Quitting refined sugar

Quitting refined sugar

I have a confession to make: last week I ate sugar.

I was so caught up in the excitement of having a gluten free vegan cupcake that I totally forgot there would be sugar in it. Three forkfuls in I realised how sickly sweet it was. I stopped eating it immediately and waited to see if I would react to it. Within 30 minutes I had a pounding headache, felt nauseas, had the shakes, felt faint and was so dry in the mouth – even with all the water I drank it didn’t help! I couldn’t and still can’t believe that the small amount of sugar I consumed had such an effect on me. 

It’s true, it really is sweet poison.

When I first found out I was sensitive to cows milk and wheat, I decided to cut out refined sugar at the same time. This was a personal decision as the research I conducted revealed that sugar does not benefit my body in any way. In fact, it has been identified that it is as addictive as cocaine. I thought you might find this infographic interesting.

nursing-your-sweet-tooth600

Image courtesy of Mind Body Green, 2012.

I realise this is solely focused on America but I wouldn’t be surprised if the statistics were similar for Australia and potentially other countries. The statistic that shocked me the most was that children are consuming 32 teaspoons of sugar a day!!! No wonder we are sadly faced with a growing obesity issue.

I’ve had a few questions from you all asking how I quit refined sugar. So here goes…

To be honest, it has taken A LOT of self control and self discipline. It’s so easy to join in with all your friends and have some birthday cake, or to have some chocolate as a ‘treat’. However, are you really ‘treating’ your body by consuming this sweet poison? I guess this is when you have to make the executive decision and do what you believe is right.

I remember the first step I took that really gave me momentum with my decision. It was when I started saying NO. One simple word gave me so much power. At first I felt bad as my friends might have thought I didn’t want to eat what they had made. Yet, the more I said NO to that piece of cake or to that block of chocolate the more confidence I gained and knew I was making the right decisions for ME.

I now don’t feel embarrassed when I bring out my jar filled with my green smoothie or ‘swamp food’ as it’s jokingly nicknamed by some. I actually love telling people what’s in it and know it’s providing me with nutrients my body requires to work at its optimum.

Snacks were probably the hardest meal for me to be creative with as all the ‘healthy’ muesli bars and various pre-made snack options are high in sugar. Now my go-to snacks include veggie sticks with hummus, dates with almond butter, fruit with coconut yoghurt, nut balls, parsnip and sweet potato chips with guacamole, nuts and seeds, and occasionally a homemade muffin.

I never feel as though I miss out on desserts either. It just goes to show, you can make your healthy cake and eat it too on those special occasions.

I would like to clear up: there’s a difference between quitting unrefined sugar and quitting refined sugar. I have quit refined sugar as I still eat fresh fruit, honey, 100% pure maple syrup, fresh dates and coconut sugar. These are considered unrefined sugars as they require minimal processing and still contain most of their nutrients. However, I consume these in moderation as I have come to realise that I don’t need to have a piece of raw cake a day. Even though it’s a healthier version of cake as it’s filled with nuts, fruit and unrefined sugars, at the end of the day it’s still a cake.

So where to from here. I would recommend to first look in your pantry and fridge. If you bought it in a box or bottle, just check out the ingredients. More often than not sugar is one of the first three ingredients. Now this part is up to you – do you decide to go cold turkey and throw out all the processed food containing sugar OR do you use it all up then think twice about buying it again?

It’s really all about going back to basics. Once you do, you will actually start to taste what ‘real’ food is.

Since I have stripped back all the processed food, I am reaping the rewards from all my hard work and dedication. My eyes and skin are clearer, hair and nails are stronger and I have been able to stabilise and maintain my weight. I now have consistent energy levels throughout the day and have a clearer mindset. I’ve definitely come to realise you really are what you eat.

I hope this has provided you with inspiration to reduce or quit your refined sugar intake – just know, each day you are taking small yet important steps towards living a healthy and positive long life!

What has been your biggest hurdle in quitting or thinking about quitting refined sugar?

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