My Backstory: Sugar & Me
My love affair with sugar began when I was not even two years of age: I was caught by my father on our kitchen counter with two hands and one foot placed atop the refrigerator, ready like a monkey to pull myself up. To get to the cookie jar.
I’m a pretty healthy gal. My produce is organic, I eat my fruits and veggies (though fruit is preferred), and I’m very active. I get that I’m a bit ahead of anyone who’s struggling with fast food and soda pop. But when I pay attention to what I’m actually eating, it’s easy for me to consume upwards of 60 grams of sugar in a day–sometimes upwards of 80! I’m including dried fruit and naturally occurring sugars (like the sugar in raspberries) in that calculation, but that has to be rough on the body. And my proof is in how friggin’ hard it has been to get the hell off the white stuff. This is my third Week 1.
On sugar, I wake up groggy, I need more sleep, I crash at 3pm, and all I want is the sweet stuff. My experience with sugar detox has been that Days 1-3 are white-knuckle days, but invariably on Day 3 my palate begins to change, and things that tasted good before are now just too sweet. The subsequent days you just have to rock steady.
I actually did great my very first week in terms of not permitting more than 25 grams of added sugar per day into my diet. It was week three that got me. Then I had some rebound time and I recommitted. And then week three got me again. So, this is Round 3…
Sugar, Rounds 1 & 2: Sugar the Victor
I was doing okay. It was hard, but I was doing it. Then I fell off the wagon as my cycle approached, and I had a terrible rebound full of chocolate and sweet tea. Then, just to prove to myself the damage I was doing, I bought an at-home blood sugar kit. I tested multiple times a day–fasting levels, before and after meals, before bedtime. I was pretty thorough. And I learned I have a badass of a pancreas. It hit every curve ball and kept me well within normal limits. As a result, I have much more appreciation for this body that is only trying to do right by me. I don’t want to see my body’s efficiency as a reason that it’s okay to literally wear it out doing its job. I want to see it as a reason to be kind to it, treat it well, so that it can serve me well into old age. A mentor of mine once told me to plan to be 100. I consider this part of that plan. And so, with renewed vigor, I recommit. Again.
Sugar Round 3
Week 1, Round 3 has been easier actually and I think it’s because I’m tired of struggling. I’ve worn myself out. It’s time to just do it. I have some food allergies so I can’t eat normal American packaged foods. The packaged foods I can eat are pretty expensive and are healthier than conventional choices, but I’ve noticed they are still sugary as hell. My kale chips have added sugar, my jerky bars have six grams! My kombucha has four grams a bottle, and that I simply cannot give up, so these other things will have to go. It is back to basics and food planning for me.
Week 1 has been a success. It has also been full of grapefruit, spinach lentil dahl, black tea with bergamot and half ‘n half, and the plainest oatmeal I have ever eaten. Week 2, I’m coming for you.