Hi guys, it’s the end of August. Which means it’s almost time for me to stuff my face with sugar. And it’s time for my I quit sugar for a month update. So, what’s it been like living without it for a month? I’m going to be completely honest and say I was concerned this post was going to be really boring. It was easier than I thought. But I noticed some really interesting stuff in the last week or so.
Before I get fully into my update, if you’d like to know more about how I was planning on doing this and what I was cutting out of my diet, read this post first.
Firstly, did I cheat?
No. I’ve been making notes for this post all month, but I’m actually putting it together the day this post is going up. 30th August and I’m yet to cheat other than my initial terms. In my intro post i said I couldn’t handle a month of unsweetened almond milk, so I’ve been having regular almond milk for the month. And I said I had a wedding this month and I was going to take that day off and enjoy all that was offered.
I’m really glad I decided to take the wedding as a day off, because that’s where I noticed the most interesting changes.
Did I slip up?
I didn’t cheat, but I accidentally ate something twice. I haven’t had any sweets or sugary drinks, but I forgot to check my labels twice. I made my chickpea nuggets one night and forgot to check my hot sauce label. Turns out that had some sugar in. And I was at my grandparents’ house one afternoon (which is not a vegan friendly environment) and ate some ready salted crisps. Plain ready salted crisps. I read the label half way through and they had sugar in them. Plain. Ready. Salted. Crisps. Contain. Sugar. WHAT?!
The main thing I’ve noticed, there’s sugar in almost everything. As someone on a vegan and mostly gluten free diet, the limitations on cutting out sugar have been huge. And the number of labels I’ve had to read has been ridiculous. If something contains milk, eggs or gluten, it’s highlighted or in bold on the packet. You don’t really have to read the label. For sugar, you do.
I popped to the local Co-op one Sunday afternoon for some snacks. It took me 10 minutes on the aisle with the crisps and nuts to find something other than plain tortilla chips that fit my dietary requirements. Chilli heatwave Doritos? Vegan, contains sugar. Most Pringles? Contain sugar. I ended up with a bag of vegetable tortilla chips. They were good, but they weren’t exactly what I wanted.
As you know, I make most of my meals from fresh. They’re predominantly vegetable and grain based, so meal times weren’t that difficult to make something without sugar.
So, what did I eat?
Snacks were where I got most of my sugar intake. Thankfully, I found some sweet tasting but not sugary snacks to trick my brain. I’ve mentioned Nakd bars a million times here, but they came in really useful this month. I usually like the cocoa orange flavour, but this month the ‘sweeter’ flavours like blueberry muffin and bakewell tart have been my snack of choice. I’ve really noticed that when you’re not eating sugar, the healthy sweet snacks taste a lot sweeter, so they have tasted like eating a slice of cake. Considering they’re made from fruit and nuts, I’ll take it.
My other sweet treat of choice has been the Urban Fruit Strawberry snacks. They’re strawberries baked in apple juice. No added sugars, but taste really sweet from the juice and fruit sugars. They’re chewy and taste like a healthy fruit gum, so they’ve been my replacement if I’ve wanted sweets.
I mentioned in my initial post that I thought I’d end up craving more salt and that was certainly the case. Trying to stay as healthy as possible, I didn’t start eating every salty snack in sight to compensate, but I do think I ate more than I would in an average month.
How do I feel?
This section is why I thought this post was going to be boring. For weeks, I felt nothing. The first 4 or 5 days, thought about sugar a lot. Like when people go on diets then suddenly start craving stuff they wouldn’t usually eat anyway? It was on my mind all the time. Between watching other people eat sugary things and constantly checking labels, I was a woman obsessed with it.
Then, after day 7 or 8, something shifted. I didn’t think about it at all. Not once. I got used to reading labels. It was tedious, but fine. I wasn’t craving anything. Watching people eat dessert or sugary snacks no longer bothered me. I was almost wishing for withdrawal symptoms to make this post more interesting.
My cheat day, the wedding, was August 25th. And I consumed a lot of sugar. More than I was used to. Before the ceremony, there was a room with a sweet table. There were some vegan options. One fun-sized packet of sweets hit me hard. I was on a massive sugar high so much that I felt drunk (I’d had one drink). One flute of prosecco and a mini packet of sweets and I was giddy, had a slight headache and suddenly felt quite sickly.
I consumed a lot more sugar throughout the day, from sweet table to the huge dessert portions and the initial ‘hit’ wore off, but it was crazy how it made me feel to begin with. As I hadn’t felt any different throughout the month, I wasn’t expecting any impact when I ate it again. Clearly, I was wrong.
After the wedding, I started craving sugar massively. The last few days have been so much harder than the first days were. I’ve been through about as many packets of Urban Fruit in the last three days as I’d had in the previous three weeks. I started drinking a lot of fruit juice, which isn’t something I usually drink at all. Desperately trying to eat as much fruit sugar as possible so I didn’t cheat.
To briefly mention the physical side of things, nothing happened. My skin is no better or worse, my weight hasn’t changed. Nothing at all to note here. See, I told you it was looking boring…
So, this whole post wedding sugar thing got me thinking about exploring this further. That day, I consumed more sugar than I normally would, and it hit me hard. As a result, I’ve decided to do another month. I’m going to have a day off at the end of August to eat what I want and hopefully get my cravings out of my system, then I’m going to stay sugar free for September.
My thought process here is that I don’t have any major occasions coming up, so when that period of time ends, I won’t be consuming my own body weight in sugar in the space of a few hours. I’m really interested to see how my body handles it if I go a full month with no sugar then end it with a small amount rather than vast consumption.
It might end up being the same, or I could just slide back into my normal routine like nothing has happened. Who knows? Stay tuned for another update at the end of September…
Are you surprised by any of this? Have you experienced similar results if you’ve ever quit sugar? I’d love to know your thoughts on this.
Obviously, this is my experience. Yours could be totally different.
Until next time,
To see my What I Eat in a Day – Sugar Free post, click here.