In December 2015 I decided to try and quit eating sugar. This was for various reasons, I was feeling sluggish and wanted a change.
The first week, was pretty hellish. I kept a list for how I felt. For me, the adverse symptoms only lasted just over 1 week, for some people it lasts longer, but it does go away!
Day 1 - feeling fine
Day 2 and 3 - a dull headache all day
Day 4 - a dull headache all day, I went to the gym and really found it hard to concentrate.
Day 5 and 6 - headache disappeared, but the foggy head stayed, concentration on anything was quite hard.
Day 7 - Starting to feel normal again.
Day 8 and 9 - I was away with work, I had a 4am start. Usually I have sugary drinks to keep me going from an early morning, I refused all of these and stayed strong. Lots of water and herbal teas saw me through.
Day 10 - Starting to feel really good, a little tired from the previous 2 days. The worst was over
Day 11 - Felt normal, but I had more energy and food craving subsided.
And since then, I have kept up the sugar free ever since. I still eat fruit and other natural sugars, but nothing processed.
Sugar seems to sneek into a lot of food, and some are very surprising. Over the last 4 months I have managed to find the brands that don't have added sugar into store cupboard foods.
Some of my favourites have been:
Sorry, I am not the kind of person who makes my own stock. I did try for a while, but the laziness in me won over and I need to be able to buy something. Stock cubes and gravy granuels a lot of brand have sugar in. This is something I struggled to find for a while, but these two are sugar free and taste the same as the previous brands I was buying.
Occasionally, a piece of jam and soda bread would be just lovely. But obviously jam is made with sugar, so I managed to find this really nice jam made by Meridian. They use apple juice instead of sugar. It isn't a thick jam, quite runny, but lovely all the same.
Soy sauce, I mean who would have thought that some regular versions contain sugar?! This one doesn't and it tastes the same.
Mayo, I love mayo. Tomato ketchup doesn't interest me, but a good dollop of mayo is welcome to most meals. All the main steam brands have sugar in them, so they no longer could be consumed. It has taken me a while to find this one, but it doesn't contain sugar. It doesn't taste just like mayo, more of a mayonnaise / salad cream hybrid but it is good.
OK this one isn't something I needed to substitute. But it is really good as an additional part of my diet.
I cook with it.
Once a week I try and oil pull with it (look it up..., pretty gross but works well)
and, I use it to make different energy bites and snacks with it, which is a great substitute for chocolate and other snacks.
So, what have I learnt after 4 months sugar free?
Sugar is in a lot of food and store cupboard basics, things you would never think that contains sugar sometimes does. Read the labels!
Water and sparking water are great. I used to drink quite a lot of 'sugar free' cordial. That has long gone and I drink a lot of water. If I fancy having something different then sparking water it is, maybe with a slice of lemon. (god I realise that sounds boring..)
You can still drink alcohol, red wine is good. However my favourite gin and tonic is out of the window...
I have lost quite a lot of weight, and feel pretty good. more than pretty good, I feel fantastic!
This is a journey I will continue, I can't wait to see where it will take me.