So a little while ago I suggested to Nick we should do that 30 day I quit Sugar challenge, because he has a serious addiction to coca cola (I’m talking 1-2 600ml bottles a day). It would also coincide ‘nicely’ with a post-holiday ‘detox’. Nick’s response was that he needed some form of incentive otherwise he’ll not do it as “coke is too good to give up” AKA ’coke is life’. SO the decision was made – 60 days and he earns some mad prize (and so would I because I was doing it too).
Ok the rules – NO sugar – this means nothing fake – no sucrose, NO FRUIT, no dried fruit, no honey, no maple syrup, not even dextrose. Nothing except stevia and rice malt syrup. Challenge accepted! I vaguely read that book by Sarah Wilson but couldn’t be bothered to figure out any recipes that would make this thing more effort than it was worth, so went off general guidelines and just made it 60 days’ worth.
We were also not going to change anything else about our diet – so if there was there junk food we could eat, we could eat it, we could eat as much food as we want and exercise however we felt the need. That meant only a little for me as I tore a ligament in my hand meaning everyday life activities were difficult enough, let alone exercise, or chopping food and creating masterpieces. We were keen to see what we noticed and how we felt, I suppose also because I have Crohn’s disease, so wondered whether eliminating sugar completely would make a difference to the symptoms.
First week went ok, but come Saturday and we had some serious problems. We’d realised throughout the week that every meal we had been eating previous to this challenge had some form of sugar in it, which limited options somewhat, or meant we had to make things from scratch. For example – Coffee at home we sprinkle Cadbury drinking chocolate on top (of COURSE this has sugar, but the point continues). Nick likes to have hash browns (Dextrose), bacon (Sugar for curing), baked beans (SUGAR) and eggs (none in them, but next I’ll find out they bloody feed chickens sugar and it flows into their eggs). So a normal weekend breakfast has sugar x 4 in it!
Coffee no drinking chocolate, homemade baked beans, Haloumi and homemade hash browns it is. This makes the whole process a lot slower, and when you’re hangry it DOES.NOT.HELP. We also found that nothing we ate filled this void we had, like our dessert stomach was always empty – I guess because it was! We were also so, so tired. We’d come home from work and pretty much go to bed because we had no energy. We’d also wake up tired. We also had mad naps both days in the weekend, for 2 hours a day. Won’t complain about day naps – they’re so good!
We did try making the ‘I quit sugar’ brownies from the box, but they were so bad (unless you like dry, coconut flour, non-chocolate tasting chewing brownie). We had a slice each and threw it out.
So the days went on, after the first week we weren’t even missing our vices – for Nick coke and for me – well anyone who knows me I have a serious problem with chocolate. Here’s a shortened list of everyday things we could no longer take for granted:
Roast chicken (Seasoning, and the stuffing)
Any mixed seasoning
In fact - Any sauces
Some rice crackers
Salt and Vinegar chips
All your normal naughty foods
Some foods you think yeah it’s obvious it has sugar in it, yes it is obvious WHEN you think about it, but how many times have you made a healthy salad and put vinaigrette dressing on it??? SUGAR!!! Probably the only reason you thought the salad was tasty FYI…
It really made us more aware to think about what we were eating, as you can eat low calorie, heathy, high protein, whatever really and still be eating white processed sugar in every single meal! I challenge you to think about it with the foods you eat and check what has sugar in it – in the ingredients list.
We stupidly did a hilly ride on the Ekka public holiday – I can confirm we both bonked so hard – no PowerAde or bonk breakers you see. Pretty sure I hallucinated going up the final 10k climb and afterward we both confessed to thinking about snapping off a sugarcane stem from the side of the road and figuring out how to eat the sugar straight from the source. We so very nearly broke that day.
So now it’s been 61 days, which means – I HAVE SUGAR BACK IN MY LIFE. I am also writing this with THE WORST HANGOVER of my life! Ok that is definitely an exaggeration, but it definitely feels like I drank a box, maybe more, of beer last night, like a severe amount of alcohol. We didn’t go crazy, had some fruit, some ice-cream and 1 choc bar between us. Nick had about 2 sips of a bottle of coke and we were done. No Alcohol. Probably would have felt better if we drank instead!
60 days of no sugar made us feel good, less hungry all the time, with more consistent energy levels. In terms of Crohn’s disease for me, it didn’t seem to make a difference as I still had a couple of really bad days and a 2 week flare up which was no different to normal.
What it really did was make us more aware of our choices and that making things from scratch really isn’t that hard once you’ve done it once, it’s quick and simple. It’s easy to get complacent and go to a packet mix, but making your own sauces and spice mixes isn’t hard.
Going back on sugar I can taste the sugar in everything we eat, so we must have been so desensitised to it before hand, it’s kind of scary. Also everything that is cheap is full of sugar, so I honestly don’t think we saved any money, as something as simple a pack of sausages means you need to buy more expensive gourmet and probably paleo branded ones to avoid added sugar.
We really missed fruit and I would never go 60 days without a single piece again that’s for sure. I think we can find better alternatives that are better for us – like raw dates instead of jelly beans when cycling, and less packaged foods.
Now that we have sugar back in our lives I guess you’re all wondering, has Nick given up coca cola for GOOD??? Have I lost interest in the casual bar (ok block) of chocolate? NOPE! But now we will have it as a rare treat instead of daily snack and we don’t crave it anymore.
We also haven’t been eating sugar in every single meal we eat anymore and we feel better for it. Makes you realise how easy it is for a nation to become obese.
Have you quit sugar before? For how long and what did you notice? We’d be keen to hear your experiences.