I have a deep dark secret that I’ve been keeping from all of you. I’ve done something a bit crazy. A little “out there”. Some might call it abnormal. Or, radical. Or, nutty. Definitely cuckoo.
It all started about 18 months ago while I was perusing the aisles of my favorite book store, and I came across David Gillespie’s Sweet Poison. Intrigued, I picked it up and skimmed a few pages. I remember thinking to myself, “My goodness, this guy is nuts.” Sweet Poison is all about the ill effects of too much sugar in our diets, and David Gillespie’s suggestion that we should all just simply “give up sugar”. Was he out of his mind? No sugar? No chocolate? Could a life without sugar or chocolate be worth living?
But, in those few incredulous minutes in the bookstore, a seed was planted in my brain. The knowledge from those few skimmed pages stuck with me. Every time I ate a cake or a cookie or a glorious piece of Lindt 70% Cocoa, I would think about David Gillespie and his crazy plan to “quit sugar”.
About 12 months later, I heard Sarah Wilson on the radio promoting her ebook on quitting sugar. She read Sweet Poison and actually quit sugar. Sarah had taken this idea that was swimming around in my head for the last 12 months and actually done it. And, according to Sarah, a life without sugar (and chocolate) is definitely worth living.
Intrigued, I went to the library an checked out The Sweet Poison Quit Plan (I was not yet ready to commit the money to actually purchase a copy, sorry David). I read it and identified with the “sugar addict” described in the book. It was me to a tee, probably why I thought David was so crazy to begin with.
I also picked up Sarah Wilson’s I Quit Sugar ebook, and armed with both books, I formed a plan to have a go at quitting sugar. And, last June, I did it.
I gave up sugar.
Well, to be precise, I gave up fructose. According to Sweet Poison, sugar is made up of half glucose and half fructose with fructose being the component that is detrimental to our health. Unfortunately, sugar in one form or another is in the vast majority of processed foods that grace the grocery store shelves. Fortunately for me, other than breakfast cereal and chocolate, I was not much of a processed food eater preferring to cook from scratch.
After a couple of months off the sugar, the most amazing this happened. I lost the taste and craving for sugar. I can simply take it or leave it, mostly leave it. Whereas before that Lindt 70% Cocoa bar hidden in the top of the pantry would be calling my name until I gave in and ate the whole thing in one sitting, now I’m just not interested.
The Sweet Poison Quit Plan told me this would happen, but I didn’t believe it.
Until it happened to me.
Better still, my doctor was overjoyed with my results of my annual blood tests. I had a few hiccups in the cholesterol, glucose, and liver function departments that had been dogging me for years. Now, they are all in the normal range. I did not lose weight, stop eating butter, or start exercising. I simply quit eating fructose, and my body responded.
So, what does this mean for me in real terms? Do I still eat sweet treats, cakes, ice cream, chocolate? What about fruit?
It means that I cook the vast majority of food that goes into my mouth, and I’ve learned my sugar substitutions. I bake muffins, cookies, chocolate cupcakes, and I even made cake pops last week. I pulled out the ice cream maker we received as a wedding gift, and I make some delicious homemade ice creams. I’m not a fan of the aftertaste with artificial sweeteners, so I followed David’s advice, and I use dextrose (also known a glucose) in my baking. It is not as sweet as sugar, but now that I’ve lost the taste for sugar, it’s pretty sweet to me.
Fruit still has a place in my diet too. I’ve never been a person to just eat a piece of fruit as I always preferred chocolate, so I tend to eat fruit with other foods. Think fresh raspberries with ricotta cheese on my toast, blueberry muffins, and banana smoothies. Yes fruit does have fructose in it, but it also has lots of fiber which helps in metabolizing the fructose. And given that fruit is generally the only fructose in my diet, I am well within the recommended limits.
While I have not lost much weight like many others on this sugar free journey, I just feel better within myself without sugar in my diet. My “funny tummy” is less bloated and heavy. My mind is more clear and alert. I have more energy.
Maybe I am a bit crazy, a little out there, abnormal, radical, nutty or cuckoo for quitting sugar, but I am also happier without sugar than I was with it.
NOTE: This is not a paid advertisement for any of the books or products mentioned in this post. I am simply sharing the journey of how I got to be sugar free.