Aloha chocolate lovers! Today’s blog post is not quite what the title says – so no, it is nothing about sugar free chocolate (sorry!), but, actually is about me (chocolate girl) going sugar free! So, for those of you who already follow me on facebook, you may have seen last Thursday that I posted a status stating that I was momentarily going sugar free, since then a lot of people have actually asked me what I meant by ‘sugar free’. Does this mean I am not going to eat fruit anymore? Is it just refined sugars I am giving up? Why am I doing this? Should other people be doing this too? Etc. etc. So, further below I will expand on this whole new, little venture of mine.
Going ‘Sugar Free’: Okay, so this was the biggest question, what does being sugar free actually mean? For me personally, the term ‘sugar free’ means that for however long I decide to do this I will be giving up sugar and anything that contains sugar. Any sugar that is obtained from a source, e.g. fructose that you can buy in packs, refined, unrefined sugar, brown sugar, molasses. Biscuits, cereals, foods, protein bars, desserts, literally anything and everything that contains sugar. However, I will still be eating fruit, dried fruit (sugar in it’s natural resources) and natural sugars – all of which I will list below.
Permanent or Momentary? 100% momentary, I do not plan on giving up sugar, or definitely not to this extreme forever, at this particular moment I haven’t decided how long I will be doing this, nor, have I decided what my final realistic goal is concerning sugar. I prefer to make a well informed final decision and currently I am still in the process of researching all the pro’s and cons of this delightfully sweet substance that seems to be in every item on the supermarket shelves nowadays.
Why oh why? So the main reason I decided to give up sugar, was because of my personal problem with sugar. My personal addiction. Since giving birth in December 2014, I became a sugar addict – like no joke, a real sugar addict. Stemming from the tiredness of being a new mother, my body naturally inclined to something sweet, some chocolate, some cake – for all kinds of weird and wonderful reasons that a new mother’s body goes through. Tiredness being the main one, sugar is a fast release energy source, so when my beautiful little baby entered this world, I discovered sleepless nights, consuming a crazy amount of calories to provide nutrition for my baby (breastfeeding), learning so many new things in order to raise my little bundle of joy one day at a time, raised cortisol levels, so on and so forth – that naturally I was left in a super tired state, the state where my body in turn screamed for chocolate. So, as it started there, all of you probably know it is a well known fact that sugar has the same effect as any other known drug on our body, and apparently, according to my body this is very true. The more you eat, the more your body feels it needs the substance, and so as the story goes, over the past year I have became more and more addicted to eating sugary foods to the point that I couldn’t go a day without eating chocolate and it was at that point I decided that I had to do something about it. And so like a drug taker in rehab, the only way to cut an addiction is to completely abstain until the body gets used to being without the substance…and this, is why I have decided to momentarily quit sugar.
Other reasons why I think it is beneficial to my health. Setting aside my crazy addiction to sugar, after doing some research and also the changes I feel in myself over this past week, I do believe that quitting sugar does have other benefical effects to our bodies and minds;
- Sugar makes you gain weight: Sugar forces the pancreas to produce elevated levels of insulin, in turn, other hormones are neglected, those that are responsible for digestion, metabolism, stress etc. When these systems are not in balance, we experience fatigue, mood swings and high levels of cortisol, meaning that our bodies then go into conservation mode, storing fat instead of burning it.
- Sugar is not liver friendly: Juices, syrups, fizzy drinks, all filled with sugar and all require the liver to work double in order to process them. Eating too much sugar can cause the liver to become fatty, which could cause further problems such as insulin resistance or liver disease.
- Not so skin friendly: sugar is highly acidic, acidic foods are known to cause inflammation in the skin, sugar being one of the worst. As a sufferer of atopic dermatitis, I’ve noticed this past week how it has cleared up and is now almost non existent!
Refined Sugar substitutions: I am however still eating sugar in 4 natural forms.
- Honey (contains flavonoids and antioxidants)
- Maple syrup (contains essential minerals, especially manganese and zinc)
- Agave syrup (low glycemic index – no sugar rush!)
You may also see a lot of people substitute artificial sweeteners and/or stevia instead of sugar. I never use artificial sweeteners in my diet, as research shows they are probably more damaging to our health and our bodies than actual sugar itself. As for stevia, there are more and more forms of this on the market, it’s the newest ‘natural sweetener’, however I personally don’t really like the taste, I have bought some in powder form, but I’m still yet to experiment and use it in a recipe.
Should I give up sugar too? It is each individual’s personal choice to give up sugar, I see more and more people nowadays join the natural side and quit refined sugar from their lives. I don’t plan on being refined sugar free forever (I love cheesecake too much- guilty pleasure, oops), however, when I do reintroduce sugar to my diet it will be in drastically smaller amounts compared to previously…everything in moderation. If you do feel that you somehow have any kind of dependency on sugar and want to be able to ‘reset’ then I do think this is the best way. Momentarily abstain until your body and mind no longer feels as though it needs sugar and from there you can reincorporate it back into your diet if that is what you wish.
That’s about all today on sugar, or better said, no sugar. Have any of you previously quit sugar, or are currently sugar free? I’d love to hear your reasons and experiences – let me know!
Sugar free chocolate girl 💋