This is a bit of a follow up on my previous article about functional eating (click here). But you can easily read this article without the previous one and perfectly understand what I’m talking about.
In one of my first articles I spoke about sugar and how I believe people are addicted to sugar, most of the time without knowing or realizing. I truly believe that I also was addicted to sugar. For a very, very long time, without realizing it. In my time when I was living in Amsterdam and working full time I kinda had my life quite organized. Going to the gym 4 times a week and being active in general and doing all sorts of stuff on the weekend. I got more and more into healthy cooking, fresh ingredients and even healthy baking. I felt for me that was the right time to consciously quit eating sugar, to see what was going to happen. I have to be very specific, I was going to quit the raw and refined sugars or however you want to call that. I was definitely going to eat fruit and veggies. I was also still eating things like yoghurt (but only the ones with natural occurring sugar in it!). I was just avoiding all the added sugars as much as I could.
Day 1 started full of motivation
A smoothie for breakfast, a homemade sugar free muffin to have as a snack, a salad for lunch, an apple as a snack and I made a whole grain pasta with veggies and tinned tomatoes (without added sugar, just check the label) with fresh herbs as a sauce.
Day 2 was rough
I took a smoothie with added protein to make sure I was full and an apple was doing fine as a snack. Again a salad for lunch was fine but after lunch my body started wanting to have sugar. I wasn’t even hungry, but I could really go for some chocolate, or biscuits with my tea or whatever, even my snack which was a rice cracker with 100% peanut butter couldn’t fix it. I also felt somehow down and grumpy and I felt a headache coming up. I barely have any headaches so I instantly knew this was sugar related. I made myself a decent curry for dinner with whole grain rice and a sh*tload of veggies to make myself feel full. I won’t restrict myself on veggies, since it’s all pure and raw but I still felt that craving of just a biscuit, or crisps, or whatsoever, just something sugary. I ended up going to bed early having in mind that not taking any sugars is not going to kill me, like I explained in my previous post.
Day 3: I want sugar!!
The feeling of wanting sugar was more or less in my mind all day and it really hit me. I was very surprised by how much I wanted sugar. I thought my eating pattern was quite healthy so I would do alright to go without sugar, but apparently even my body expects to have that sugar satisfaction, which is just stupid! Why not having a veggie craving or a fruit craving. And that stupid headache, why ’s that still there. It’s like a hangover from a lack of sugar.
Anyway, in the morning I had oats with oat milk (no added sugar) and nuts and peanut butter heated up in the microwave. Which truly is THE BEST comforting breakfast by the way. Late morning I had some tomatoes, cucumber and paprika slices as a snack. My lunch was a salad with cottage cheese and some salt & pepper and an olive oil dressing and a banana was my late night snack. Dinner was some reheated homemade pumpkin soup from the week before. It filled me up quite well and a whole pot of tea made me feel full for the evening. Only in the evening I started to realize that the craving was not that strong anymore. It was quite nice feeling full actually. Just a handful of nuts did it for me enough to go to bed and waking up feeling quite alright.
Day 4: Am I going to make it?
I woke up feeling pretty good. A spinach smoothie and another homemade sugar free muffin in the morning, A salad for lunch and an apple and a banana as a late afternoon snack did do pretty well. I decided to have a stuffed paprika for diner with some cheese. Surprisingly this 4th day was going so well! The 2nd and 3rd day feelings are more or less gone and the grumpiness is gone too. I’m full and feel satisfied. No need for a snack in the evening and I’m good to go to bed after a nice cup of tea.
From day 5 onwards
From day 5 onwards, I did not have any cravings at all anymore. It might not have been completely 100% officially sugar free, but for me it truly felt like that. Making conscious decisions about all sorts or fresh, homemade food without additives, preservatives and sugars.
After 4 days of being let’s say roughly 95% sugar free, I had quite a few positive outcomes and changes that I would like to share:
- The craving of cookies, candy, chocolate crisps is all gone, something that makes me feel much better.
- My mood is much better.
- My gut and intestines are quieter than ever before. I’m not so bloated anymore.
- I haven’t had any sugar dips, no dizziness or shaky feelings. I realized after those 4 days that I had that quite regular, always at the most unexpected times and at those times I could not do anything else but eat something sugary to let it disappear. That seems to be gone too.
I really like this feeling and I continued like this for a few weeks, I minimized sugar as much as possible, by saying that I mean, I tried to stick to products with natural occurring sugars. Yes I did have a beer, since that had no added sugar, but only natural occurring sugars due to the yeast fermenting process. I personally felt 100% alright doing that, altho some people truly don’t because of the naturally occurring sugars, which is of course, perfectly fine.
Results after 4 weeks
Honestly I have to say that after those 4 weeks, I stopped counting the days of ‘not eating sugar’ because the results were so good as in: I felt so good, that I never really wanted anything else anymore. So I just continued, making smoothies, porridge, salads for lunch and trying to cook with as many fresh ingredients as possible for quite a few weeks. I think in total for about 5-6 weeks I was eating completely clean. I probably could not control it for the full 100% percent when I went out for dinner but choosing the options like a decent salad or knowing that you are at a good Indian restaurant, choosing a curry felt good enough for me and I counted that in a sugar free dish. After those weeks at some point I think I was also curious about what would happen if I ate sugar again, but surprisingly I felt full after a very small amount and I didn’t have cravings for more sugars the day after. It really felt like my addiction was completely gone. If I look back at it, I’m very happy I did it. I know now that a sugar addiction for me takes 4 full days to get rid of it. Based on that personal experience it feels like it takes four days before it is completely out of my system. I have to say, for a very long time, I was able to control it completely. No cravings, and truly enjoying a dessert every now and then, a nice piece of chocolate or a nice ginger biscuit to dip in my tea. Because for me it is important that I know it is an addiction, I know it takes four days for me to get it out of my system, but I’ll definitely not say: I’ll never eat sugar again. Because I aim for finding a nice lifestyle where I can enjoy everything, but in a moderate and healthy way. So have I done the 4 days of sugar – detox twice more and I felt really good after it. Even going through the process of knowing what you’re doing, and you’re going to feel down, and you know you’re going to have a headache, but it’s so worth it. Because yes, I’ve had weeks that it was all not going so well, and that I was eating too much sugar because f*ck everyone and everything. I’m not untouchable, I’m human. I don’t see it as a fight against the sugar, I see it as a way to keep my life in balance. Because that’s what lifestyle is all about.
Feel free to post any questions. Happy to help wherever I can!