No Sugar For A Month: How It Went

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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:

  1. 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.

    Some days:

    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.

  2. Cravings

    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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

He Laid Aside His Outer Garments

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The records we have, in the Gospels, of Jesus interacting with others, paint a very important picture of who Jesus was and is. He was gracious, compassionate, merciful and loving. He broke societal boundaries and made the self-righteous religious squirm.

The perspective John gives us of Jesus goes even further than Jesus’ interactions with others to an understanding of Jesus and His relationship with the Father. We get to peak inside Jesus’ head, and heart, for ever a brief moment.

The time Jesus washed His disciples feet, on the night He would be betrayed, gives us one of those glimpses into the depths of Jesus’ soul.

“During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist.” – John 13:2-4

Traditionally, what Jesus did was relegated to the servants, the hired help. Washing the dinner guest’s feet was definitely not something the host would ever be found doing. Yet here we have Jesus, the Son of God, taking off His robe, kneeling down and washed His disciples’ feet.

The verses quoted above paints a beautiful picture of what Jesus was dealing with internally. And theres’s two things that stick out to me:

1. Judas had already been tempted and bought into the plan to betray Jesus.

Yet Jesus still washed His feet. And, Yes, Jesus knew who would betray Him (see John 13:25-27).

Jesus washed the feet of the one who would essentially stab Him in the back.

Wow.

That is so hard to wrap my mind around.

To think Jesus knew who would betray Him and He still washed their feet. He served Judas in the face of betrayal. Why? Because that’s who Jesus is: a servant. He’s a servant even in the face of the one who would set in motion the events of His death.

Wow. Just wow.

The second thing that sticks out to me is this:

2. Jesus was able to do this (face His betrayer and do a servant’s job) because He knew who He was and He knew who His Father was.

This verse: “Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper” says it all.

Jesus was confident in His identity as the Son of God, as well as, He was confident in His relationship with the Father.

It didn’t matter what He was about to face. It didn’t matter who was about to do something to Him. It didn’t matter that He was about to do something that would break social norms. He didn’t care what His disciples thought. All of those limits and boundaries we place on ourselves, He overcame because of His relationship with the Father.

I want that understanding. I NEED that revelation.

For someone that still struggles with fear of man, it’s so hard to consistently walk in this understanding that I too am a child of God. I am a loved son. Because of Jesus, I am fully accepted in the Father and no matter what comes my way (people or circumstances) I must walk in this identity and rest.

But that’s so hard, isn’t it?

This is why multiple times in Scripture we are implored to set our minds above, to renew our thinking. We have to allow Holy Spirit, through His Word to change how we think. That takes time. That takes consistency. And while it is by grace, I must obey and work towards setting my mind on the truth.

It also requires we set aside somethings, much like Jesus physically setting aside His robe. One of those things we must set aside is pride and fear of man.

Because come hell or high water… I want to serve my (perceived) adversaries and go against the social grains, while walking in freedom from man’s opinions.

I want to be like Jesus.

Kissing Sugar Goodbye

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So if you’ve known me for any length of time, you probably know what I like when it comes to food. For those of you that don’t know, bacon and coffee are the top items on my “must intake” list.

You know the question about what you’d want if you were stranded on an island? My answer: give me bacon and coffee. And I’m good.

However, there is another “food” item that I’d really like to add to that must have list…

Sugar.

I love candy. I love breakfast cereal. I love waffles with syrup. Anything that adds sugar to it, I’ll take it.

I’m surprised my wife hasn’t tried adding sugar to artichokes yet, cause if she did, I’d probably down them (shh… don’t tell her).

Over the past two years or so, my wife and I have been (loosely) following a low-carb / Paleo diet. For those of you out there that may be Paleo snobs, I realize I fall short of faithfully following in the footsteps of our long-lost ancestors, but at least we’ve tried. 😉

blog-my-weight-loss-journeyWe switched to this type of eating after having gone around the lose-it / gain-it mountain for 8+ years.

Back in 2004 I lost 70 lbs and for the most part I’ve kept the majority of it off. However, I did so having to consistently diet for a season every year in order to maintain. I was tired of doing that, so we came up with our own version of the low-carb / Paleo diet and it has been great. The poundage has stayed off for me and I’ve felt great.

Part of our plan, once a week we would allow ourselves a splurge meal (this is the part that probably makes die-hard Paleo people grimace and judge me). You need to live every once and a while, right? But unfortunately those splurge meals would often turn into splurge days. And those splurge days were filled with much refined sugars and carbs. My tastebuds were rejoicing with great joy. But the rest of my body, not so much.

Come the next day, I’d pay for it.

Often I would be nauseous for days, have no energy and I would find my emotions being drastically affected. It would last for a couple of days and then lift.

I finally picked up on the emotional part of things about 6 months ago. I was quite skeptical that sugar or carbs would do that to me, so I began testing myself. 

I would purposefully eat refined sugars and carbs just to see how I’d be the next couple of days. Sure enough, it would affect me. After repeatedly seeing the same results from eating sugar, my wife and I were convinced.

For me, it has to go.

Sugar has gotten a bad wrap lately. Movies like Fed Up and That Sugar Film have really shined a light on the subject, and I’m grateful that they have. I’ll spare you all the facts and such (I’d encourage you to watch those movies), but one thing that stands out is 80% of the food in our grocery stores has added sugar. 80%. That’s crazy!

While sugar in and of itself is not evil or sinful, if you’re like me, it can be an addicting… which makes it a problem. Seriously. I don’t use that label to excuse myself or anyone else. Rather, I do so to call it for what it is: something that can become compulsive and interfere with life.

So… for the next 31 days, I’m kissing sugar goodbye. My plan is to eat foods that have no added sugars, including artificial sweeteners, or even natural ones, such as honey, maple syrup or stevia. I want to see how my body and mind reacts, as well as hopefully come out the other side living free from the stuff.

So here’s to October 2015 being sugar free. Let’s see how it goes.