Saturday, 23 February 2013

Half way there…

Unbelievably, we’re already half way through this sugar-quitting experiment!

I am becoming used to being a sugar free person. It’s not so hard for me anymore to decline offers of sweetly iced cakes and cherry ripe slice at playgroup, and I don’t feel like cheating. I’m actually quite happy being sugar free.

I think I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t feel like I’m missing out anymore. I’ve found enough alternatives for the things I love to keep me happy. I can still bake and take my own goodies to playgroup. I’m finding incredible ideas all over the internet for ways I can still eat my favourites, like ice-cream, and even lemon meringue pie. If you’re interested you can check out my I Quit Sugar board on Pinterest to see my collection.

I’m loving coconut – I talked about it in my last post, but it’s a great snack to tide you over, a nice little sweet-hit when you feel like one and so versatile. This last two weeks we’ve been experimenting with some delicious recipes, including granola (made from coconut flakes, oats, nuts, seeds, rice malt syrup and coconut oil or melted butter – just mix and cook in a slow oven until toasty. Delicious!) and an incredible sugar-free grain-free gluten-free cheesecake. We actually made that twice for two different social gatherings last week to share with people who do eat sugar and it was a hit both times. You can find the recipe for that here. So much yum!


I sprinkled some of the delicious granola over the top of this one, and sprinkled a handful of blueberries onto the cheese mixture. I think it would also be nice with a little lime. So many possibilities!!

Peter is struggling a little more. He has stayed strong, but because he has cakes and sweeties offered to him at work pretty much every day he’s had to fight a bigger will-power battle than I have. Last week though when we had dinner with friends, he allowed himself a small piece of super-rich Nigella Lawson brownie, and struggled to finish it. He commented to me how surprised he was – the old Pete would have easily eaten three or four pieces, whereas now he was quite content with just the one.

I’m again surprised at the change to our tastebuds. I can taste the sweetness in things that I haven’t before. Prior to this I have always had sugar in my coffee. Obviously I have given this up, and I honestly don’t even notice. I had read in Sarah Wilson’s book that she says she can taste the sweetness of the lactose (which is a sugar also) and scoffed, but it really is true. The milk in my coffee tastes sweet, and my coffee tastes so much more delicious without the sugar. I’ve also started eating plain natural yoghurt. This was not something I could stomach before without adding some honey or a good dollop of fruit. Again, I can now taste the natural sweetness in the yoghurt, it just tastes tangy and yoghurty, none of that sour yuck that it used to taste like. I shudder to think how sweet a yoplait or ski yoghurt would taste now!

I have noticed that my skin is fabulous. It feels and looks so healthy. And overall, I feel healthy too. I have more energy (though I’m sure I could have even more if I would get to bed earlier!!) and I no longer feel bloated. I have not had one gall bladder attack (something that I have really been struggling with on and off over the past few years) since I quit sugar, and I haven’t had any of the indigestion or reflux pains that I would regularly get either. Oh and my stupid teeth have stopped being achy. Also fabulous news.

The best news of all is that quitting sugar seems to have kick-started my metabolism. I have lost around six kilos in the last four weeks! I cannot tell you how much this has excited and motivated me. My current weight is lower than it has been since Peter and I got married, and it’s a really big deal for me. I think I’ve spoken before about how my weight has just constantly plateaued from a certain point, no matter what I’m doing – even when I was going to the gym for an hour a day six days a week! The only change I have made right now is eliminating sugar from my diet, and low and behold my body is changing, literally before my eyes. I started back to Zumba this week, and I’m excited to see how the combined affects of my new eating habits and some exercise will manifest in my body.

I think the really positive thing that this journey is teaching me is to be aware of what I’m eating. I’m learning to listen to when my body is actually hungry, and also when it is full. I’m understanding what kind of foods my body is looking for when I’m having hunger pangs, and how they are settled more quickly by some proteins (like cheese, nuts, or a rice cake with coconut butter) than if I scoffed down a couple of biscuits. I’m reading labels of foods, and am often astounded by some of the ingredients I’m seeing in foods where I wouldn’t expect to see them. I suppose cutting out sugar isn’t just chucking out the white crystals from your pantry, it’s cutting out all of the processed stuff that, let’s be honest, probably isn’t that great for you regardless of the sugar factor. We’re eating more fresh food, more vegetables, more ‘from scratch’ recipes.

We still haven’t decided what we’ll do at the end of this 8 weeks. I definitely don’t want to go back to where we started. Our current thinking is that we’ll continue to eat like this at home, but allow ourselves treats for special occasions or when we are out. I can see how much good this is doing for our bodies and I don’t want to throw it all away.

If you’ve been thinking about it, just try it. You don’t have to do it forever, and you might be surprised with the results…

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