I have embarked on an 8-week no sugar challenge. Taking advice from Sarah Wilson’s ‘I Quit Sugar‘ book.
Why so extreme? Well, you might remember a while back when I started Madeleine Shaw’s Get the Glow challenge, which opens with a no sugar week. I was able to go pretty much the whole week without seeking out chocolate, but after that, I slowly but surely started allowing refined sugars back in. Taking the form of a milk chocolate bar after work, something that gradually crept in and which became a habit.
I’ve started to notice just how addictive and invasive this habit is on me. Just last week, I hit a complete low, having severe mood swings and strong pangs for sugar after a couple of no sugar days. And because Peter and I are experimenting with a Slow Carb way of eating at the moment, my body has been craving sugar and salt even more. The biggest problem with sugar is that it satisfies not only our craving for sugar, but also satisfies salt and fat. Thus, if you target a craving with something salty, you’re still likely to want sugar. That was really evident with me last week as I tried to satisfy myself with red pepper and a tahini dip with Himalayan pink salt – my craving just came back.
And so, I’ve decided that I will not let myself be led by habitual, man-made cravings which are not only affecting my body but are also weakening my purse! Therefore, I’ve decided to quit sugar.
At first, I was going to do it for 2-weeks, but since reading I Quit Sugar, I’ve realised that I’ll need a longer period to allow my body to detox and re-set. Therefore, I’ll be avoiding sugar for 8 weeks. For the majority of the programme, I will be avoiding all sugars, including fruit, fruit juice, dried fruit, dates, refined chocolate (raw cacao nibs are ok), honey, maple syrup and added sugars. Once I’ve managed to curb my cravings, I’ll slowly re-introduce low fructose fruits such as blueberries and grapefruit. I’ll also, if I’m strong enough, will allow myself 85% dark chocolate on occasion.
Tell me why again?! When we were hunting for our food, sugar wasn’t as abundantly available as it is now, instead it was the occasional berry here and there. Now, it’s nigh on impossible to avoid it, with many people eating way above the ‘recommended’ daily allowance.
And for me, I’m finding extremely hard not to give in to my cravings, I feel like it’s spiralling out of control. I want to be free from the grasp that sugar has over me. I find it particuarly frustrating as Peter and I have managed to transform our day to day meals into something really healthy, eating heaps of veggies and avoiding refined sauces etc. but I still struggle mentally on the sugar front.
So, because I know that I’ll find it pretty difficult, I’m going to help myself by being completely transparent on my blog, sharing with you how I get on everyday. Through the highs and (I’m sure) the sugar lows!
My guidelines so far (although I’m sure they may evolve):
- Week 1 – 5 – no fruit, dried fruit, chocolate, juice, honey or sweeteners, and avoiding added sugar.
- Week 6-8 – a slow and infrequent introduction of low fructose fruit and if necessary for baking, the use of rice syrup.
Read my week 1 diary here!