Monday, January 31, 2011
A little over a week ago, I decided to experiment a bit. I cut refined sugar out of my diet. I have not had sugar (or HFCS or artificial sweeteners or anything of that nature) since last Saturday. It has helped my energy levels a little, and it's helped my brain fog a lot! The last few weeks I've felt just....... blah. I have never knows what people mean when they say "brain fog" but I totally know now! But thankfully said brain fog is minimal, thanks to cutting sugar.
And going mostly sugar-free is a HUGE accomplishment for me, especially since there has been chocolate cake in my house every day since I went off sugar. :P
Why MOSTLY sugar-free? Because yesterday, there was a potluck after church. Of course, I didn't know that, as it was only our second time at that church, so I didn't bring something I could eat.
Do you have any idea how difficult it is to eat sugar-free at a church potluck?!
Wow. I piled some stuff on my plate that was probably sugar-free, and avoided those that for sure had sugar in it, or I was pretty sure had sugar. This left very little to choose from! I had some seafood chowder, because I figured I make seafood chowder all the time, and there's no sugar in it. Well, when I tasted it, it was really sweet. That tipped me off, and after a few bites I started getting concerned and inspected all the pieces of food in that chowder, and there I spotted it...... imitation crab meat. Do you know what that is exactly? That is a small amount of fish, usually pollock, with lots of colorants and flavorings and..... you guessed it..... sugar. They must have put lots of imitation crab meat in this chowder (combined with my new found sensitivity to sugar, I'm sure), because that was the sweetest chowder I've ever tasted.
About half way into my meal (I had abandoned my chowder after 5 bites and moved on to other things.... finally landing on the veggies and fruit I had piled on my plate), I started feeling shaky and a little nauseous, and started to get a bit of a headache. I had already detoxed from the lack of sugar, so my body was reacting to the sugar. It wasn't terrible, I just knew that I couldn't just hope for the best again..... and it served as a reminder to introduce sugar back into my diet VERY slowly when I finally do allow myself sugar again.
Anyway, other than the church potluck incident, I've been allowing myself natural sweeteners, like honey, maple syrup, and sucanat. I've been trying to find a good coffee creamer substitute for my "coffee" that doesn't contain sugar or HFCS, and I'm still playing around with recipes for that..... hopefully I will perfect it soon and post it. When I'm in a dessert mood, I've been having an apple, a bowl of frozen berries, or chocolate soothers (YUM..... this is perfect because hot chocolate is my weakness. I usually add a little more milk than the recipe calls for because I like it to be a little thinner, but I've been considering making some just to put in the fridge and see if it sets up like pudding!). When I need snacks, I make popcorn or have some cheese. I put honey in my tea at night.
The only problem is that 99% of anything made with flour has sugar in it! So that eliminates a lot of grains from my diet..... some pastas, breads, cinnamon rolls (ha!), pancakes, etc. unless I can adapt them. We had pancakes for breakfast last Saturday, and I used sucanat instead of sugar. But not all recipes are as adaptable as pancakes! So this has cut my carb consumption a lot, which is probably a good thing! It's gearing me up to go gluten-free, which I may do very soon!
Overall, I'm feeling good. I'm still tired (then again, I haven't been getting enough sleep, so that's probably an easy and obvious fix), but my brain fog has cleared a lot. I don't find myself staring off into space as much, and I'm thinking a lot more clearly. I'm also experiencing a few detox symptoms (I was SO broken out all week, and no, it's not that time of the month!), but those will pass.
It's kind of hard, because EVERYTHING has sugar in it. From pancakes to ketchup to pickles to cereal (even cheerios)..... everything!! I pretty much have to make EVERYTHING myself and make adaptions. Which is fine, I make most things myself anyway, it just means I can't be lazy, and on days where I don't feel like cooking..... that's too bad!
I'll check back in again soon and let you all know how I'm doing with my sugar-free adventure!
Have you ever gone sugar-free? Could you do it? Do you have any ideas for me, or recommendations for "dessert" ideas?
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