My no sugar adventure
Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful and joy filled holiday season.
I must say I am very proud of myself for getting through, what is traditionally referred to as the silly season, with great pride. I didn’t take it as an excuse to gorge myself and eat excessive amounts of unhealthy food. I didn't use the time honored excuse of “it’s Christmas” or "it’s New Year" to justify behavior that I would not normally engage in. Instead I enjoyed my Christmas dinners (yes 2 - lunch with my family and dinner with my partners) and didn’t suffer the usually food coma, weight gain or over indulgence that is often a large part of the day.
I put it down to 2 things, one is my change in attitude towards food, my health and my body and secondly to a very interesting detox I did leading up to the festive season.
In early November I decided to do the no sugar thing.
I had been wanting to curb my sugar intake for a while but had been quite opposed to the idea of totally depriving myself and believing that learning to live in moderation is a far better concept than totally restricting myself. I had cut back on refined sugar but was still eating a lot of natural sugar and healthy sugar free snacks made from dates.
I had also been doing some research on a niggling issue that I had been trying to overcome and kept hearing /reading the same thing "sugar"!
From an Ayurvedic perspective diet is key and even though I knew this to be true I was still hoping that I could cure myself through herbs. Oh the games we play!
Then one day the the book “I quit sugar” presented itself to me as I was shopping in one of my favourite whole food healthy supermarkets. I picked it up, had a look and put it back down. I wandered around the isles a bit more and kept thinking about it. I went back, picked it up again. I showed it to my partner who said "get it, you've been going on about sugar" took it as “a sign” and bought it. I got home , say down and had a good read.
Quite quickly I realised that I was still consuming way too much sugar and decided to do a sugar detox.
Many people will tell you that detoxes don’t work and are unnecessary, you can find many articles arguing against doing them but through experience I know they are worthwhile. I have done a few cleanses (see my Gallbladder cleanse for one example) and I know how better I feel afterwards.
Ayurveda has been practicing Panchakarma, therapeutic detoxing, for thousands of years with great success. But like anything if you really want to know for yourself you have to do it for yourself. So I did and this is what I learnt.
Firstly, it’s not easy! To go could turkey from anything, as anybody who has tried will tell you, is tough!
Sugar is in everything, EVERYTHING!!!
And if you are going to cut it out completely, as I did then you have to have some dedication! And awareness. I really had no idea how much sugar I was consuming and how prevalent it was in my life. It really was a shock how much sugar a healthy diet contained.
Did I feel any better? This was what I was constantly being asked by shocked and curious co-workers as they tried to make sense as to why I would put myself through such an ordeal. Well, during the 3-4 weeks I was on the detox (I eventually stopped for Christmas and am now getting ready to return to it) I can’t say I felt a whole lot better. I actually felt pretty bad and even had to take a day of work due to the side effects of feeling dizzy and faint.
But even though I was feeling the uncomfortable effects of the sugar leaving my body I knew underneath that I was feeling better.
As I was on what I call "the advanced take no prisoners sugar detox" anything that converts to sugar once in the body was out. This meant grains. I knew that I got bloated from eating certain grains, especially wheat and had expected my stomach to flatten but I was shocked my how much it actually decreased. I had not idea how much bloating I was actually experiencing! And I lost a few kilos too.
My bloating was gone in a couple of days and weight just fell off within the first 2 week!
It was a nice added bonus and a big surprise.
After the initial withdrawal symptoms had decreased I met my friend for dinner and I could see her looking at me with curiosity. This particular friend has great intuition and the ability to see auras and peoples light so I too was curious as to what she was picking up on.
She eventually told my that I was glowing and seemed so much clearer. This confirmed what I had been feeling.
I had already told her that I was on a sugar detox and we had no doubt that this was the reason for my shiny new appearance!
Then the Christmas parties started and after some internal debate I decided to put the detox aside and enjoy the festivities. What was interesting was how less interested I was in the sweet stuff. Don’t get me wrong I still enjoyed it but the desire had lessened. Even more surprising was how I started to feel as the sugar stared to return to my body. That clean feeling started to fade, the flat, bloat free stomach started to rise to its former puffed up glory and I felt heavier and more sluggish.
It was very interesting the feel the shift as the sugar and grains returned to my body, it was quite a noticeable change in not only how I looked but how I felt too.
I would say it was more noticeable as there were no withdrawal symptoms to mask the changes.
Hears to a healthy happy 2015 :)