I wouldn’t call myself as someone with a sweet tooth. Not to say that I don’t like sweet indulgences, but I have never really been someone who would go berserk looking at desserts in a buffet. I did go on looking for “something sweet” after lunch sometimes but that’s about it. I wasn’t eating much sugar anyway. Or so I thought.
Like most people, I erroneously believed that I wasn’t taking too much sugar anyway. This was until I started educating myself about health and wellness earlier this year. It was then that I realized how much sugar most of us are consuming even without knowing it.
We might say we are not eating “that much” sugar because we are happily ignorant of its sources in numerous unsuspecting items we munch through the day! Those “healthy” biscuits and granola bars, that cup of low-fat yoghurt, the bag of chips, salad dressings — are all culprits of secretly bringing sugar into your system.
Almost six months ago, my husband and I decided to quit sugar in any form for about 10 days. Little did we know then that the surprising benefits will drive us to leave it for months (and perhaps forever).
It wasn’t all that easy, I admit. The initial few days were spent dreaming about donuts and sugar-laden smoothies that I wasn’t even fond of to begin with. But you know how it is, right? Things become alluring the moment they are forbidden. Convincing my mind that it was just for a few days, I controlled those urges. I faltered for a day or two, I confess; I had coffee with sugar one day and a bit of chocolate on another. But I realized it is a skill I need to master. Taking one step at a time, I slowly eased myself in into an honest sugar detox.
Once I had that control and the benefits started kicking in, my sugarless life started looking sweet.
Before I talk about how my life has changed after leaving sugar, I’d like to clarify what I exactly mean when I say I have quit sugar. The obvious items I’ve thrown away from my kitchen and life include: donuts, flavoured yogurt, muffins, candies, chips, cookies etc. Other than these I avoid salad dressings, fruit juice, and everything that has high sugar in its list of ingredients. Processed food is now banned at my house; I indulge in junk food only during celebrations now.
My Skin Looks Better
Although I never had a problematic skin, I see a noticeable difference in it. I no longer see the occasional pimple I’d get after eating too much processed food. This has also got something to do with the fact that I drink a lot more water now because I do not mistake thirst for hunger anymore.
I Feel Empowered Saying No To Junk
I feel empowered in knowing that the food lying in front of me no longer holds any power over me. I no longer get tempted to eat a pizza just because I get the aroma while I am shopping at the mall. Don’t get me wrong. I still do indulge in junk food once in a while. But the difference now is that it is “I” and not the pizza that decides when I want to eat it!
My Palate Reset
When you eliminate excess sugar from your diet, your taste buds change. You notice enhanced flavours in the simplest of food you eat. I have developed a taste for mushrooms, fruits, and spinach after taking away refined sugar from my diet. I was never a fan of fruits for snacking because chips and cookies always won the battle before. Now, I cannot do without a big bowl of fruits every day.
I Have Started Enjoying Cooking
This I’d say is the biggest change in my life. Never the one to look forward to making a meal, I now get cookbooks from the library to experiment with different ingredients. Since processed food isn’t what I like now, I love cooking at home. The more I cook, the better I am getting at it.
I Have a Clearer Mind
I did not notice the difference much in the state of my mind until I had sugar-heavy meals for my daughter’s birthday sometime ago. Two days of indulgence – in burgers, fries, and shakes – reiterated my belief in an unsweetened life. I am a lot more energetic mentally and physically when I am off sugar.
I shed nearly 12 kgs after I bid goodbye to added sugar in February this year. Though losing weight was my motivation to quit sugar, I now feel this is just one of the many benefits of it.
I recommend you to leave sugar even if you aren’t aiming to lose weight. Take small steps. Try skipping sugar in your coffee for one day in a week to begin with. Stop yourself from buying chips and cookies; spend money on walnuts and almonds instead. Slowly but surely, you’ll see how sweet the unsweetened life is!