Ever worry about what others will think if you take up that hobby you've been thinking about for a long time? Worried what your family will think when you come home with a new look or a new life philosophy? Afraid your friends will judge you for making a big life change?
Forget about them. Just be you!
Too often we miss out on becoming who we really want to be for fear of others not liking the decisions we make. But guess what? If people are going to judge you or make fun of you, you don't want them in your life anyway! Happiness is something that comes from within and we cannot expect others to provide it for us. So find the things that make you happy, and do them. The right people will gravitate towards you and your bliss will be more than you thought possible.
Don't be afraid to be different. Different is not a bad thing. In fact, most people want to try something different, but the fear of the unknown holds them back. When I decided to go vegan, friends and family thought it was weird, criticized it, and thought it was just a phase. Now that I've been at it for a while, everyone accepts me as I am, is extremely accommodating, and seeks me out for advice on how to eat healthier. So set the example and see how those close to you learn and grow in the process.
So that thing that you've been thinking about but not acting on, try it. Do it. Plunge in head first and explore a new community of people and be patient with those around you who may take some time to adjust. I promise that if you do what makes you happy, even if there are some growing pains at first, your relationships with others and the world as a whole will be more fulfilling and satisfying. Do what makes you happy, and you'll actually BE happy!
Hello Day 8 of sugar-free living. Let me start this post with a confession… on Day 5 (Saturday) I cheated. One of my college roommates was in town and I haven’t seen her since September, so we walked around beautiful Colonial Williamsburg and ate lots of delicious food. Said food included a “no sugar added” soy mocha coffee smoothie, which I would wager does, in fact, have some sugar in it, but I have yet to confirm that, a small piece of chocolate covered peanut brittle, a glass of hard cider (from my reading it is debatable whether or not there is a true sugar content to beer-type beverages which use it in its making but the sugar then ferments), a fried eggplant sandwich (if nothing else there was probably sugar in the goat cheese spread and it was breaded and we’ve already discussed how flour is really sugar), and… frozen yogurt. I did opt for the no sugar added NY cheesecake frozen yogurt, and topped it mostly with strawberries, but there were some sprinkles involved and a few samples of other sugary flavors.
Here’s what I learned… now that I’m very aware of sugar, even when I eat it, I definitely do my best to keep it to a minimum (for example, choosing no sugar added options instead of just getting the tastiest flavor). The sugar didn’t drive me crazy or anything, but boy did my stomach have something to say about the offending food. Nothing too terrible, and part of it may have been from the dairy (usually I eat vegan), but there was some grumbling and a few trips to the bathroom. Oh, and my belly looked like a balloon it was so swollen… yuck!
Unexpected side effect? Sunday I suffered from terrible sugar cravings! Ask anyone I work with… all I wanted was a sugary vanilla latte in the morning and then all day I whined about how badly I wanted a soda. Thankfully I had enough support from my co-workers, reminding me that I shouldn’t give in and that I’ll be happier if I just stick it out. Never did I expect to have the next day be so torturous. Really, I kind of expected to just wake up and go back to no sugar without a problem, thinking all of the damage was done on Saturday. Sugar is really an interesting and challenging beast that I’m afraid many of us (very much including myself) don’t really fully understand.
I’m so happy that I resisted the temptations on Sunday and made it to Monday sugar-free. Monday was easy and today is going smoothly as well. Bananas continue to be my best friend as the natural sugar definitely fulfills my want for something sweet without triggering any sort of “must have it” feelings towards sweets. And my Chocolate Vegan Shakeology blended with unsweetened almond milk and a frozen banana in the mornings keeps me so satisfied (it’s seriously just like drinking a milkshake) that I don’t feel like I’m missing out on life or being deprived.
Looking ahead, I’m in the process of researching all of the sugar/sweetener options out there to see if there is truly a good solution to my desire to stay off the sugar habit and my love of baking and cakes. I’ll report back on that soon.
Have a naturally sweet day!
Alright y'all, it's been 3 full days and about half of the 4th day without sugar. Time for some reflections and realizations.
The toughest part about life without sugar is that seems to be in almost EVERYTHING! Foods that we think of as salty or savory or bitter, still seem to have sugar in their ingredients list! So I've had to say good-bye to things like ketchup, barbecue sauce, certain veggie burgers, some salsas, a number of canned food items, and more.
While grocery shopping was a bit of a longer process than usual today, I'm pretty used to scrutinizing labels and checking ingredients (this whole experience is very reminiscent of when I went vegan 4 years ago). The real trouble is having no idea what is in foods when you eat out. Yesterday I had lunch with a friend at Chipotle. My vegetarian burrito bowl (which means no tortilla involved) seemed to be safe (brown rice, black beans, peppers, onions, mild and medium salsa, guacamole, and lettuce), I'm pretty sure there was some sugar in there somewhere. How do I know? Because after that meal, as full as I was, all I wanted was something sweet! Thankfully the craving wasn't too strong and just sitting with the feeling for a little while was enough to let it pass and for me to stay on track. But how crazy is that? What must have been a very small amount of sugar in the salsa or guacamole was enough to trigger a sugar craving!
Ever hear someone compare sugar to cocaine? I'm starting to think it isn't an outlandish concept. They are both white, refined powders extracted from natural plant sources, that interact with our body chemistry to make us feel good and create addiction. Living without sugar is not difficult if I just stay away from it. Not having had it at all today, I don't have any want or desire for it... seriously, none. For me, it has become obvious that I haven't been wrong when I say I have trouble keeping to moderation when it comes to sweets... once the switch is flipped, I just have to have more. Never flip the sugar switch? No need to sugar.
Don't think it's been all sunshine and roses. Walking past the cookies and candy and soda and my favorite flavor of Doritos while at Target was a serious struggle. Not sure why I didn't completely avoid the baking aisle, but I never noticed just how much that aisle smells sweet. Oh, it was tough. I thought of all the delicious cakes I could bake... ugh. But I kept going and I'm glad for it.
Plans for the next 26 days? Keep scrutinizing labels, learn brands that I can trust, find new snack foods that don't contain sugar or processed flour, and look into sugar alternatives that might not have the same triggering effect as sugar (and things like raw sugar, agave, and brown rice syrup). There has to be a safe sweetener out there somewhere so I can still enjoy baking!
Stick with me, guys. I'm sure there will be a lot more learning, a lot more struggles, and potentially some invaluable wisdom.
I'm Amanda K; lover of fitness, sweets, veggies, adventure, travel, and happiness.