White sugar is in too many of the foods we eat, and just like falling for the wrong guy, it can be seductive, but deadly! Following on from the success of one of my earlier blogs, Sugar-Free doesn't have to be taste free! I decided to reach out to a real-life Quitter - of sugar!
How Do You Kick The Sugar Habit?
Anyone who knows me knows that I go on quite a bit about the amount of refined sugar we consume as a society! And just like saying goodbye to that guy that's bad for you, giving it up is easier said than done. So, rather than yet another rant from me about the toxic white stuff, I've reached out to one of my Twitter followers, Louisa Houchen, who's kindly volunteered to share her journey of how she did it. Hi Louisa!
Are you totally sugar free/refined sugar free/cutting back on sugar?
In the week days yes, I allow the option of two “bad days” at the weekend, although the more time goes on I sometimes don’t indulge the two days because sugar makes me feel quite unwell now!
If you only consume refined sugars, which ones do you use and what differences have you noticed about how you feel?
If I eat chocolate in the week it would be Green & Black they use raw unrefined cane sugar. I use honey on homemade muesli. I eat halva as a treat which is made from sesame and honey. I used to eat a rubbish chocolate bar around 4 pm every day which provided a 5-10 minute energy burst, and then a huge sugar crash. Eating unrefined sugar helps me to regulate my mood and avoid sugar cravings, ultimately giving me more long term energy.
If you have cut back on sugar what differences have you noticed about how you feel?
I feel much happier because it helps to keep my weight down and maintains my weight. Overall by cutting out sugar and processed foods I started to make more sensible choices of what I was eating, and this helped to manage my mood, especially when it came to fatigue or PMT related symptoms!
How long have you been sugar free/cutting back on it now?
About 18 months
What prompted you to give up sugar?
When I fell pregnant nearly 3 years ago I became very ill and had gestational diabetes amongst other problems! Then after giving birth, I was very overweight and really my body was not functioning well! I had to lose the weight and improve my health and mood; giving up/severely cutting back on sugar really helped to achieve this.
Has quitting/cutting back on sugar changed the way you think about other food you eat? If so, how?
Yes, absolutely! At first you think it’s a great loss, but then you start to really look and think about all the food you eat. I read recently that of 95% disease is diet/food related! So, it is crucial to eat the right diet; every individual is different but can you afford to take the chance? Maybe I would still be eating sugar every day now if I hadn’t become ill. It’s everywhere too! If you start to look at all the labels of processed foods (that includes pesto, tomato pasta sauce, spreads, dips etc.) you would be surprised at how many “savoury” products contain sugar! And maybe you thought you were being healthy?!
Which part of quitting / cutting back on sugar did you find the hardest?
Being at an event or party where sugar is all around, and having cupboards full of snacks at home!
How did you deal with this?
I would take my own snacks, and explain that I am trying to cut out sugar. Or sometimes I would accept that at parties I'm allowed to indulge, if I want. I also removed access to all sugary treats at home!!
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to follow your lead and cut back on or give up sugar? What are your top 3 tips?
a) stock up on healthy snacks e.g. Naked bars. Make your own flapjacks using honey instead of golden syrup etc.
b) Do not buy any packets of cakes, biscuits, or sweets. If they are at home you will seize them!
c) Go back to making all your food from scratch, and if that's not possible for you right now, check labels of the pre-made food you buy to select healthier options.
Have you inspired close friends or family to quit/cut back on sugar or any other unwanted habits they want to be rid of?
I haven’t been able to do this yet; most people think giving up sugar is unachievable or I’m being slightly over the top. However, my partner has been forced into reducing his sugar intake since I am in charge of shopping! Our 2 year old son Tommy does not consume refined sugar at home, it may be a coincidence but his moods are now very good. I allow him treats at other people’s houses but the result is awful…running around like a lunatic then 30 minutes later crying his eyes out and this just shows you how bad refined sugar is!
Thank you for sharing your journey Louisa - I and I'm sure my readers wish you many years of sugar-free living! How can we find out more about you?
I draw using a mouse!...Not a real mouse. Digital pet portraits are created and then the illustration can be printed onto a wide range of good quality gifts including aprons, cushions, bags, tops and phone covers. You can connect with Louisa here.