Whoa. Not at all what I expected!
How hard could it be right? No sugar, alcohol, unhealthy foods, and artificial additives for a MONTH? It turns out it’s a lot tougher than you’d think.
I felt as if my sugar cravings and consumption were getting out of hand, so I attempted to live for a month without consuming sugar, alcohol, or processed foods. I’ve tried before but only lasted for about a week. I felt great, but soon afterward I was back on sugar again and my cravings were even stronger and more frequent.
The foods that were acceptable to eat during my sugar fast were fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, oily fish (salmon), nuts, legumes and cottage cheese but healthy cottage cheese from the likes of Good Culture and other organic food suppliers. I swapped out the salmon for grape seed oil and more legumes.
I avoided processed food like pizza, veggie burgers, beer and wine, chocolate bars, and popcorn. It shouldn’t have been too difficult, right? I learned of some things that sugar is in that we rarely consider–such as tomato soup, prepared ice tea, and even stir-fry sauces.
In fact, here are a few foods you would never expect to have sugar in them:
- Tomato-based pasta sauces: They have four teaspoons per 1/2 cup serving, and who only has half a cup of sauce?
- Fat-free salad dressings: In order to eliminate the fat but keep the flavor, they add sugar and salt. Sometimes there’s as much as two teaspoons of sugar per two tablespoons of dressing.
- Smoothies: These are sugar bombs if you don’t make them yourself. If you get a commercially-prepared smoothie, you can get as much as nine and one-half teaspoons of sugar per cup.
- Barbecue sauce: Most have as much as three teaspoons of sugar in two tablespoons of sauce. This one seems the cruelest one of them all.
It’s important to read the label of anything you’re going to consume if you want to cut down on sugar. If it’s one of the top 5 ingredients, avoid it at all possible.
For my first breakfast, I had a large glass of juice, which was loaded with natural sugar, but sugar all the same. For anyone looking to reduce sugar consumption, juice is something you only want to drink in moderation. I tried to make sure the first meal of the day was always fruit. So for the rest of the month I had a banana, grapes, grapefruit, apples or a smoothie with green vegetables and fruit mixed—30% fruit and 70% green vegetables.
It’s pretty simple to see why giving up sugar is a healthy start to reducing sugar in one’s diet, but why alcohol? Well, there’s definitely sugar in alcohol, but the sugar content in liqueurs is the highest of all — almost half of it is sugar.
As I went through my sugar-alcohol-free month, I had some mood swings, and found that tempting foods were everywhere. Alcohol is not a common indulgence of mine—I maybe have 2 beers a month and mostly in the summer months. Other than that I don’t stock alcohol at home and only have it when it’s offered in a social setting. So this part wasn’t incredibly challenging. But for some it’s not so simple. If that’s you, here’s a discrete method of keeping drinking under control. – HERE
As for sugary, carb-filled snacks, I have what I like to call “geographical food cues”. This is a sensation of yummy food when I’m close to a particular part of town where I know my favorite flavors are sold. I come to a stop light or an intersection where I know they sell the best veggie patty, gluten free brownies or non dairy milk shakes.
But in the end, when I checked the scale, I found that I had lost 6 pounds, and lowered my blood pressure and cholesterol levels. I had to admit I felt better, but will probably go back to indulging now and then. It’s a slippery slope and truly takes some creativity and willpower ==> or an easy to follow program that actually gives you the tools to succeed—cuz sugar is a hell of a drug.
It can be challenging to give up sugar, alcohol, and processed foods, but even if you just try it out for a month, you’d be pleasantly surprised at the results. Be warned that sugar is secretly in almost everything and you need to be vigilant to not consume it.
For comprehensive meal planning for more plant based meals and on-line support take a look at the eCourse
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