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.