Wednesday, December 9, 2015

I Quit Sugar (or have I?)


It's one of my favourite foods and because of this, I've decided I need to cut it out. I eat it in concentrated amounts, daily, and it's become unsustainable and extremely unhealthy.

This is the sort of thing that I KNOW isn't healthy for me - sugar is a delicious poison (the amount that I eat, at least - all that processed sugar is in literally EVERYTHING) - and I need to take control and let it go.

So, as I think I mentioned in a post or two ago, I'm embarking on a new programme - "I Quit Sugar" - that is designed to encourage better, healthier eating, and overall there is nothing wrong with that no matter how you look at it.

I had an appointment with a naturopath on Friday morning in the pretty market town of Romsey. She was fun and very knowledgeable and really my intent was to find someone who would do a bit of gentle handholding and be available for advice and suggestions on maintaining my health in as natural a way as possible.

I don't dislike or distrust Western medicine obviously, I just don't believe it actually focuses on the right stuff as much as it needs to, like prevention and maintenance. It's all about pills, surgery, prescriptions, poking and prodding and invasive tactics to fix what's broken, rather than guide you to focus on preventing problems in the first place. Eastern and homeopathic health is, overall, a more gentle and wholistic view of health. I'm generalising enormously of course, but the two working together, in my opinion, is the best option, as long as you keep talking to your doctors.

As I head into menopause and my hormones start taking on minds of their own, I need to realise that in that respect there's little I can do, but I CAN make clear minded, rational and pro-active decisions about (most) things outside of that. That includes what I (choose to) eat.

Up to now it's been lots of processed foods, sugary treats, bread, dairy, etc. I've been feeling increasingly sluggish, heavy, fatigued, dull and frustrated about "it all". Never mind that I'm not 25 anymore and my body doesn't work the same way. Damn it.

I sat down and reviewed this programme, read about it, bought two cookbooks and flipped through them several times, listened to what was pushing me and what my health practitioners were saying and it seemed the best fit. People are saying I'm crazy to be doing it at/over Christmas, but I was really feeling the need to start sooner rather than later, so why not now?

The programme focuses on removing fructose from the diet, but allows a bit of glucose in the form of stevia or rice malt syrup, although it is very savoury based. There is a huge range of recipes covering every possible meal plus snacks, which is important because I find myself craving food during the day while I'm at work.

I've spent well over £400 on food in the past week and a half, most of which is dry goods that will last - I hope - a few weeks, so the only replenishment I'll need to make is the produce. I started the programme on Monday, so am only three days in, and have decided that I am going to follow the spirit of the programme, if not the letter. The recipes are simple and tasty (thankfully!), so take hardly any time to make, which is great, as I don't like cooking. I did some baking on the weekend and have some muffins, macadamia nut treats and some (badly turned out) coconut lemon balls. Every recipe is created so that any ingredient can be swapped out for something else if allergies, intolerances, or diet affect it in some way.

How am I doing so far? I'm loving the food, which is a big deal. Am I sugar free? No. As I said above, I'm currently following the spirit of the programme, meaning that I've more than halved my daily sugar intake, but aim to wean myself off sugar in my tea at some point. I'm eating lots of protein and veggies daily, am already feeling better (if struggling a bit with the sugar urges), and am eager to see what the next several weeks hold. I have a Christmas work do tomorrow now, so will have to start fresh on Friday morning, but I'm okay with that. I know what I need to do and as long as I have options for meals and think ahead a bit, I'm finding it relatively easy so far.

It won't be bad, regardless of whether I'm following it exactly or not!

5 comments:

Jane said...

I am rapidly gaining what my mother used to call "the middle-age spread"! And yes, it's menopause related. Coincidentally I started an "eating plan" recently too. It's aimed at menopausal women, is high in protein with no sugar, not even fruit for the first week. Well, today is day 3 and I caved. Sudden withdrawal from SUGAR has given me headaches and I felt week and dizzy this morning. I was supposed to eat a hard boiled egg and a cup of plain yogurt for breakfast...which I did...but added a bit of granola to the yogurt. So I've decided that I will follow the plan as closely as I can but like you I need to withdraw from the sugar more slowly. It is definitely addictive.
I hope it goes well for you - that was a big outlay on food. My worst craving is cream for my coffee so I've switched to drinking grean tea instead. So likely I'm also suffering from caffeine withdrawal. Grrrrrrr - why does it have to be so hard!?!

Northern Living Allowance said...

Hi Jane! I caved too - on day three, yesterday? - and had an apple that I'd had in the fridge at work for AGES. I was surprised at how sweet it was after even that short a time. I don't regret it - it was delicious - but it is telling that I found it almost too sweet so quickly. Scary how sugar changes your taste buds so dramatically. I'm keeping berries in the diet, too, as I like them and they're really good for you. This particular programme calls for NO sugar of any kind for a whole month (fruit, juices, stevia, etc., etc.) while your body adjusts, then you bring in the glucose based sweeteners on occasion. It's definitely sustainable, which is important, but I don't want to be too hard on myself either. While I'm generally an 'all or nothing' kind of person, this is slightly more realistic.

I did, however, get a recipe for a delicious sounding HRT cake - all kinds of nuts and seeds - from the Naturopath. I'm keen to make it and see if that can naturally appease a few manic hormones (I'm not at the HRT stage yet, but refuse to take it). Hopefully it'll work, even a bit, and I can get things under control somewhat.

Christmas work do tonight - appy, entrée AND dessert...ai yi yi....

The Asian Pear said...

I'm trying to cut down on sugar and salt too. It's difficult but we can do it! p'-'q

Northern Living Allowance said...

Hi Pear - it IS hard, because it's everywhere. I'm doing 90-95% of the program (had a really rubbish weekend, so started fresh yesterday) and I think that's good for me. I am struggling, though, but am hopeful that cutting out the majority of the sugar in my diet will be just enough right now because, well...cake. Right? xx

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