The Result of My No-Sugar Experiment
At the end of February, I began a sugar-free diet. I haven’t eaten refined sugar for about six years, but this little experiment took things further and restricted me from ALL sugars including natural sweeteners, fruit (apart from berries and green apples), and carbohydrates like grains and potatoes. This blog will aim to reveal my findings.
My goal, at the instruction of my naturopath and backed up by my doctor was to stay away from sugar for 30 days. I was urged to try out something called a ketogenic diet, which required me to ditch all sugars and carbs and replace them with a tonne of fat and protein. The idea being to have fat as your body’s main energy source, rather than glucose. Some research indicates that cancer feeds off sugar, but not fat. Therefore, starving it of its food supply should lead to a shrinking of the tumours.
I’m not going to go into the effectiveness of the ketogenic diet and treating cancer, but if you’re intrigued I recommend hitting up Google for heaps of information. I will say, however, that I don’t believe there is one diet suitable for all cancer patients, and don’t try this one without supervision from an integrative doctor or trained naturopath.
Now, onto the real point of today’s blog: Is sugar-free right for me? I can’t say if it’s right for you because, to echo my point above, I don’t believe there is one right diet for everyone. But this is what my sugar-free stint did for me. I’m going to break it down into the pros and cons.
+ My brain felt really clear. I have no evidence to back this up, but I think my lack of brain fog was achieved by staying away from grains. I was also reading the book Grain Brain at the same time though, so it may have been all in my head. Geddit? All in my head … Seriously though, this book makes some very valid points about how grains are destroying our brains.
+ I kicked my sugar dependency. This is the main pro for me. I didn’t think I was dependent on sugar, until I could no longer have it. If you ate a date in front of me during that first week, you did so at your own risk.
+ I became more creative in the kitchen. This diet was pretty much the opposite of the Gerson Therapy diet I was on for over two years, so breaking away from my standard menu was tough but kind of liberating.
+ I released attachment to what I thought I should eat. This one carries on from the previous point. On Gerson I ate oats, bananas and potatoes every single day and was told to stay away from fats and protein. My dietary theories were flipped on their head and I had fun releasing attachment.
+ I started giving sugar too much power. We humans LOVE giving our power away to things outside of ourselves, and this happens particularly with food. I did this for a long time, but now I realise that the true power of food lies in how much joy it brings us and how amazing it makes us feel – not in the nitty gritty demonising of its parts.
Is sugar-free for me? The short answer is no. Even though I managed to more than double my goal by extending to over two months without sugar, I decided after that point that I would indulge in some of my old favourite sweet things again – namely bananas, potatoes and a small amount of natural sweeteners. Only now, I indulge in far smaller amounts.
It all started the day Ground Organics added freshly baked muffins to their menu. This is when the whole experiment came apart at the seams. Muffins are my weak point, and while I did my absolute best to resist them (I allowed myself to smell but not taste), my sugar abstinence ended after 2.5 months when I came to the realisation that life is far too short to restrict myself from a certified organic, refined sugar-free, dairy-free, delicious muffin.
My willpower is solid, there’s no question about that. When I was a kid I would have a competition (against myself – I’m an only child) to see how long I could save my Easter eggs for. My record was one whole year. I know I could have continued to stay away from sugar, but I didn’t want to. The thing is, I’m done with restrictive diets.
It’s been six years since I lived without any kind of dietary restriction, and now I say no more. The restrictions served their purpose. They pulled me away from a diet of food that wasn’t actually food and led me to where I am now – a lover of food that loves me back. I eat only real, organic food because this is what my body wants and what it was designed to eat. From now on, that’s the only restriction I’m giving myself. The rest I will leave up to my intuition.
Have you tried to quit sugar? How was/is it for you? Join the conversation in the comments below.
Positive affirmation for the day: I am more than what I eat.
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