Saturday, November 28, 2009

No Sugar November - Results

I did it...or at least came pretty close.

There are two times when it is nearly impossible to avoid eating sugar:

1) When you are eating at someone else's house (even when you avoid dessert): Because sugar is in basically everything, I would have had to bring my own food wherever I went all month. That is a little too much for me to think about right now. I know I had sugar when I had a sandwich at a friend's house, bacon in mashed potatoes at my mom's house, and stuffing and bread at thanksgiving (and the stuffing I ate at a Whole Foods Cooking Class) but I am not about imposing inconvenience on my friends and family.

2) When you are sick. My daughter was very sick at the beginning of the month. Never took her to the doctor, so I don't know what she had but I took Elderberry Syrup that has glucose in it to boost my immune system along with some oscillococcinum that has sugar in it.

and Ohh there is one more 3) Thanksgiving day. Although I told myself that I was going to skip the dessert on Thanksgiving, when the time came I just couldn't resist a piece of homemade cherry pie. It was good and worth it. One other failure, I ate a veal nitrate-free hot dog. After I finished, I thought to myself, wow that was sweet and when I checked the package sure enough, it had cane juice in it. Really? Even hot dogs? Incredible!

As I initially said, I was doing this as a health test, not to lose weight. And in case you were wondering, I didn't gain or loose weight. I stayed the same. Here is what I noticed during my little experiment:

* It was really hard in the beginning. If I had been doing it for any other reason, I would have given in and eaten sugar within the first 3 days. But I really wanted to see if I felt different without sugar.

* My sugar cravings diminished over time. In the beginning it was really really hard to not think about what I wasn't having. By week three, it was much easier.

* I never realized I had such a Pavlovian response to sugar. Two times my kids ate ice cream while I was doing this and the whole time my mouth was seriously salivating over the ice cream. It was a very strong response that really surprised me.

* It was awesome to see my kids encourage me. My dad was teasing me trying to tell me that the homemade caramel he made didn't have sugar in it and my son (4 years old) said "Momma I think Grandpa is trying to trick you, I know you are trying not to eat any sugar." When we walked into Maggie Moos to get the kids ice cream at the mall, my daughter (2 years old), put both of her hands to her head in dismay and said "Ohh Noooo. Ice Cream has a lot of sugar in it Mama." I assured her that I would skip the ice cream, but she could still have hers. I think I will make this a yearly thing, although probably not in November again. It was a great conversation starter for the kids.

* Not to get too personal, but my luteal phase is usually too short. This time it was as long as it should be.

* My energy was more constant throughout the day. I didn't have the usual lows of tiredness.

* Although I have been eliminating sugar slowly for the past six months, I was surprised how much I had to still say no too. Mainly desserts when at other people's houses. At first it was hard, but by the end sitting dessert out is a lot easier than I thought it would be.

From doing this I learned that I can give up sugar and feel better when doing so. I honestly don't think one month is long enough to fully realize the benefits of no sugar, so I plan to watch my sugar intake and keep it low over the coming months.


Maggie said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. The whole sugar in hot dogs drives me crazy too! One thing you didn't mention that I noticed when I've gone off sugar is how sweet fruit seems, especially apples. Did you notice that?

BTW, I know I've been to your site before (since I added it to my Google reader) but did I invite you to a Michigan foodblogger group I'm a part of? Here's a link to more about the group if you are interested.

MaltaMom said...


Yes, I noticed that. I did this one time when I was in high school before and I remember that when I tasted a lemon it tasted very sweet to me.

I also forgot to add that the one negative I found was breakfast. I made myself some Muesli for breakfast in the morning, because the steel cut oats were just a little too painful for me to eat without the teaspoon of brown sugar....but when I did that I was substituting the sugar in the milk (about 6-9 grams for 1/2 to 3/4 cup) for the 4 grams of sugar in the teaspoon of sugar. I'm not sure how the body differs between sugar in milk and straight-up brown sugar, but it is something I was thinking about.

You're group sounds interesting. Sign me up!

Kate said...

For one year I took out all refined sugar (and caffeine) from my diet and that made a big difference in my blood sugar stability and on my PMS, which totally went away! I ate fruit, but only occasionally had a little honey (on oatmeal which I too find painful to eat without a little bit of something sweet!)

It wasn't too hard so long as I remembered to avoid any processed foods--crackers usually contain a lot of sugar so I made toasted pita instead. And the cravings were minimal after a while.

It was an interesting experiment and I'm glad to know I can do it, but finally my love of chocolate and coffee won out!

Shayne said...

I did a detox this month and it made a world of difference not I don't really crave sweets (not that i did much before) but fruit now tastes so good.

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