Giving up sugar: why would you ever want to do that? Sugar is delicious. So delicious that I’ve found myself stuffing half a batch of fresh chocolate chip cookies into my mouth in one sitting, despite knowing that this kind of behavior isn’t exactly in my best interest or that of my body, the body that would prefer to remain diabetes-free.
I guess that’s sort of the problem.
If you’re like me and you can’t stop stuffing chocolate fudge ice cream down your gullet once the gullet-stuffing has started, you might be sensitive to sugar. You should also know that sugar is a highly addictive – even toxic – substance.
Publications like the New York Times are finally writing about what health and wellness gurus have been touting for years. Sugar is the legal crack pipe of the food world. And sugar is in everything. Virtually any packaged food contains sugar in some form, probably listed as an unrecognizable word, thanks to all those syllables that don’t mean anything unless you’re a food chemist. You probably have no idea just how much sugar you consume on a daily basis.
When I first cut all the processed white snow out of my diet for two weeks, my emotions stabilized along with my blood sugar. I was able to deal with distractions and annoyances and minor disasters and emotional upheavals with a lot more equanimity. I don’t know if this would be everyone’s reaction, but it clearly proved that sugar has a serious impact on my system.
Try It Out – It’s Not As Bad As You Might Think
If you want to try cutting sugar for yourself, you can either go cold turkey or wean yourself more slowly. I have to go cold turkey because if I give myself an inch, I take a mile. In fact, I go all the way around the world, devouring every Hostess cupcake that crosses my path. So I choose a prescribed cleanse that tells me exactly what I can and can’t eat – it cuts the guesswork and my inclination to cheat.
(I’ve been doing the 21-Day cleanse in Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy Diet book, which basically has me eating a lot of fresh vegetables and no packaged food and no sugar for three weeks. She has substitutes for sugary treats and I’ve barely missed the cookies.)
If you prefer to wean yourself slowly, nix the sugary coffees and sodas and those strangely-hued sports drinks for a week. The following week, give up desserts. Substitute in air popped popcorn with olive oil and truffle salt or dried apricots or a few squares of high quality dark chocolate. You can bake and sweeten coffee with natural sugar alternatives like stevia and agave.
In the third week, start cutting back on packaged food with all the insidious sugar. It’s amazing how many easy, healthy, and delicious recipes there are out there that you can make yourself.
You don’t have to commit to a life without sugar. You can give it up for two or three weeks as an experiment. Trust me, you can do anything for two weeks. It may take the first week for the cravings to stop, but by the second week, you’ll probably find you miss it far less than you expected. If you like the way you feel, you can keep going. If you want to return to the sweet, sweet embrace of sprinkled donuts, that’s fine too.
I adore sugar. I love snickerdoodles and lemon cake and caramel mochas from Starbucks. But eliminating wild mood swings is worth giving up the sugar crack pipe. Plus, I fit into my skinny jeans again.
Would you ever give up sweets? What are your favorite guilty pleasures?