sugar-free month

i’ve decided to take the month of march and eliminate sugar from my diet. 

there are several factors contributing to my motivation for this:

1. i want to see how it affects my overall health.  i’m assuming it will have a positive affect, but want to know how much of one it has.
2. i have very strong hypoglycemic symptoms (never been officially tested), and i’m convinced that eliminating sugar from my diet will improve my overall health if only by forcing me to reach for foods with more protein, fiber, complex carbs, etc. when i’m hungry.
3. i’m not loving the current squishy-ness level of my tummy.  and no matter how many crunches or ab exercises you do, you can’t improve the condition of your tummy without improving your diet.  and sugar is a key factor in that particular area.
4. i want to see if i can do it!  true confessions: i love sugary things.  baked goods – impossible to resist.  starbucks drinks – such a favorite.  coke – sometimes it just tastes soooo good!  oreos?  don’t even get me started.  and while i don’t consume copious amounts of any of these items, they have a larger place in my diet right now than they really should.
5. i naturally think and operate in a “black and white” world.  so the”i should cut back on sugar” or “i’ll just gradually phase sugary items out of my diet over time” mentality does NOT work for me.  hard lines and firm goals are much better.  so i’m going cold turkey for 31 days.

here are the boundaries i’ve set for myself:
~ no desserts
~ no sweet drinks or drinks with added sugar. i am even eliminating fruit juices for now.
~ avoid most non-sweet items with added sugar.
~ no artificial sweeteners as alternatives (diet soda, sugar-free lattes, etc).  which is a no-brainer for me since i already avoid these anyway, but just thought it might be helpful to list it as a means of clarification.

(if anyone is curious, i pretty much dislike nearly all alcoholic drinks and they dislike me back, so i didn’t bother to even mention restricting them since it doesn’t apply to me.)

here are my “exceptions”:
~ i say “most” on the third item above because i’m not going to necessarily check the ingredients list of every single thing and not eat it if sugar is in the list.
          for example: whole wheat bread may have sugar as an ingredient.  i’m ok with that.  right now i’m eating organic, sprouted whole grain bread.  i don’t think it has any added sugar but if it does, i’m ok with that.  same with some crackers (multigrain ones from trader joe’s).  i’m generally going to try and avoid white flours and stuff too (which, the whiter and more processed they are, the quicker they simply turn to sugar in your body). another example would be ketchup.  i currently buy ketchup with no high fructose corn syrup, which is better, but it still has sugar in it.  i’m ok with that for now too.  it’s not like i’m downing ketchup daily by the bottle or anything, haha.
~ naturally occurring sweetness in fruits
~ TJ’s vanilla yogurt – mostly because i have a container and a half that i don’t want to go bad.  and the “sugar” is “evaporated cane juice,” – more natural.  but once those containers are gone i’m planning to try greek yogurt and add some homemade vanilla and/or maybe some honey.  i typically consume yogurt mixed with fresh fruit and granola so i might not even need to add to the sweetness. 
~ i may allow myself to make an exception for honey.  but right now i’m not even sure i’ll need to.  it’s just a thought.

today is day 1 and i’ve already realized that i’m gonna need to find some no-sugar-added jelly or jam to go with my eggs and toast in the morning.  peanut butter or butter on the aforementioned sprouted whole grain bread is just a little tough…

also, just because fruit is ok, i still have to watch when i eat it.  even consuming natural sugar when my blood sugar is low can bring on a headache and yucky feelings.  no bueno.  so hummus and pita bread are now sitting alongside my fruit+carrot smoothie.

another confession: in preparation for this, in the last 48 hours i consumed quite a few peppermint joe-joe’s (or “hoe-hoe’s” as my husband calls them), mini oreos, a shamrock shake from mcdonald’s, and a peppermint mocha from starbucks.  nothing like going out with a bang, right??

i’ve got a couple friends who are joining me in this little sugar-fast.  would love to have more friends on board!

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