Update: No Sugar Experiment

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The no-sugar experiment continues and I thought that some of you might enjoy an update on my progress. I’m almost three weeks into it and I think it is going pretty well.

Sugars I’m trying to avoid:

  • Refined sugar, i.e. white sugar
  • Honey
  • Evaporated cane juice
  • All artificial sugars (I don’t normally eat these anyway, but some people think that I should/could substitute): aspartame, sucralose (splenda), saccharin
  • Corn Syrup/High Fructose Corn Syrup
  • Dextrose
  • Stevia

Goals for no-sugar experiment:

  • Reduced mood swings so that I won’t yell as much at my kids or husband
  • More energy
  • Clarity when thinking
  • Weight loss

You may notice that I haven’t given up lactose or fructose. Lactose is the natural sugar that is in cow’s milk. Fructose is the natural sugar in fruits. I’ve been working towards having our family eat a more whole food based diet. I figured that if the sugar is naturally occurring in the foods, I wasn’t going to worry about it too much.

Experiment Notes:

I haven’t been perfect with the no-sugar experiment. The Nature’s Own bread that my husband and I eat has sugar in it. I figured that the amount in it is negligible. That being said, I ended up making our own bread and the recipes calls for honey in it. The first time I made it, I only put in a few teaspoons of honey, mainly because I miss read tsp. for T. The second go-around I put the correct amount in the bread and it tasted better. I tried to make a no-sugar cheesecake. That experiment was a fail. I ended up adding a 1/4 cup of honey to the batter because it was unbearable to eat. The cheesecake is okay, but I would rather eat a piece of my husband’s Irish Cream Cheesecake.

I put Stevia on the list of sugars to avoid, mainly because I don’t like the flavor of it. If I’m going to sweeten something, I would rather use some honey. I have had a sneak of some ice cream the other day. I made fried apples walnuts in coconut oil and cinnamon. I put a scoop of Breyer’s Natural Ice Cream on top and it tasted like apple pie without the crust.

By avoiding these sugars, I realized how much sugar is added to processed foods. Did you know that French fries at most restaurants have sugar added in the form of dextrose? Why do French fries need sugar? I make all sorts of potato dishes at home and they all taste fantastic without sugar.

I have evaporated cane juice on the list because it is a sweetener and I am trying to cut out as much sugar as possible so that I wouldn’t have sugar cravings. Evaporated cane juice is in a lot of the more “natural” or organic products. I don’t know that it is bad for you in moderation, but it is still a sugar product.

So what have I eaten instead of my normal cookies, cakes and ice cream treats. I’ve been eating dates, Larabars, nuts, smoothies, protein drinks, string cheese, fruit, banana oatie sugarless cookies and popcorn. I love dates. They are a little pocket of sugar-goodness and I love them. Larabars are good and normally consist of just two to three ingredients, normally dates, some kind of nut and maybe something else. They are expensive though, so I try not to eat them every day. I normally bring them as a snack to eat at work. I was lucky to find them this weekend at a Nashville Kroger for just a dollar. I snagged ten of them to eat as snacks for the next two weeks.

Smoothies are a favorite in my house. We blend a banana with frozen fruit and some kind of milk (cow, almond or coconut) and we have a deliciously creamy drink that is great for everyone. I sometimes add juice if I’m running low on milk. I’ve used frozen pineapple, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, or cherries in the smoothies. For a drink that my husband likes, I add cocoa powder and peanut butter and he is happy. Liam loves smoothies too and runs around the house shouting, “It’s SMOOTHIE TIME!!!! Smoothies…Smoothies, I love smoothies.”

My husband bought me an air-popper for Christmas and I have loved how easy it is to make popcorn in the evenings. Nicholas loves popcorn and enjoys playing in the bowl, throwing popcorn into his mouth and all over the floor. I think the dog is happy about that one.

Results to Date:

I still yell. I can’t blame it my moods on swinging sugar levels. I guess I need to work on taking deep breaths like we ask Liam to do.

I don’t know that I’ve had more energy. I think that if I was running more I would have more energy. I’ve been walking some at lunch time or after work, and I think exercise invigorates me more than not eating sugar. Unfortunately, since giving up sugar, I have indulged in a coffee almost once a day. I don’t need to have the coffee, but I love the way it tastes. I think I’m going to give it up soon too. I just need to get something that I can use to make loose leaf teas at work so that I can have something warm to drink in the mornings.

Clarity when thinking? Hmmm, I have no way to evaluate that right now. Maybe I will comment on that one in a few weeks.

Weight loss has been the biggest result so far. I’m not having my morning muffin anymore which probably was about 500 calories. I’ve been eating hard boiled eggs, maybe some bread, frittata, plain yogurt with fruit, etc. for breakfast since the no-sugar experiment started. At lunch, I try to bring leftovers from the night before and dinner is normally some protein and vegetables with maybe rice or pasta. The vegetables are normally sautéed in coconut oil or olive oil for some extra fat. I’m still eating a lot, but I’m not eating the junk food. When I started the no-sugar experiment almost three weeks ago, I was hovering around 157 lbs. This morning, I stepped on the scale and was just under 150 lbs. Seven pounds in almost three weeks is pretty good. I’m nearing my pre-Nicholas weight and we are getting close to triathlon season. I’m still nursing too and try and drink at least two Klean Kanteen’s of water a day at work which is around 57 oz. of water. My milk output varies from day to day, depending on Nicholas. Sometimes at work, I pump around 15-20 oz, down from 24 oz a day, and other days it is a mere 7 oz. I try not to worry about the output too much. He is almost a year and I have a stockpile of milk. I plan to pump until he is around 18 months, mainly to try to stave off my monthly cycles. We’ll see what Nicholas’ needs are though.

Conclusions:

I haven’t been perfect with the no-sugar thing so far, but I know that I’m doing some good for my health. I do know that I need to find some alternative snack ideas for myself. I love smoothies, but I don’t want to get burnt out on them. I still have the occasional sugar craving. This weekend we were traveling and I had some cravings. I think it was due to the Sonic burger and tots that I ate and the Domino’s pizza. I am going to have to plan for some future road trips and have plenty of nutritious snacks on hand.

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