Sometime after Easter weekend, after indulging in way too much leftover Easter candy, I got the idea to do a sugar detox. I'd say my diet is overall pretty healthy, but l do have a pretty hefty sweet tooth. With all the Easter chocolate lying around, I'd been sneaking sweet treats pretty much after every meal and got to the point that I was even craving something sweet a few times per day. I really didn't like that feeling. So, last Monday, I started on a 5 day sugar detox. Nothing fancy, I just cut out all added sugars. I still let myself have natural sugars like fruit, because I knew that my sweets-loving-self wouldn't make it without at least that. As for all that Easter chocolate? I melted it down and made these amazing brownies to give away to friends/family (one day before my detox, so I could taste them of course): tastykitchen.com/recipes/desserts/milk-chocolate-brownies/
Sugar detox turned out to be hard. I had no idea that some of the "healthy" foods I was eating regularly had added sugar in them. I quickly learned that pretty much all prepared and/or processed foods have added sugar. Bread (even the healthy, organic variety), spaghetti sauce, granola bars, salad dressing, you name it. I had to stick to eating mostly raw foods, which actually wasn't the bad part at all. I ate a lot of fruits, veggies, minimally processed grains, and vegetarian proteins like beans and eggs. The hard part was the cravings. Between the hours of 2-4pm and then again after dinner were the worst. I had this uncomfortable yearning for something sweet to get me out of the natural energy slump of those times of the day, and had to very consciously focus my attention on something other than wanting to eat a piece of chocolate/candy. Sugar addiction is real, you guys. Read this article from Forbes if you don't believe me: www.forbes.com/sites/jacobsullum/2013/10/16/research-shows-cocaine-and-heroin-are-less-addictive-than-oreos/#3281d5042427
Doing this 5 day sugar detox thing really brought to light how much sugar I was actually eating in a day, and how I was relying on it for both comfort and quick energy boost reasons. I'd add honey to my oatmeal or yogurt in the morning. Creamer to my coffee. A piece of chocolate after lunch. A granola bar for a 3pm snack. A 5pm cookie from the sweets tray at work. A small and healthy dinner, so that I could afford a bigger dessert. And some wine in the evening with a nice pairing of dark chocolate. Not to mention the added sugars in the foods I was eating for each meal. YIKES. No wonder the cravings hit me hard. And sometimes made me crash...
5 days doesn't seem like a long time, but it was. There were several times I almost caved. Like the time I had a rough day at work and almost dug into the ice cream tub to feel better. Or when shark week kicked in and I instinctively craved chocolate as a "cramp remedy". But I'm happy to say that I made it. Yeah, I had to sniff the Nutella jar a few times, but I made it. I don't really believe in fad diets, I just did this to bring awareness to myself about my sugar habit. And to help decrease my sugar cravings.
Well, it actually worked.
Even though I wasn't limiting myself anymore, I found that I really wasn't thinking much about sweets this past weekend. I did have dessert a couple of times after dinner, but that was about it. And, surprisingly, it hasn't been too hard to find places to cut back on sugar throughout my day. This morning, I ate waffles with almond butter and no honey and coffee with just milk instead of creamer. Once again to my surprise, I really didn't miss the sugar additions. Healthy changes for the win.
I’m Betty and I live in the beautiful pacific northwest. I'm a mommy. Vegetarian. Wife to a meatatarian. Pediatric physical therapist. Outdoor enthusiast. Enjoyer of fitness/healthy living. Even bigger enjoyer wine and chocolate lava cake. And hoping to find some balance between it all.