No sugar challenge week 6: why it’s easier than you think
It’s been six weeks since I made the choice to cut out sugar from my diet. I’m now past the awful withdrawal / detox phase of week 5 and loving the challenge of continuing to experiment in the kitchen by cooking with fresh and healthy produce.
This is by far the easiest ‘diet’ I’ve ever been on. Perhaps it’s because it’s a lifestyle decision I’ve made, rather than a restriction I’ve placed on myself. While the 8-week no sugar challenge was an attempt to go cold-turkey on sugar, I am continually learning just how prevalent it is in our modern environment. I find the easiest way to avoid sugar is to only cook with and eat foods that identify ingredients that you know.
My (relatively) long-held philosophy is that we should to eat as close to nature as possible. In other words, when I’m at the supermarket, it’s not calories or fat I scan on the nutrition panel, it’s the ingredient list. Here’s a little exercise for you next time you’re doing the grocery shopping. Pick up a couple of jars of peanut butter and compare the ingredient lists. Some will list 100% peanuts – you know that’s natural. Others will include various oils (seriously, they use peanuts to MAKE oil, why would you add vegetable oil to peanut butter?!), additives and preservatives. Even if you aren’t interested in giving up added sugar, read the ingredient list and if there’s something on there that you can’t pronounce, sounds remotely like a chemical (e.g. anything ending is -itol or -ene), or couldn’t buy as a standalone ingredient, you’re best to leave it on the shelf.
After six weeks without sugar the benefits continue to advance:
- I’m sleeping better – I’ve been waking up alert and refreshed at 5.30am every day for the past week. I realise this is not ideal for some, but I love mornings and find the three hours I have in the morning before work to be some of my most productive of the day.
- My skin is clearer – I mentioned this outcome as early as week 2 and it continues to improve. I’ve been going without foundation since week 4 and wore make up for the first time last Friday. I felt smothered and cakey. In my job I sometimes feel it would be appropriate to wear makeup, but if I didn’t have to I’d prefer to keep going without it.
- My appetite is taking care of itself – the best thing about going sugar-free is the control your body resumes of its appetite mechanisms. I eat when I’m hungry, stop when I’m full, don’t worry about calorie-counting, and never have the urge to ‘finish on something sweet’ the way I used to.
No sugar challenge week 6 – What I ate for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks:
|Fresh lemon and lime tea (early)Poached eggs (2) on wholegrain toast (1)||Fresh lemon and lime tea (early)Banana nut pancakes with choc coconut ice (for Pancake Day!) + Madagascan vanilla tea||Fresh lemon and mint tea (early)Oats with rice milk, blueberries, blackberries, pecans, walnuts and cinnamon||Fresh lemon and mint tea (early)Poached eggs (2), bacon and baby spinach||Butter, vegemite and avocado on wholegrain toast (2) + fresh lemon and mint tea||Poached eggs (2) with Spanish onion, tomato and feta on sourdough (1)||Banana nut pancakes with chocolate coconut ice + 2 cups Girlie Grey tea|
|Green tea + almonds||Green tea||Black coffee + hazelnuts||Black coffee||Black coffee and hazelnuts||Soy latte + croissant|
|Grilled salmon and salad||Ham, cheese and seeded mustard sandwich on white bread (1/2) + ham, cheese, tomato and lettuce sandwich on wholegrain (1/2) + honeydew melon and kiwi fruit (small handful)||Smoked salmon and egg quinoa salad with spiced lemon dressing||Tuna, basil pesto dip, tomato, cucumber and lettuce on Mountain Bread + green tea + 1 slice Jarlsberg cheese||Chicken, avocado and cheese melt on white bread||Tuna nicoise salad||Tuna, anchovies, avocado, cheese, tomato and baby spinach on Mountain bread|
|Pistachios||Chamomile teas + almonds||Make-me-over mojito smoothie||Chia pudding + chamomile tea||Rice crackers, carrot and celery sticks with hummus and basil pesto dips||Black coffee + hazelnuts|
|Lamb chops, hummus, celery and baked sweet potato and eggplant||Lamb chops, rissole and quinoa salad with spiced lemon dressing||Haloumi and pancetta-wrapped asparagus||Smoked salmon with baked sweet potato, broccoli, squash and Dijon-soy sauce||Haloumi and pancetta-wrapped asparagus||Chicken, quinoa tabbouleh with avocado and sweet potato||Crispy pork belly with apple cider jus, mashed potato and carrot|
|1 slice Jarlsburg cheese + almond milk with cinnamon|