treats that didn’t have any sugar in it. Everything I picked up had at least 10 g of sugar per serving- the granola bars, the honey covered nuts, the candy and chocolates. It didn't help that the office was filled with treats from the winter holidays. In the end, I didn't find anything in that kitchen that didn't have any added sugar- execpt from some questionnable cheese. I was grumpy and very irritable.
After a week, I didn’t have those intense cravings. I think the idea of not allowing yourself to have something is like saying, don't think of a pink elephant. It's just on your mind. But it eventually fades away. One of the things that really helped me was rephrasing it from, "I'm not allowed to eat chocolate/candy/cookies/cake/sugar etc" to "I get to eat REAL food that comes from the ground, that someone tended to and cared for and is GOOD for my body." When I thought about it in a more positive way, I was much more happier eating my veggies than didn't care about what I was missing out on. Another thing that helped with the cravings was to eat or drink water. When I ate real food or drank water, the craving would dissapte after 20 minutes. It turns out that those cravings were just my body telling me that I needed to replenish my nutrient stores and rehydrate.
Several weeks ago, I went to a friend’s birthday party at Red Robins and I felt a bit lame because I ordered a salad without dressing and everyone else had burgers with onion ring towers, freckled lemonade and all you can eat fries. Part of me wanted to say F*ck it and just join the party, but I really wanted to stick it out and finish the month. I felt a lot better during that dinner because 1 hour later, everyone was KO’d. Some people (I won’t mention who) looked lethargic and sick from all the food and sugar they just consumed, and I felt great! Suckers!
What Did I Learn From Having No Sugar?
- My in-laws made a spinach/mushroom/goat cheese salad with Caesar salad one night and I ate it without the Caesar dressing. I sat there, tasting and feeling the spinach and mushroom in my mouth. I started to appreciate and enjoy the taste and texture of real food because there wasn’t any dressing or sauce competing for my attention.
- I loved ketchup, but for every tablespoon of ketchup there was about 1 teaspoon of sugar. I was so sad when I couldn’t eat my fries with ketchup. I stopped having fries all together because it didn’t taste like anything anymore. I felt empty. Eventually I found this great looking recipe on T-Nation for sugar free ketchup but never got around to trying it. In fact, I actually don’t crave ketchup anymore, so I’ll doubt that I’ll add it back into my diet.
- There is a big difference between dark chocolate at 70%, 85% , 90% and 99%. I was allowed dark chocolate (as per my sister and friend) because in small quantities, it’s actually good for you… and I don’t have to be THAT strict. Let’s not be completely crazy.
70% Dark Chocolate: 12g of sugar (4 squares)
85% Dark Chocolate : 5g of sugar (4 squares)
90% Dark Chocolate: 2g of sugar (3 squares)
99% Dark Chocolate: 1 g of sugar (whole bar)
- We used to drink a lot of Almond Breeze but stopped buying it because it was so watery. We switched over to So Nice and eventually started making our own. When we didn’t make our own, we just ran across the street to pick up almond milk for breakfast. When I looked at the label of Almond Breeze, I was surprised to see that it had 9g of sugar per 325 ml. So Nice Almond milk (unsweetened) had no sugar added so now we know which brand to buy if we are in a pinch.
- Yogurt with flavouring has a lot more sugar than the ones without flavouring. When my husband and I compared 2% plain yogurt to 2% vanilla yougurt. It was a difference of 18g of sugar per cup of yogurt. My huband was like, "Well, 22g (that's how much was in the vanilla yougurt) isn't that much, right?" Wishful thinking Steve.
I cup of Honey Greek Yogurt = 2.2Krispy Kreme Doughnuts (22 g of sugar)
Did You Feel Better Without Sugar?
I’ve heard of people saying that they feel like they have a lot more energy going off the white stuff, and I would agree. I think it was mostly due to the fact that I was providing my body with the appropriate nutrients instead of these simple sugars. Also knowing that I was feeding my body with whole foods made me psychologically happier.
Did I Lose Weight?
Nope, in fact I gained a few pounds :) Instead of filling up on sugary snacks, I ate real food, food that my body can break down and utilize. I ate more often because as soon as I felt that urge to eat that donut or chocolate that our patients brought into the clinic, I tried to eat something healthy. So I ended up eating more and more often. I have a pretty fast metabolism so I like the idea of gaining a few more pounds. Don’t hate ;) I’m sure my metabolism will catch up to me soon enough and I’ll wish I could take it back.
What Did I Miss the Most While on this Diet?
- At the beginning it was ketchup but now I don’t care for ketchup. It was a hard breakup but I’m SO over ketchup.
I didn’t realize I missed sushi. I didn’t crave sushi during this whole thing but when I had it again yesterday, I realized sushi is amazing and it’s not realistic to cut out sushi. I want it in my life and I’m happy with that decision.
So What’s My Next Step?
I think for me to continue this trend, I would have to make it realistic. I’m not going to set boundaries or limit myself. If I really want something, like a piece of cake, I’ll have it and not feel guilty. The funny thing is, I don't even want anything sweet right now. I thought on February 1, 2016, I would binge out and have a sugar pie and eat all the sugar that came my way but it wasn't the case.
If you've cut out sugar from your diet or are thinking about it, comment below. I would love to hear about it !
Jessie Wong, Vancouver physiotherapist