So this has been my most recent purchase, specifically targeted to a sugar reduction charge in full force. I was pointed in Sarah’s direction by a friend over twitter and fell in love with Sarah’s mixed bag blog instantly.
An Australian journalist, ex editor of Cosmopolitan (have I mentioned I love Cosmopolitan) and gorgeous brunette with style, perception and wit, I couldn’t resist Sarah’s bundle package of her I Quit Sugar Cookbook and 8 Week Plan.
The I Quit Sugar 8 Week Plan says it all really – Sarah quit sugar, bigtime and for good. Impressive eh? My absolute favourite quote from the whole book at Week 8:
“There’s an assumption – and I certainly started out this way – that living sugar-free would remain a battle forever. It just isn’t. The enemy just leaves the battlefield”
It leaves the battlefield? Wow so you just don’t bother thinking about it anymore? Despite having reduced my cravings from strong addiction a few years ago, I still get them on a lesser more controlled degree. Reading this book I became curious to see if I could really kick them for good, I mean not going to my Grandma’s and loosing control at the first piece of fudge…interesting.
So I decided for the first time ever to try and follow something, motivated mostly by my desire to experiment with ‘recallibrating’ the taste buds to taste sugar more intensely (you need less and fruit tastes better apparently). I also wanted to see if the health benefit of going cold turkey on sugar is a marked up difference from my apparent energetic healthiness I currently enjoy. Basically is it worth it?
Making a start – Weeks 1-4
Ouch… “When you quit sugar, you quit ALL of it. Fruit, fruit juice, agave and honey included” Sarah states. I have never before and would never recommend cutting fruit, it’s super healthy. I’ve literally gobbled in so many blueberries over the last year someone’s going to go out of business if I do this. However, like Sarah I’m curious and her quirky quotes pull me back “Treat quitting sugar as an experiment. Not a life sentence. You don’t have to stick with it. But you might just choose to.”
Facing the harsh reality and with the thought that it’s just for a few weeks where fruit is introduced back in Week 6, I commit to get started.
Week 1 is really about switching good sugars for bad (easy) and Week 2 is about upping your fat intake (think more cheese – nice!) so the hard bit really only starts in Week 3.
The first pain comes when I go shopping and only just manage not to put any fruit in the trolley, replacing instead with avocados, courgettes the largest box of eggs ever. Somewhat impressed that I got that far. However, the next week I picked up a banana and strawberries, put them back, picked them up again then put them back. Slightly ridiculous I know, is low sugar making me go mad?
Breakfast is by far the hardest meal of the day. Eggs are the obvious option but I exhaust my tolerance to them pretty quickly and wake up thinking please no more eggs. Scrambled, poached, a frittata – I can’t help thinking if you don’t like eggs, you’re rather stuck on this regime.
My coconut flakes finally arrive in the post and I make up a batch of Sarah’s Coconutty Granola whilst eating a load from the packet because they taste sweetly divine. This with some Total yoghurt does make for a nicer breakfast but my gosh am I missing my berries.
I also found post morning run recovery hard where Banana was my fuel of choice. I quickly get some toast, eggs and tinned tomatoes down to avoid feeling faint, unsure if I am really allowed the brown bread but not really caring at that point.
Sarah claims ‘Go Gently. Diets don’t work, forcing doesn’t work’. I align with this philosophy and strangely it does make the whole thing easier where I know I make my own choices. A previous daily dark chocolate habit seems to have evaporated with minimal pain and I definitely find the egg breakfasts keep me going longer till lunch i.e. I don’t get ravenous.
Friday night hits and whilst Sarah says a glass or two of wine is allowed, I think I consume a fair bit more than that, but I do try and stick to wine on the most part. Someone buys me a Jagerbomb and I feel guilty for not eating fruit all day and bailing by injecting a load of sugar in its worst form. Oh well, lapses happen and there’s a whole chapter on lapses so I’m confident I can be back on the bandwagon the next day despite a slight hangover.
The hungover munchies do attack the following day but I go for salty over sweet and succeed until very late when a small packet of chocolate buttons is unthoughtfully consumed. I feel sick, they were too sweet and gross and I didn’t enjoy at all. Maybe this is working after all.
So here I am in the middle of the program and highly motivated just to keep this ridiculously detailed diary. From what I’ve noticed I have been sleeping very well and despite upping my fat in the form of cheese and nuts, I have woken up feeling slimmer on a few days. I am still craving but I’m enjoying my herbal teas, the haloumi cheese and cashew nuts that seem to be a good distraction.
Next installment to come soon…
Here are links if you are interested in either the I Quit Sugar 8 Week Program or the I Quit Sugar Cookbook or you can buy them both in a bundle and they are instantly downloadable.