1. Why did you decide to cut processed sugar?
decided to cut out processed sugar because I was trying to get
healthier and find a way to curb my tendencies to mindlessly binge. At a
point of time in my life, I couldn’t understand why I was always so
hungry even after eating a full meal. Through a lot of research, I found
that processed sugar had more detrimental effects on the body than
dietary fat and read that an excessive intake of processed sugar caused
an imbalance in the blood sugar levels causing people to crave more
(sugary) food. I was also horrified to find out that high levels of
processed sugar is in everything. Nevermind that it’s in obvious choices
like soda, pastries and cookies but it’s even in ‘healthier’ options
like low fat yoghurt, milk and pasta sauce. Since processed sugar is
nothing but a nutrient-less quick energy source and I am not a marathon
runner, I decided that I didn’t need much of it in my life and began to
limit my intake of it.
2. When did this happen?
About a year ago.
3. Did it work to help make you a healthier person? In what way?
definitely did! For one, I had to learn how to read nutritional labels
and that opened the doors to general all round healthy eating. I learnt
that almost all packaged food contained some sort of harmful additive or
was just imbalanced in some way. They were either too high in salt,
sugar or fat and were engineered to keep consumers addicted to them.
Since processed sugar is in virtually everything, I started to add more
vegetables, fruit and lean meats to my diet to make up for all the
things I could no longer eat. I soon began to delight in a diet made up
of natural, nutritious whole foods. My skin started to glow and I
stopped binge eating.
4. At any point did you backslide?
course! It wasn’t till I tried to get off processed sugar that I
realised just what a drug sugar is. In the beginning I would restrict
all products with sugar then cave and inhale 3 chocolate fudge cupcakes
in one go. Like all girls on a diet, I initially beat myself up on the
fact that I was not ‘sticking to it’ properly. Then I realised that if I
really wanted to do this for health I needed to make it a lifestyle
change and embrace freedom from processed sugar rather than miserably
restrict myself from it. Instead of feeling upset I ate something
sugary, I would now just eat more natural whole food like fruits and
vegetables to make up for it. Over time, I gradually lost my tastebuds
for unnaturally sweet and salty food. Now, more than a few mouthfuls of
chocolate fudge cake feels like an assault on the tastebuds so my body
naturally forces me to stop and I feel satisfied and happy with a few
bites rather than miserably craving more.
5. How then did you overcome the temptation since
everywhere we turn there seems to be a cake or cupcake or ice cream shop
really change my tastebuds so I no longer crave sugar products. Drinking
carbonated sugary water now is literally a painful experience I do not
enjoy. I delight in water! I do still have the occasional sweet tooth
and will usually share a sweet treat with a friend or make my own sweet
treat with whole foods. Walking pass confectioneries is not a problem.
It’s often birthday parties and other social functions that are more
difficult to handle. It’s unbelievable how much we center a celebration
around sugar! At first I just kept silent and tried to go with the flow
and eat whatever everyone was eating. Then I realised that this was
helping neither myself nor my loved ones around me so i started to try
and encourage everyone else to eat better as well. At social functions I
bring non sugary tea and desserts with no processed sugar added. A
chocolate mousse made out of banana, avocado and coacoa powder is a
crowd favourite! I’ve discovered that people actually do want to be
healthier and are curious about how to do. Putting myself out there and
letting people see that I am reaping the benefits of such a lifestyle
encourages others to try it too (even though there was a lot of ribbing
and joking in the beginning! Isn’t it strange how there seems to be some
sort of glamourization of unhealthy eating?). Nowadays social functions
are not a problem as the people around me are very obliging and do try
to provide healthier options to cater to me. It makes me very happy to
see other people eating healthily as well!
6. How would you advice someone who wants to do the same?
off, understand that it’s not a short term diet nor is processed sugar
the no. 1 enemy. Food should never be separated into forbidden and non
forbidden categories. Fearing food and categorizing them can lead to a
disordered relationship with food. Instead of miserably restricting
yourself from it, embrace the fact that there is an abundance of
gorgeously beautiful and tasty food that nature provides! Start to add
more fruits, vegetables and meat into your diet instead and experience
the natural sweetness from a juicy ripe mango. Start to cut down first
on sodas, drink teas (sweetened with honey if you must) or water
flavoured with real fruits. Then educate yourself on which products have
high amounts of hidden sugar. Read nutritional labels. Cut down on
packaged food and learn to cook simple meals. Bring your lunch to work. .
Stay processed sugar free 80% of the time and enjoy the remaining 20%
of the time sharing a sugary treat with a friend if the feeling strikes.
Give yourself time, drink a lot of water and gradually, your taste buds
will soon be reset. Indulgence to you will be a juicy watermelon
instead of a tastebud assaulting coke! Good luck!