Everyones best friend, everyones favorite enemy. Sugar is an enemy to our bodies, and yet, most of us eat it all day every day! I’m the stereotypical girl who feels like she needs sugar on a bad day. I was in the midst of what felt like a million health problems and I was trying EVERYTHING to overcome them. Except one thing…. Removing sugar from my diet.
What inspired the change
I met the cutest little old lady at a baby shower named Afton. She is around 90 and is one of the healthiest, vibrant people I’ve met at that age. I asked her what her secret was. She told me that for 15+ years she struggled with migraines, mood swings, fatigue and a myriad of other health problems. I shared that I was also experiencing health problems and just couldn’t seem to get ahead. She told me that she stopped eating sugar – ALL sugar – (with the exception of fruit) and hasn’t had a single bite of it in over 40 years. It completely changed her life! I was so inspired by this that I decided I was going to go a month without eating any added sugar. And guess what? It changed my life too!
What do you mean by sugar?
There are different forms of sugar. There are added sugars (refined white sugar, brown sugar, high fructose corn syrup, sucrose, basically anything with -ose at the end). There are more natural sugars (raw honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar, fructose) but even these can be detrimental to your health. Sugar alcohols such as xylitol, isomalt, & hydrogenated starches. Then there are sugar-tasting foods that don’t spike your blood sugar such as monk fruit extract and stevia.
I started by just removing refined sugar from my diet. That means, anything that has a label or is packaged I would read the ingredients and if there was any form of sugar in it, I wouldn’t eat it. I started feeling better within a week. My headaches and fatigue improved, my mood and energy improved, and my skin cleared up. BUT I was still having some digestive problems. So I moved on to natural sugars. I stopped eating raw honey, maple syrup, etc and after another week my bloating and gas reduced, my stomach pains went away, and I was almost feeling like a new person! I reduced my fruit intake to only berries (they are the lowest in sugar) and 1/2 a banana for smoothies. After 2 more weeks virtually almost ALL of my health problems subsided. In fact, I started feeling better than I have ever felt before.
After a year of struggling with health problems and finding 1/2 solutions… I can say that removing sugar from my diet was the catalyst that brought about the healing process in full force and ultimately revitalized my health! I’m not saying that everyone needs to cut out all sugar. This is what worked for ME and my body. After listening to my body and how it responded to this experiment I can’t deny that it is 100% what my body needed.
The truth about sugar
After I started feeling so amazing I looked back and realized that I was eating between 80 – 120 g of sugar a day. To give some perspective that is almost 400 teaspoons! Between refined sugars to even just fruits, I was giving my body a sugar over-load and I always thought that I was eating healthy!
Companies find a way to sneak sugar into EVERYTHING. Sauces, dressings, lunch meats, fruit juices, dried fruits, cereal, granola, smoothies, protein bars, milks, yogurt, bread, crackers, toothpaste, gum, etc… Most things I was finding at the health food store that said “organic”, “healthy”, were all super high in sugar. Companies find a way to mask the sugar content by using terms like “organic beet sugar”, “raw organic honey”, “non-gmo organic cane sugar” and more that SEEMS like a healthy ingredient, but is still wrecking havoc on our bodies. The case is even worst in babies/childrens food. I cannot feed my little one hardly anything packaged because it is so incredibly high in sugar.
SO, WHY? WHY if it’s so bad for us, is sugar in everything? Sugar reacts in our bodies the same way that cocaine does. That means, when we eat it… It releases endorphins and dopamine and other hormones that makes us feel good. So good, that we want and think we need sugar. This becomes a part of our diet at such a young age that it is an almost impossible habit to break. Breaking sugar from your diet literally elicits the same response as having withdrawls after qutting a drug.
What to expect when cutting sugar
You will experience withdrawls when you reduce or remove your sugar intake. This means headaches, moodiness, intense cravings, anger, and even hopelessness. It is difficult. But this only lasted about a week for me, because once I came out of it I felt so amazing in every other way that I knew that it wasn’t worth it. I’ve fallen and binged on candy and eaten vegan ice-creams etc but I ALWAYS feel like death after and make another resolution to do better. It’s okay to not be perfect. It is just awareness of yourself and what you’re eating that is important.
With all of this being said, I LOVE sweet foods and I do partake every single day. I have just upgraded to foods that are sweet but not dangerous to my body. I sweeten my drinks with monk fruit extract (doesn’t spike blood sugar). I put 1/2 a banana or sweet potato in every smoothie to make it taste good. And I’ll occasionally enjoy a protein bar made with dates! I put raspberries or strawberries on toast with nut butter. Your taste buds turn over every couple of weeks so you will come to enjoy these foods and get the same satisfaction as you did from sodas & candy before.
Now that I’m feeling better I will have sugar in the form of honey or maple syrup occasionally but my body can handle it better now. It is all about learning balance. Heal first, and you can enjoy more later.
So how do I start?
If this post resonated with you and you feel like you want to try removing sugar from your diet then that makes me so happy! Welcome to your next step to revitalizing your health! 🙂 I’ll make an easy to follow list of steps that I did to start removing sugar from my diet in the hopes that it can help you.
- Make a commitment to yourself – if you aren’t committed then it will make the process more difficult. Commit to yourself that you want to make this change!
- Make a goal & set a time frame – how long will you try going without sugar? What is your goal? To heal, lose weight, get more energy, etc.
- Make a grocery list and stick to it – keep your goal in mind while grocery shopping and do not buy anything that will tempt you!
- Learn to read labels – try to be more mindful of the ingredients in the food that you buy. If you’re not confidant reading labels then reach out to me and I’ll give you some tips OR just stay away from packaged food.
- Eat foods that you enjoy every day – don’t make yourself feel like you’re being deprived. Try eating sweet foods like fruit and smoothies to curb cravings.
- Write down your experience/symptoms – having a food journal is so important in helping you to see what is working. Write down your experience and how you feel every day.
- Make sure to have support – find a friend or family member who is willing to do it with you and keep you accountable.
Love your body
The most important aspect to any change is to love yourself through the process. If you are removing sugar because you hate how your body looks and you think you need to lose weight then this will be very difficult for you. If you are making this change because you love your body and want it to be healthy then it will be so worth it. Your body is a beautiful gift no matter what state it is in. If you love your body then it will love you back.
Please comment with your experiences if you’ve done it before and what your experience was or if you’re going to try it for the first time! I’d love to hear about it! I love you all thank you for reading, xoxo.