So, it’s been a week without sugar. And I’m still standing. Yay, me!
But seriously, folks, it really hasn’t been that hard. I have only missed sugar twice this week. Once when I made collard greens without the dash of maple syrup (plus hot sauce) I usually cook them with. The second time was Friday night, when I had such raging cravings for something sweet AND for peanut butter that I almost bit down on a kitchen cabinet door to distract myself. But I held firm, and the craving passed. No harm, no foul.
On a happy note, I’ve made a few tasty discoveries. For example, I was having a late breakfast yesterday after my microbiology lab, and I wanted a little something extra on my slice of Ezekiel toast. So what did I do? I spread on my almond butter, then topped it with half a mashed banana. Then I sprinkled some ground flax seed on top. Mmmmmmmm…tasty and nutritious!
I’ve found that when trying to reduce intake of a certain food or beverage (especially sugar, caffeine and alcohol), it’s easier for me to abstain from it for a few weeks or months. It’s like hitting the “reset” button. Then, when I resume consumption, it’s really easy for me to enjoy smaller amounts of it. I don’t feel deprived the same way I do when I try to go straight to a simple reduction. This may not be the case for everyone, of course. Some people are prone to binging when they put a firm “no” on a particular food. Goodness knows I’ve had some issues with food, but binging has never been one of them!
I think that another aspect of temporarily cutting out highly palatable foods (i.e., foods that contain some combination of the sugar-fat-salt trifecta) is that it gives you a chance to break the various habits associated with those foods. If you are in the habit of having dessert after dinner, you become conditioned to expect dessert after dinner, regardless of what you ate, or how full you are. If you are in the habit of getting a candy bar from the vending machine mid-afternoon, guess what you are going to start craving every day mid-afternoon? If you always get a pastry with your latte, you start to associate lattes with pastries, as if you can’t have one without the other. Sometimes, I wonder how much we really differ from lab rats…
Anyhoo, I’ve been enjoying this little break from sugar in all its guises. When my two weeks is up, I’m thinking that I’ll reintroduce select items (such as maple syrup in my collard greens), but remain committed to a diet that is as low-sugar as realistically possible without feeling too austere, or resorting to artificial sweeteners.