Over the weekend I finished up my month of Kissing Sugar Goodbye. I actually went the whole month and avoided sugar. This was a big deal for me, especially as I had tried to go sans-sugar before and I didn’t get past day 14.
I was more serious this time and even eliminated sugar substitutes such as stevia or maple syrup, which I believe helped keep the cravings at bay. I was hardcore about it and it paid off.
Prior to this month, my sugar consumption had already been limited due to following a Paleo/primal/low-carb diet. However, I still supplemented my diet with protein shakes (that were sweetened with a mixture of stevia and cane sugar), as well as mints and dark chocolate after a meal. I would also enjoy a splurge meal once a week that normally involved consuming lots of sweets (and often turned into splurge days).
I walked away from all of that for a month, and I must say I like the feeling of being free of it.
Throughout my life I’ve had quite the sweet tooth. For some people it’s bread. For some people it’s alcohol. For me, it was sugar. Whenever I would get the urge for something sweet, it wasn’t possible for me to just eat one or two pieces and be done. I had to eat the whole bag.
So I took 30 days to see if I could abstain from it all together.
Here are some of the things I did in order to help me achieve my goal:
- After a meal
I liked to have a piece of chocolate or mint after a meal. You know that after eating taste that just sits in your mouth? Ugh. Bothers me to no end. So since sugar or sugar substitutes weren’t an option, I had to get creative.
I got a travel size bottle of mouth wash and rinsed after a meal. That took care of the taste.
I added lime powder to my water, which tastes sweet, especially the longer I went away from sugar. That helped with the taste as well.
I grabbed a cup of coffee after a meal. Again, taste went bye bye.
I think the normal sugar cravings lasted for a week or so. But definitely after about 10 days, I didn’t crave sugar any more. During the time when the cravings were still around, I would conquer them by doing a few things:
I added lime powder to my water and chugged it.
I had a few raisins to give me just the right amount of desired sweetness.
I also ate some cheese. I saw this tip some where online and it actually helped.
- Protein shakes
As I mentioned before, I regularly consume protein shakes to accommodate my working out. Since these shakes are sweetened, I needed to come up with my own concoction.
I bought some unflavored, unsweetened whey protein. I threw in a half of a banana, couple of teaspoons of cocoa powder, a few drops of vanilla, some xanthan gum and voila a great, natural alternative to the pre-packaged stuff.
- Food labels
I read the labels on everything, as much as possible. There is sugar in almost everything, or so it seems.
I ended up making pizza sauce at home, as well as my own ketchup and almond butter (pizza sauce, ketchup and peanut/almond butter all have added sugars). And if I didn’t have time or the ability to make my own, I just avoided the item. It wasn’t necessarily the funnest experience (ie. salad with no dressing), but I believe it was and is worth it.
All in all, I plan on staying away from sugar as much as possible. I no longer crave it and I like that feeling. I also like the fact that I was much more emotionally stable throughout the month (I believe sugar to affect me mentally/emotionally as I mentioned previously).
If you’ve never eliminated sugar, I’d encourage you to go for a period of time without it and see how you feel. I bet you’ll be glad you did.
In the vein of full disclosure: I did have Pizza Hut pizza one time during this month. It was a meal purchased for me and I was hangry. I assume there was a bit of sugar in the sauce, it did affect me, however it did not knock me off my horse. I stayed the course.