Wednesday, April 3, 2013

I quit sugar...

... and I miss it.

Sort of.

I mean, I don't miss what sugar does to me.  Makes me pudgy, tired, feel gross if I eat too much of it, etc.  What I love is what happens to me when I take my first, second, third bites.  The way my cravings are satisfied with the bite of a cookie, or a bit of dark chocolate.

The problem is that I never stop at just a bite or a bit.

It's a full-on addiction and I'm trying to stop.

As I seem to find everything these days, I first spotted the "I Quit Sugar" ebook/program on Pinterest months ago.  I 'liked' it, but thought there was no way in hell I'd ever be able to quit sugar.  Not uh, no way, not gonna happen.  And why would I want to?  I don't eat that much sugar.

Or so I thought.

On a whim one morning, I thought about the book again.  I opened up my Pinterest and found the link, and immediately downloaded it to the Kindle app on our iPad (how's that for instant gratification?).  I started reading and over the next day, made my way through the book.  It was eye-opening, to say the least.  I never realized how bad sugar is for the human body.  Well, everyone knows sugar isn't good, but I figured since I wasn't gorging on cupcakes and candy everyday that it didn't make much of a dent in my health.

Oh, denial.  It's a wonderful thing.

Did you know that the average American adult consumes upwards of 110 grams of sugar per day?  That's 22 teaspoons.  Go ahead; picture 22 teaspoons of sugar.  It's almost half a cup.  Who really eats that much sugar in a day?  Not me.

Think about this: 1 can of coke=10 teaspoons of sugar.  Now I haven't regularly consumed soda (save for a root beer or coke here and there during a year) since I was in high school, so that hasn't been an issue.  Rather, a typical day for me would look like this:

Breakfast: Cereal & skim milk (usually Kashi)
Snack: Blueberry Greek yogurt (Oikos) or cup of Mott's unsweetened applesauce
Lunch: Lunchmeat sandwich or veggie-filled wrap
Snack: Hot tea (no sugar or milk), granola bar (Kashi or Nature Valley), or a banana
Dinner: Usually a small portion of meat, with a salad, a veggie, and possibly a starch.  Or a full-on veggie meal.
Dessert: Two bowls of cereal (Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Cocoa Puffs, etc) with skim milk

The above is 100 grams of sugar, which is just shy of 22 teaspoons.  Yikes.

I started Sarah Wilson's "I Quit Sugar" program and so far, a week and a half in, I like it.  The PMS cravings monster is rearing it's ugly head today, so that's been a battle, but so far I'm doing well.  Most of the sugar is out of our house, and I did pretty well with grocery shopping this week by reading labels like a crazy person.  Although I'm on a no-sugar program right now, once it's finished I'll be able to gradually start having sugar again, but I need to make sure it's less than 25 grams per day, preferably not fructose, and mostly natural (obv I will have a cookie every so often).

The ultimate goal of the IQS program is to rid your body of its addiction to sugar in all its forms.  Fructose and Glucose (Lactose is okay).  It goes for 8 weeks and you are to give up everything right down to the natural sugars in fruits.  Sure, fruits are good for you, but really the big benefit of fruits vs the calorically-empty-yet so-delicious chocolate cake is the fact that fruit at least has vitamins and minerals in it.  But unfortunately, fruit is loaded with sugar, and whether it's natural or not, once it gets into your body, Mr. Liver doesn't seem to care.  Unless it can be used right away (i.e. you are in the middle of a run and you're scarfing a banana), your liver takes the sugar and converts it into fat.  Boom.

Anyway, after the 8 weeks are up, hopefully you (or in this case, I) will not be as addicted to sugar.  I will be able to eat a piece of fruit and be satisfied with the sweetness and not have to sneak a Snickers bar instead.  I'll have an arsenal of sugar-free or low-sugar recipes under my belt.  And speaking of belts, hopefully I'll have to tighten mine after dropping a few pounds around my belly.

So, we'll see what happens.  I'll post updates now and again, probably on those days when I want to cave and bite the damn ears off of the chocolate bunnies Jon's parents had sent us for Easter.  If you're at all interested in learning more about sugar's impact on the human body (seriously, it's quite interesting) I'll post some resources below.  (And don't worry - I'm not out to convert anyone or scold you for continuing to eat sugar.  I just seriously need to distract myself from the constant yearning to whip up a batch of cookies for myself.)

Peace, Love, and Unsweetened Everything,

I Quit Sugar e-book /Cookbook
Forbes.com Infographic
NY Times Article: Is Sugar Toxic?
Fructose Overload Infographic
How Sugar Has Been Changing America Infographic
Sugar vs Cocaine Infographic
This Is Your Brain on Sugar Article
It's Hard to Find Real Food Infographic
Documentary: Hungry for Change (Netflix streaming)

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