Oh sugar – I have such a love hate relationship with it! It’s delicious, makes things taste SO good, and helps to release dopamine like none other. However, there are also a whole host of reasons you’ll read about below as to why I don’t actually love it all that much!
The Negative Impacts of Sugar?
- Some say sugar is actually thought to be more toxic to the liver than alcohol and more addictive than cocaine!
- Due to the high toxic load sugar has on the liver, it also interferes with hormone balancing. This is because the liver is the main organ to process hormones! If the liver is over burdened with sugar – it cannot do it’s job effectively at processing hormones (hence intense PMS symptoms, mood swings, and fatigue)
- Sugar is highly addictive! I used to find myself wanting a sugary treat every night after dinner. Once I was in this habit, I highly relied on having it every evening just to feel satiated
- Sugar can interfere with our sleep cycles (this was especially true for me as I was always wanting to eat it in the evenings)
- Sugar cravings are often masking other deficiencies in the body! When we think our body is screaming for sugar, it’s actually crying for other nutrients we are void of! It’s the neural pathways within our brains that have been conditioned to crave sugar – not our bodies true needs!
- Sugar imbalances blood sugars which leads to energy spikes and dips throughout the day – leaving us reaching for the next sugary treat to just get through
- Sugar has also been linked to all sorts of chronic illnesses as it’s highly inflammatory! Some of which include; diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and depression
My Sugar Journey
I chose to give up sugar for 3 main reasons:
- To help balance my hormones (mainly to reduce my menstrual cramps and other PMS symptoms like mood swings, exhaustion, headaches, and intense cravings)
- To break my addiction – I hated the feeling of ALWAYS wanting/ needing chocolate after dinner, and not feeling relaxed without it
- To nourish my body the absolute best I can! I wanted to truly get in touch with what my body needed – instead of using sugar to cover up my symptoms
My Process with Giving it Up:
- First off, I’d been thinking about it for a LONG time! Over the past year I noticed my cravings and addiction to sugar becoming more intense and prevalent. This indicated to me it was time to give it up – I’d had enough of my sleepless nights and painful periods, despite the fact the rest of my diet was so healthy!
- Even though I didn’t eat a ton of sugar (I only ever used raw cane sugar, honey, or maple syrup) it was still a very difficult challenge to give it up
- I decided I was still going to eat fruit (my consumption has gone down a lot from when I first gave it up) and on occasion I would still have dates or raisins – but this was rare! I should be honest in the fact that over the past 6 weeks there’s been approximately 3-4 times were I had something with a touch of maple syrup or honey in it, mostly accidentally or out of pure convenience (but I didn’t stress too much about it!)
- Instead of trying to first minimize my intake – I decided to go cold turkey. I did my best to not have any temptations in the house – I knew I couldn’t have chocolate around or else I’d always find a reason to eat it
- The hardest part was definitely in the evening when I was used to having my chocolate – for the first 8 days I had an apple and almond butter every night (this was the only way for me to curb the craving)
- Slowly around day 9, I had much less cravings for sweet- ness! Things got better and better until day 21 when they sort of levelled out and I realized I had reached my new norm!
- I still love a ‘treat’ at night, but have managed to find some awesome sugar free options I love – see below for details!
- Today, being sugar free for six weeks: I feel so much more empowered about my health, in touch with my body and its cues, and had a period where I literally had NO CRAMPS and minimal PMS symptoms!
Tips for Giving up Sugar
- Go cold turkey – get all sugar out of your house to minimize temptation! This is what worked for me, but it depends where you’re at on your consumption journey as to what you decide will work best for you!
- Have alternative snacks in the house (see some of my favourites below)
- When the sugar cravings hit and you’re hungry – have a scoop of nut butter or raw carrots – both work wonders!
- When the sugar cravings hit and you’re not hungry – go for a walk or distract yourself away from the kitchen!
- Ensure you are eating incredibly nutrient dense meals 3 times a day loaded with tons of veg, plant based proteins, complex carbs and healthy fats
- Get enough beans/ legumes in your diet! This is SO important to help flush out toxins and keep you satiated
- If you love baking, experiment with other fun things to do in the kitchen! I love making sauerkraut, homemade oat milk, nut cheeses, or other sugar free baked goods
- Tell others! Ask for support from those around you in case you experience intense detox symptoms and ask them to avoid offering you anything sweet
- Drink lemon water or herbal tea throughout the day
- In the evenings, try having a steamed almond or oat milk in replacement of dessert
Sugar Free Treats I’ve come to love!
- A few scoops of nut butter – I always have 3-4 kinds in my house to be able to mix it up! Hazelnut is one of my faves as they can grow locally!
- Chickpea Pancakes (great topped with avocado or nut butter)
- My Life Changing Loaf : pictured below (made with sweet potatoes and chickpea flour, also great topped with avocado or nut butter )
- “Liquid Gold Smoothie”: 1/2 a ripe frozen banana, 3-4 florets frozen cauliflower, 3/4 almond milk, 1 heaping scoop of peanut butter
- When in need of some extra energy: apple with almond or peanut butter
- A handful of beans (chickpeas or lima beans are my fave) with a pinch of sea salt
- Nume sugar free granola (dipped in Peanut Butter is my fave way to have it!)
If you have any questions about how you can go SUGAR FREE email me at firstname.lastname@example.org! Also be sure to check out my “Next Level Nourished” program where I go over the “Regeneration Protocol” I’ve created that helps people to break free of their caffeine and sugar addictions while simultaneously balancing their hormones, improving their gut health, and getting their energetic GLOW back!