Today I started to give up sugar. Hooray!
You might be thinking that a naturopath giving up sugar is not exactly blog worthy news, but I have a dirty little secret. I am a closet sugar abuser. Note that I didn’t say addict. I actually don’t think I am an addict per se (is that something an addict would say?), but I do have a sweet tooth and I use sugar as an emotional crutch. Being currently sleep deprived and having PND means I am using that crutch A LOT at the moment. I don’t feel my healthy best any more and as much as I have excuses for why that is, valid excuses in some cases, my diet is a big contributor. So it’s time to kick the habit.
What really spurred me on was this fantastic plan I found for quitting sugar. The steps are basically as follows:
- Replace all refined sugars with natural sweeteners
- Increase good fats in your diet
- Stop buying any pre-made foods with natural sugars, but you can make your own
- Reduce daily sugar load (from natural forms) to 36grams or less
Now this is a plan I can follow! The idea of going instantly sugar free is just too traumatic to me, and unrealistic given my current situation. The tradie is also a terrible sugar junkie, so I feel this plan is workable for me given that temptation lurks in our fridge and cupboard.
So today is the big day, and so far I already have two tips to share.
- This one comes from my very good friend, who has advised me to eat, eat, eat! Making a diet change requires lots of will power at any time, but try it on an empty tummy or on ‘diet’ sized portions and you are asking for trouble. This little tip has already paid off me today. At morning tea we attended a kids party. The sight of all the cupcakes and treats almost had me changing the start day to tomorrow! However I filled up on the healthy sandwiches and the sugar cravings came under control.
- Prepare your house. Learn from my mistake; clear ALL the temptation out of your house before you start. Not only do I have all the tradie’s treats staring at me when I open the fridge, there is 2 types of juice, home made gingerbread, and an amazing rhubarb compote all begging to be eaten. If I had any sense I would got rid of all this stuff. I’ll be honest, I’m probably going to eat the compote (it’s rhubarb compote people!), but the juice and gingerbread have to go. If, like me, you have a sugar addict in the house who is not quitting with you, then ask them not to buy your favourite treats in the early stages.
So what natural sweeteners?
I have chosen three to start with. I might write a post comparing some of the natural sweeteners another time if people are interested. For now I’ll keep it basic.
- Honey: raw unprocessed honey is such a super food and a favourite with my kids. When not heated it has antimicrobial and healing effects on the body.
- Maple syrup: most maple syrup is organic and wild crafted. It goes through minimal processing: basically just extracted from the tree through a tap, filtered and warmed slightly.
- Jaggery (also known as palm sugar, which is not to be compared to coconut palm sugar): jaggery is another unrefined sweetener normally extracted as a juice from palm trees and evaporated to make a crystalline solid. I grew up eating palm sugar, so I really wanted this one instead of similar alternatives like rapadura or coconut sugar. Another reason it that it is so much cheaper. You buy it in a block, and just grate it or buzz it in a processor to get a fine sugar.
I’ll be blogging a lot on this topic, as I feel there is so much I am going to learn and be able to pass on. I hope you might even join me!