Saturday, 14 July 2012

Sugar Free?

I did it! 5 days! I got through the week minus the sugar! (Ok. I cheated once, but that was a well learned lesson. Read on).

Two to three weeks ago, I was speaking to a friend about her road of sugar-free. She had been going for over a month and was feeling awesome. As I ate cupcake upon cupcake of treats at the baby shower we were attending, she snacked on fruits and vegetables. I admired her will power...mostly because the cupcakes were amazing.

Then friend number 2 went sugar free...she was 2 weeks strong. Then friend number 3 jumped on board and had a solid week under her belt.

I've had trouble processing sugars (verified by naturopath's tests), but it wasn't until this past week that I really noticed it. I've been feeling bloated and yucky. Then on Sunday, I planned for my sugar free week. Now, I'm not talking about abandoning natural sugars all together. I have nothing against fruit, carrots and the likes of natural sugars found in quality foods. I'm talking about the unnecessarily added sugars I was taking in constantly. This challenge wasn't about reducing calories to lose weight, it was about seeing if I could kick the constant craving for sweet that I would have after every meal, first thing in the morning, or mid day.

When I thought about sugar free, there were a few "hiccups" that I was concerned about getting over.

1.) I LOVE cereal for breakfast. I'd eat a bowl of mini-wheats, cheerios, just right, shreddies.... first thing when I got up. I needed to figure out what I would do as an alternative. I remembered this recipe that Hol:Fit had reposted for "Overnight CrockPotPorridge" for a delicious morning meal and made myself a batch for the week. I took an extra few minutes and would fry an egg and have a plain yogurt with fruit, or I made myself a breakfast shake. And as I sit here right now, I'm not even missing my cereal.

2.) I have a giant vat of candy in my office. There's two reasons for this. One, I like candy. Two, when people come and vent stuff to me in my office, I like to provide them with candy as I'm not a therapist and often cannot help solve their problems. So, the question was, do I put the jar of candy in someone else's office? Or do I learn to avoid temptation.

This is where I failed. The candy was not a problem for me. I didn't crave it all week. But the bag of peanut butter cups unfortunately were. On Tuesday I ate about 3 of them and IMMEDIATELY felt gross after. My stomach started to hurt and I realized it wasn't worth it.

So, what helped me get through?

1.) Homemade zucchini bread. My zucchini in my garden is starting to come at a rapid pace, and finding things to do with it, other than give it away, is a great adventure. I made zucchini bread, minus the oil and sugar. I replaced the oil and sugar with fresh pineapple and applesauce. Was it the same? Probably not. But it still tastes pretty darn good!

2.) Veggie juice. My juicer broke! And I immediately got on Kijiji and found myself another one! Having a cup of veggie juice such as Hol:Fit's Green Lemonade or Pink Immunity Booster helped reduce my sugar craving. Does it taste like kool-aid...absolutely not. But when you are putting handfuls of kale, parsley and ginger in a juicer, do you really expect it to?

3.) Fruit: Costco had pre-cut mangoes and pineapple that I purchased and it saved my life. What an easy way to have a sweet and healthy dessert or snack during the day.

4.) Water: I'm surprised at both how much water I have craved this week and how much I have drank! I don't like the taste of water and I rarely am thirsty. But this week, I feel like I've doubled my intake. I typically put slices of lemon or lime in my water to disguise the taste, but I purchased an orange and a grapefruit, sliced them up, and have been using them to flavour my water. It's delicious!

So that's been my week. Is my plan perfect? Not even close. Could someone dissect my nutritional choices and point out better ones? Probably at every meal. But to me it's the little victories. And I feel pretty proud of this one.

Now it's off to another baby shower. This time I get to be the one avoiding the cupcakes! Wish me luck!