My sugar free month is over and I thought I would reflect a little and talk about why I did it and how it went.
Refined sugar is one of our generations biggest problems. Not only does it make our teeth rot (we all know about that), it has ZERO nutrients and makes our glucose levels spike to unhealthy highs. It also gets stored in the body as fat and can even lead to diabetes.
The yummy stuff, nobody denies that, makes us release dopamine which makes it so highly addictive. The one we are talking about is refined sugar, fructose or more natural sugar from fruits, is a different story and much easier for the body to process, as it usually comes with added benefits like fibre and water. Also it's hard to have a lot of it in one sitting.
After my Christmas binge on cookies, cakes etc. I devised to give my body a little rest and concentrate on more healthy things, also in the hope of craving less sweet stuff once my month was over.
I personally do not like alternatives to sugar like stevia or xylitol (sugar free chewing gum is ok) - I would probably still rather have refined sugar, so I had to find my sugar replacement elsewhere.
My best finds include:
, its surprising how much you can sweeten with dates - porridge, yogurt, cakes. They're even great as a simple snack in between or as a base for some great energy ball recipes. Deliciously Ella
has great ones.
Maple syrup and honey, which I still use sparingly but also in baking very helpful, for banana bread and sprinkled over pancakes. Both are also very sugary and in high doses pretty much the same as refined sugar.
Dark chocolate, not only is it proven to be healthy it also has no sugar and still counts as a treat.
What I worked out quickly was that HIDDEN SUGAR is everywhere - it's so shocking where it is hiding - regular, vegan or vegetarian spreads - cereal's got tons of it and ketchup we all know about. You can be caught out though as the food industry also uses quite a lot of other names for sugar to hide it effectivly, so reading the label properly has become quite a task for me this month, and it was an eye opener.
Other names for sugar:
corn sweetener, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, fruit juice concentrates, glucose, high-fructose corn syrup, invert sugar, lactose, maltose, malt syrup, raw sugar, sucrose, sugar syrup, cane crystals, cane sugar, crystalline fructose, evaporated cane juice, corn syrup solids, malt syrup
I would say it made me much more aware of where sugar is hiding and how much I normally would have gone for, also I do now want it less, so there must be something in going cold turkey.
Am I glad the month is over?
- hell yes I am... I like the occasional treat like a proper lovely piece of cake or some ice cream with my girls. I like sugar when you can taste it and you know you are having it and you can properly enjoy it, then it's all worth it. What I don't like are the hidden sugars, tucked away in seemingly healthy yogurts that don't even taste that sweet, cereals - even the organic proper looking ones, bread, and in most other processed food.
These I will make sure will not sneak back into my life - so thank you sugar free month. Now I will have a simple biscuit with my tea... that's probably what I have been looking forward to the most.