Friday, April 29, 2011

Sugar Free



When I went caffeine-free last year, I ended up at the doctor’s office.  My withdrawal symptoms were so severe that my husband was worried about me.  It was an awful two weeks complete with headaches and extreme fatigue.  I fell asleep at noon, on the couch while reading with Lilah.  I did not think I would make it through, but I was concerned at how much caffeine I was drinking (pots of coffee a day...not cups) and how miserable I was feeling.  Eventually the withdrawal subsided and I was left with not only physical relief but a profound appreciation for what an stronger addition; like that of heroin or crack, must be like.  
I did go back to coffee but not at full strength.  I mix decaf grounds with regular and limit myself to two coffee cups in the morning.  Before whenever Greg and I were out and about we never thought twice at popping into our favorite coffee shop on the corner for a coffee to go.  We would have coffee when we went out to dinner and always at friend’s homes.  I stopped all that.  Occasionally I will purchase coffee, like I did Tuesday when I spent a glorious afternoon outside with my friends sipping lattes while our girls attended their pottery class, but it was decaf.  Always decaf.
Now I have made the decision to cut out sugar.  It has been three days.  I made this decision for the same reasons I did with coffee.  Basically I felt like poo.  I have always had a problem with sugar.  I love it.  Chocolate is my best friend.  Ice cream and I have a love affair.  My desire to ingest it has not changed as I have aged, but it seems my body is no longer willing to process the amounts of sugar I have been consuming.  My stomach has been upset.  Nothing serious, just uncomfortable.  I don’t feel healthy.  I have been asking so much of my children when I have changed their diets.  I started to wonder just what I am asking of myself.  After Easter weekend, and two days of feeling like poo, I made the decision to cut it out cold turkey.
I have had no bread, no chocolate, no ice cream, no beautiful sugar in the raw sprinkled on my oatmeal.  This is coming from the woman who got busted for sneaking into and eating all of her children’s valentine heart chocolates.  I have been focused on eating with intention.  I love Lilah’s eggs for breakfast, or oatmeal, sans brown sugar.  For lunch Grace and I have ham and cheese quesedillas on corn tortillas.  Around 3:00 I have my green smoothie with a recipe I have perfected for me. 

  • Handful of chopped fresh organic spinach
  • Handful of chopped romaine lettuce totaling about a cup of greens
  • about a 1/2 cup frozen banana, peach and strawberry mix
  • Fresh pineapple with juice
  • Big splash of orange juice

I love love love this smoothie.  My friend swears that they have been vital in helping her to cut her sugar cravings.  Maybe it is a placebo effect but I swear they are helping me too.
For dinner we have had pork tenderloin, grilled chicken, rice, black beans, grilled veggie burgers and homemade meat spaghetti sauce with gluten free pasta.  I am not yet counting carbs so I know that I am not “technically” sugar free since I believe you can’t be totally sugar free without cutting out carbs as well but I am very conscious of them and keeping to low carb foods as well.  
Right now I am not feeling great.  I researched sugar withdrawal symptoms and I think I am suffering some of them like muscle fatigue.  I am more thirsty but less hungry.  All textbook symptoms.  I hope to emerge from this stronger, healthier and happier.  I want to go into my forties aware that it is disrespectful to expect my body to handle what it did when I was in my twenties.  In order to stay fit and energized I need to take my diet to a new level and I am proud of what I have begun.

12 comments:

  1. I am starting today! No sugar. Beginning to cook brown rice instead of white, whole wheat spaguetti instead of white. No chocolate, or candy. I have started to drink my coffee without honey for a few days now. Also, I'm reading the labels on everything, yesterday I found that our organic ranch dressing has 2 grams of sugar per serving! Ridiculous, but true.
    Anyway, drink lots of water!

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  2. Wow! Do you live in my head?

    I have been having these crazy insulin spikes with incredible plummets. I don't add sugar to anything, but I didn't realize it was in some of the foods I eat. I eat salad every day for lunch, with oil & vinegar. Recently I found rice vingear and love it---but it has sugar in it! Other things as well, like cereal...

    I don't think I could ever give up chocolate completely, but I have cut down from a handful of chocolate chips from my secret stash every day to, well, I haven't had any this week....

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  3. Thanks Monica! I am drinking my H2O! I am starting with refined sugar but trying to be conscious of the carbs. Having Grace gluten free helps because we already broke our bread habit. But you are right, the more you avoid it, the less you want it. I have moments but Lilah made chocolate cupcakes the other day and before I would have eaten them all but I have been able to say no and have not had one bite!

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  4. Feeling healthy and 40 (or 40+!), is wonderful. I hope you find the right "diet" that helps you achieve your best YOU. I will post my smoothie recipes soon. I don't use much fruit, I have lost the taste for sweet smoothies with time. I love the green taste. I might put in one small banana, or about 1/2 C of OJ, but other than that, it is greens, water and ice! Sometimes some coconut milk (unsweetened). All organic. I love sweets, but I am not one to eat too many at once.
    Sending you healthy and energetic thougths! Listening to our bodies is sometimes hard, and surprising.

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  5. i've reassessed my eating, too. i haven't blogged about it, yet. it's been well over a week. yay us. ;)

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  6. Dried cranberries on your oatmeal (oat bran) are delicious. True, they do have sugar but isn't it a different sugar that's okay?? It's hard work adjusting our eating habits. I've been REALLY BAD since Easter. Thankfully there are no more chocolate bunnies left (I ate them all). Now I can get serious -- again

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  7. I just started reading Green for Life and was inspired to play around with my ingredients. Today's smoothie was celery, spinach, fresh cantaloupe, fresh pineapple and a splash of orange juice. Not my favorite but I will get it down!

    Thanks for your comments and advice. I love knowing there is so much support to change my diet!!

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  8. Jessica, we gave up sweets for Lent, but after I started drinking green smoothies, I decided to give up sugar. Then I stopped drinking coffee. I can't tell you how much better I feel! I indulged a bit on Sunday, Mon & Tues and I really felt yucky. The green smoothies have definitely helped kick my sugar craving. I am eating more fruit than ever. Let me know how you like Green for Life, I have been wanting to get it. I am going to do a 21 day detox with the Green Smoothie Girl starting on May 1st. I have been losing my taste for meat too. My husband is on board with all of this, wish I could say the same for all of my kids!!

    Glad you are blogging about this!

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  9. One of the cool benefits of cutting out sugar is that a simple piece of fruit ends up tasting so sweet!

    I admit to a tiny amount of sweetener (sucralose).

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  10. So you just had to mention that once we're in our forties we can't act like we were in our twenties. Thanks. :-0 I turn 40 in 6 months. Ugh.

    Excited about our endeavor - I am going to brainstorm more this weekend and might shoot you a message!

    ~Mary

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  11. Jen - your blog post gave me the push to start this!
    Mary - I turn 40 in November......I am not sure how okay I am with that!
    Monica - thank you for stopping by and your comment.

    Happy Saturday everyone!!

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  12. Oh wow do I relate to you!! I am a sugar addict too and have had to make major shifts in my diet, especially with bouts of candida overgrowth (too much info, sorry). And you're right, it is like being addicted to heroin because sugar attaches to the same receptors as heroin. The books that changed my life are Potatoes not Prozac, and The Sugar Addicts Total Recovery Program. I wish I could say I am cured. I have lapses, but I now have the tools to recover every time. I will be thinking of you as you recover and hope all goes well. And just a bit of info, careful with the sugar free stuff. I developed an allergy to that too. Often, even if its sugar free, doesn't mean its better :). All the best to you Jessica!

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