My Sugar-free Journey
My own sugar-free journey started many years before I completely committed to being sugar and processed carbohydrate free.
It came as a warning from my intuitive self (higher self, God, the Universe, Spirit) I was told that sugar 'dampened my flame'. I knew this was true, sugar made me feel lethargic, up and down emotionally and physically, bloated and spiritually less open. Hmmm I thought, very inconvenient and then I carried on as I always had.
The message continually tapped me on the shoulder and spoke to me through my body. I was through the menopause relatively easily but I would get hot flashes if I ate too much sugar. I was also putting on weight around my middle which was very new for me. I have always been curvaceous but with an hour glass figure so this new cushion around my middle felt very alien, uncomfortable and I knew how unhealthy it was. Other little niggles pointed towards inflammation in my body, plantar fasciitis in my feet, acid reflux at night, waking in the night feeling anxious. My body was starting to shout at me to do something.
I realise now I have never had a time when sugar was not a big part of my life, I was the eldest child of two 'war babies' who loved to feed their children sweet food. In fact my sugar diet started as soon as I was born with milk supplements of condensed milk because I was under weight (probably for the only time in my life).
My child hood continued with cakes, jam and cream on white bread, biscuits, pies, puddings and crumbles.
As a teenager I began the dieting yo-yo rollercoaster all based on the idea of calories in V calories out. This meant I would skip meals and use my calories up eating biscuits, crackers and crisps, of course I lost weight initially but it always came back plus some.
When I trained as a Nutritional Therapist the penny began to drop, food was not just about fuel and calories it was about the messages we give our body.
What message was I giving mine!
...and so my food adventure began, an experiment with how my body felt eating in different ways, some of what I learnt included...
- My body found digesting fats difficult
- It loved greens and all sorts of lentils
- Juices could make me feel nauseous if I drank too much
- I preferred smoothies
...and yet I still ate processed carbs and sweet treats, I ignored my body in this respect until it SHOUTED to me!
The final piece of the jigsaw was finally understanding that I was addicted to these foods. This was a tough one for me to get my head around, I had never smoked and alcohol I could take it or it leave it. But after a good honest look at how I ate, I realised I couldn't just 'take or leave' sugar and processed carbs. These were my 'go to' when I was stressed, when I needed comfort, when I wanted to celebrate.
The clincher for me was reading and understanding about brain chemistry and the science of food addiction. IT IS REAL and not just some fanciful idea; sugar has been found to be more addictive than cocaine in experiments with rats.
The time had arrived, there was no more looking the other way!
So I began my journey of at least a thousand miles, I made a decision to love my body, mind and spirit more than I loved sugar.
It was tough for the first month.I felt hungry, tired, grumpy, stressed, I had a background headache a lot of the time and I found it harder to get back to sleep if I woke in the night.
Month two things began to change and I began to feel better; my spare tyre was shrinking, I stopped feeling hungry, my brain fog cleared and my taste buds started zinging again at meal times.
After this, living sugar-free started to become routine, I became re-aquainted with my whole food recipes and focused on packing every meal with healing, wholesome nutrients; good fats, good protein and a ton of vegetables and some whole fruit. This is how I feel now:
- I feel energetic and strong, I have started exercising everyday and even run up some Devon hills.
- I don't have hot flushes anymore
- I sleep for longer and more deeply and wake feeling refreshed and energised
- My hour glass figure has returned and I have dropped at least two dress sizes
- I no longer get reflux and my plantar fasciitis has healed
This is my version of sugar-free; it’s not the only way, everyone is different and needs different goal posts to help them reach their health and life goals. I set my goals based on the all my reading and knowledge around how our body and brain responds to sugar and also around my experiences of trying to be sugar-free in the past.
These are my lines that I try not to cross…
- No sugar or sweetener of any sort. This means no processed sugar, no artificial sweeteners, no honey, no maple syrup, no agave syrup, no rice malt syrup, no date syrup.
- No juiced or blended fruit
- No dried fruit
- No flour of any sort, so this includes not eating bread, crackers, pasta etc
You are probably thinking wow those are pretty strict lines and I guess I would have thought that before I started but actually I have found that they have actually given me food freedom for the first time in my life and that feels pretty lush!