Benefits so far:
- Increased energy
- Moods far easier to manage and considerably less emotional turmoil.
- Only 2 days PMT instead of 2 weeks.
- The skin under my eyes has improved and is less crepey.
- I am more focused and open to change.
- No hot flashes anymore.
- Very little craving.
- No urge for cakes or chocolate with refined sugar in.
- A passion for healthy treats and learning what else I can eat.
- Tastebuds find natural fruit and vegetables sweeter and tastier than ever before.
- Greater self belief.
- Lost 1 1/2 stone in weight.
This Is Not An Impossible Dream
If you are reading and considering making the change, giving up refined sugar may seem an impossible dream, but the benefits are huge and really worthwhile
If you read my 'What Is Hiding Beneath Your Sugar Addiction?' I can now say that giving up sugar has taken me down a path of greater emotional balance. I am no longer knocked over by life events for days now; depressive thoughts and feelings do not linger; the foods I eat keep my blood sugar level stable so I no longer experience extreme highs or extreme lows. No slumps of energy after eating and my mind is far clearer.
If you suffer from depression and would love to give up sugar I highly recommend taking the leap. The foods we eat for comfort are only temporary fixes and are often the causes of challenging mood swings. Sugar highs always come before intense sugar lows and we then need more sugar highs to sustain us. The 1 month initial craving phase is worth the change. It takes 21 days to create a new pattern and if I can do it when I had intense back pain, so can you. Tools like EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), that you can do for free on yourself, really helped relieve me of cravings for cakes, chocolate and biscuits.
If you feel you can't do it or you are surrounded by family or friends who surround you with temptation, there are ways to overcome this through EFT. I will list some resources at the end so that you can find out about it and see how easy it really is.
An example of how well this works. My housemate made 2 batches of oat and raisin cookies last week. My whole flat was scented with freshly baked sweet cookies. He used refined sugar. I walked through the kitchen and saw the cookies all warm and freshly baked on top of the cooker and I had no major urge to bite into one. Yes, my mind said: "MMMmmm, they look and smell nice", but because of EFT something stronger inside me told me they would taste of cardboard.
Over 6 months, through trial and error, I have discovered what works for me. For the first 3 months I only had natural sweeteners from foods like bananas or dates. No honey, xylitol or other sweeteners. I did this because the taste-buds need to time to desensitize from refined sugar, because lets face it, it is a drug because of its addictive properties.
After 3 months I began to re-introduce the healthier alternative of coconut sugar into my decaf coffee twice a week, but recently have decided to limit my coconut sugar intake . After further research I discovered that the main research done on coconut sugar was by the Philippine government, and the study only involved 10 people. The low GI claims are coming from the producers of coconut sugar, so fairly biased information out there. As agave nectar was hailed the super healthy substitute a while back, and now it is being revealed that it is similar to high fructose corn syrup, I only use coconut sugar in moderation, like anything else.
What Do I Eat?
Well as I am now gluten-free, my diet is different once again (testing the affect of gluten on acne). However, I have had some tasty alternatives over the past 6 months as sweet treats.
Hot chocolate sweetened with honey*
Home-made coconut, banana and almond ice cream*
Sliced apples topped with peanut butter.
*Eaten after 3 months
When giving up sugar I have found it essential to increase fats and protein in my diet. These leave you feeling satisfied and full. They also reduce cravings. More fat does not mean you put on weight, combining with sugary foods does. Fat is not bad, this is a diet myth. Fat combined with refined carbs does cause problems.
Better fats - peanut butter, coconut oil, olive oil, feta cheese etc etc..
The most important thing I learned to do is to read labels. Sugar near the front of an ingredients' list means it is primarily made from sugar. See HERE to see the names given to sugar, many you may not have heard of.
This past 6 months I have felt more inspired. My blog has taken off. I am writing a book I gave up on many years ago. I am more open to change and a lot lighter in my spirit. I would never go back to eating refined sugar unless I was on holiday overseas and choices were limited, but it would be a temporary experience.
Overall this is the best dietary change I have ever made and is an ongoing life choice now.
(Tools for cravings see HERE)
For ideas and further support on giving up
sugar click here for a list of excellent resources.
What would help you give up sugar if you were struggling?
What challenges do you have?