Brownies, chocolate chip cookies, English toffee, ice cream, Dunford doughnuts, licorice, cinnamon rolls, Symphony bars, chocolate cake . . . yum!
But sugar hates me. It wrecks havoc on my body chemistry, my weight, my well-being. Makes me sluggish and tired and out-of-sorts. I know it. I hate to face it, but it does.
I eat health food. I love whole grains, salads, and fruit. I eat raw nuts and drink plenty of water. I would consider myself a very healthy eater. And sometimes (well, sometimes can be often), I eat dessert.
My daughter Louisa (13) decided I’d better stop eating sugar. I’ve taught her enough health in homeschool for her to know it can be dangerous to your health. Being the youngest in a large family, she worries about me living long enough. I told her I agreed it was a sensible plan for me to never eat sugar, but in a big family where birthday parties and graduation celebrations and family get-togethers are part of our everyday, I want to be part of the fun. Eating, especially desserts, is a very social connection.
So Louisa decided she’d have to be my partner. Wise girl. How can a mother say “no” to such a worthy endeavor!? That was 38 days ago! Louisa and I have not had a bite of sugar for 38 days! Are you as amazed as I am?!
We never thought we’d get this far, but with a mutual goal, here we are! A family reunion, with homemade root beer, and special brownies was a bump in the road, but we hung through it, and high-fived each other at the end of the day when we were both still sugar-free!
How does it feel? Well, the first 2 days, I had a splitting headache. Withdrawal. Sugar is actually addictive, and I am here to tell you I’m quite sure of that. Then after 3 or 4 days, I noticed that my tummy started to deflate. Sugar had kept me sort of swollen, bloated, mildly inflamed and tender. Without any weight loss, my pants are getting loose around the tummy. At day 38, I have more energy than before, and I can feel my body sort of humming along liking what I am doing. It feels like my body chemistry is balanced. Aches have diminished. Especially headaches. I don’t have that huge exhaustion (the I-can’t-do-the-dishes-I’m-too-tired) after dinner that I used to have. I can bend over more easily. And the weight is starting to slowly, steadily slide off me, thank goodness. I am still eating the same health food, in the same amounts. Just the omission of sugar is enough to make changes.
One of the biggest changes I’ve noticed is that I feel happier! I am more emotionally even. That is an excellent benefit. I am not the depressive type anyway—I am a pretty even tempered person. But I have felt much happier, content, satisfied with life since I got off of sugar. Surprised me. I always thought sugar made me happy. . .
I found a new book and began reading it: Suicide by Sugar. Wow, what an eye-opener! Besides the ways we know that sugar harms us, there are many shocking things to reconcile in this book. I had never thought about the fact that medical “nourishment” such as IV’s, Ensure, baby Ensure, and bottles fed in the new baby nursery are mostly sugar, and contribute to our poor health in medical emergencies.
The author tells about her own sugar addiction, and proves through research studies that sugar is an addictive substance. She is a well researched and sensible writer. She explains how many of our aches and ailments in our bodies are directly linked to sugar. Best of all, she has a plan to help us break the addiction with good foods, and includes recipes for no-sugar treats. I highly recommend this fascinating book!
What do I do when I need something sweet? Well, the “need” for something sweet has transformed into “I would enjoy” something sweet. Thank goodness I don’t have the cravings anymore that used to be so strong that they would send me searching through the cupboards and driving down to the grocery store at 10 PM just to get something sweet!
Louisa and I have discovered and invented ways to enjoy something sweet without resorting to chemical artificial sweeteners like Splenda or aspartame, which have dangerous side effects. A peach milkshake is delicious! (See my peach milkshake recipe on a previous post.) We really wanted chocolate ice cream and stumbled onto a fabulous substitute: Chocolate Stevia. Chocolate stevia-sweetened raw milk tastes just like sweet chocolate milk. Louisa says it is the flavor of chocolate ice cream. It is amazing, this all natural sweetener that comes from the Sweetleaf plant. It only takes 3 drops in a cup of milk to make sweet chocolate milk! (The milk looks white but it tastes chocolate and sweet!) This healthy stevia liquid is 100% natural, no chemicals, water extracted, zero calories, zero glycemic index, and delicious. I just bought some extra bottles to stock just because I knew when I told you about it, you’d want some too! You can buy chocolate stevia here.
Stevia is a wonderful sweetener that is actually good for you! It only takes a little because it is 300 x sweeter than sugar! It is the only sweetener that I know of that does not raise blood sugar or have calories, but is 100% natural. Read about Stevia’s health benefits here.
Having something sweet has become a “take-it-or-leave-it” situation for me. Something I never dreamed would happen. I used to go to activities that promised refreshments, motivated by the promise of treats! Sugar had a terrific hold on me. Sugar-free yummies are not so compelling. One is nice, and I stop. Often I am just not interested in any. I don’t yearn after them like I used to with sugar.
I’ve always wanted to get off sugar. I knew it wasn’t good for me, but I loved it. It gave me a lift, helped me feel better. . . followed by a crash if I didn’t get another dose of sugar. I baked with honey and responsibly fed my kids well, but peanut M&M’s reigned after the kids went to bed. Or chocolate chips, or ice cream, or . . .
Today Louisa announced, “we are doing this for a year!” Four weeks ago I would have said, “Impossible!” but today, on my 38th sugar-free day, it seems very possible indeed!