Thoughts from my Sugar-Free Month

posted on: Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Gabriel's grandmother sent him all my favorite chocolates from Brazil, just to tempt me.
If I can't eat them I can at least play with them.

Let me just start by telling you right now that I did eat sugar this past month. You know why? Because there is sugar in mayonnaise. That's why. And in Worcester sauce too. Ketchup I already knew so I avoided it but whole wheat store bread has sugar, even though I thought it didn't. I bought it because I hate reading labels, specially in front of other people. I don't want people to think that I worry about what I eat, as if worrying about what you eat is a bad thing. Gosh! So in full disclosure my sugar-free month was not entirely sugar-free because all these things that I never knew had sugar in them apparently do.

There was also a charity dinner last week where I volunteered to make brigaderos. It was a sold out event where people paid a lot of money to attend and I had volunteered to make a dessert way before I had put myself up to the no sugar challenge. I decided to make brigadeiros because they always taste good. Chocolate, sweetened-condensed milk, and butter, how could it ever taste bad. But as I was rolling up the little brigadeiros and coating them with chocolate jimmys I panicked. What if they tasted bad? The people who paid a lot of money to attend this gala dinner to raise money to help children with cancer would hate me if I served them a nasty dessert. So I ate one brigadeiro just to make sure they tasted right. It was for a good cause.

Throughout this month I received a lot of questions from readers asking me about my sugar-free month. Embrace yourself, this might take a while.

Did you lose any weight?
The scale is telling me that I am 3 pounds lighter than when I last weighed myself a month ago. So I am going to say no, no I didn't loose weight because I could very well go downstairs right now and have lunch and come back and weigh myself and be 3 pounds heavier. Other than not intentionally eating sugar my diet stayed the same. I wasn't really expecting to loose any weight.

How did you manage to get your kids on board?
Baby Maria is a baby (an almost 2 year old baby, but whatever). She had no choice. Enzo is 5 and he knows all about desserts. There was a Mother's Day party at his school and all the kids got one cookie. He wanted it so bad and begged me to let him eat it. I felt awful that he had to beg me. Of course he could eat the cookie. I want him to enjoy eating I just don't want him to just enjoy eating sugar, that's all. So basically when there was an event and he asked me for a piece of dessert I let him have it. And you know what? He just asked for one piece and he was good. At home he didn't ask for any candy or any sweets which that right there made it all worth it.

Do you feel any different from not eating sugar?
Yes, yes, and yes. The most obvious difference is my skin. I was having nasty breakouts every month, like 15 year-old-puberty-style-breakouts. This month I haven't had one single breakout. My skin looks amazing, if I can say so myself. It might have something to do with not eating sugar or it might have something to do with drinking more water. It's probably a combination of both. The other significant difference is my mood. I talked about that in this post.

What did you learn from this experience?
Lots of things actually. First I learned that there is sugar in everything, and that made me sad. Obviously I'm not the first one to notice this but do we really need to add sugar to mayonnaise? It's heart breaking so see that unless we make all of our own food we're pretty much always going to be eating sugar or corn-syrup in one form or another even when we don't intend to. All in all it's made me more aware of what I eat and what I'm feeding my kids. It's not that I am anti-sugar, it's just that I would like to eat sugar when I want to eat sugar, like on a piece of chocolate cake. I don't want to be consuming sugar when I'm eating tuna-salad on bread, that's all.

What now?
Now I know I can say no to a piece of brownie. That feels good. It feels empowering as heck. I don't have to eat something just because it's put in front of me, unless of couse I'm at someone's house and they offer it to me. In that case I will eat it because I believe in being polite. At the same time you can tell people you don't eat sugar and they respect it just like when I tell people I don't drink and they respect it. Yesterday we had a big pot-luck BBQ at our friends house. There were all sorts of desserts, including big juicy slices of watermelon. I ate the watermelon and I was o.k. I used to feel like I would die if I didn't eat the brownie, or the cookie, or the cake or all three. Now I know that I will live. I learned that I don't need to be dramatic about what I eat or don't eat. I just need to feel good about what I eat and feel good afterwards too.

Will you eat sugar again?
Yes. In fact I want to make a chocolate cake this weekend. Enzo and I have been reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. We're more than half way done and to celebrate finishing his first chapter book I want to make a chocolate cake with him. I'll probably use less sugar than normal. I really want to try more sugar-free recipes like these cookies from Green Kitchen Stories. However, when we do use sugar I think we'll try to limit ourselves to maybe just baking something sweet on the weekends or having a homemade popsicle made from agua fresca every now and then.

I want to go off sugar what do you suggest?
I suggest you read this article from the New York Times and if you have time watch this video. If you don't have time than watch this other video instead. If that doesn't motivate you to cut back on sugar I don't know what will. Once you decide to go off sugar then do it. Just stop. I'm so glad we did it cold turkey otherwise it would have been impossible. I know that if I had tried to wean myself it would not have worked at all. The craving would of never gone away. Decide to stop and do it. See how you feel. The best indicator is your own body, if you feel better not eating sugar it will be easy to stay off.

Good luck.
Tomorrow is June 1st.
You can do it!

Let me know if you have any other questions, I'll answer them in the comments section.


Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails