Have you ever thought about giving up sugar? Here’s what happened when I decided to quit sugar for 30 days…
Happy New Year!
As we prepare to head into 2018, I wanted to share a little bit about some dietary changes I’ve recently made. I mentioned a little bit about this in my endometriosis update a couple of weeks ago, but I wanted to go into a little more detail.
After years of feeling like I was perpetually pregnant (most likely due to my endometriosis and related IBS-C), I finally found what worked for me to eliminate my bloated belly along with some of the endometriosis-related pain and inflammation.
I found information about sugar and how it wreaks havoc on our bodies, including our gut, our skin and our hormones. “Hmm,” I thought. “Maybe, I should look into one of these sugar detox programs.”
I started out by eliminating ALL added sugars (including artificial sweeteners) COMPLETELY for 30 days. During this time, I only ate sugars that occurred naturally in foods. Some foods that contain natural sugars are fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, whole grains and dairy products.
I was amazed when I discovered how many products contained sugar! And not only that, but also how many different names there are for sugar.
For example, ever hear of dextrose?
Well, it’s an alternative name for sugar, and I was surprised to find it listed as an ingredient in TABLE SALT! Yikes!
Click here for a list I found of various names for sugar. Of course, some of them are natural, such as honey. But for 30 days, I gave up even these.
But Wait…There’s More…
As part of my makeshift “detox” program, I also gave up refined grains and refined flours, such as wheat and white rice for the first 30 days. I’m not a nutritionist, but I had read that refined grains quickly digest into sugars in the body, causing blood sugar level spikes and increased hunger levels.
Um, I can attest to that! It always seemed that I couldn’t just have a little bit of pasta or one slice of pizza. For me, eating these foods led to overeating of, well, everything.
And these foods also caused the bloating and inflammation to spike. So, the only wheat I allowed myself to eat during the detox period was Ezekiel bread, because it contains sprouted grains rather than refined flour, and I had read that it had a lesser effect on blood sugar because of its whole grains.
Why didn’t I just get some whole-wheat bread? Well, I noticed that the whole wheat breads had some form of sugar added to them. And although some were natural, like honey, I couldn’t consume them as part of the detox.
I lost close to 10 pounds and my bloated belly in the first 30 days, and have lost some more weight since! I also noticed that my hormonal acne as well as my endometriosis and gastrointestinal symptoms improved after giving up sugar and products made with wheat flour.
After the 30-day detox, I slowly reintroduced foods with added sugar, but continued to avoid refined sugar. I stuck to unrefined sugars such as honey, maple syrup and coconut sugar.
Click here to find out more about unrefined sweeteners.
But I’m not saying you can shove 10 refined sugar-free cookies in your face and you will feel great. Of course, sweets of any kind should be eaten in moderation, so I still limit my intake of these.
I have been eating this way ever since except for a cheat here and there. We did go to Hershey Park recently where I treated myself to a peanut butter cup martini, and of course, I had to have a slice of ice cream cake on my birthday. But, in doing so, I can’t say that I felt good.
Sugar is not my friend; it is the enemy! OK, maybe that’s a little harsh, but I know what it does to my body and I don’t like it!
Also, it really doesn’t taste as good as it used to after giving it up for an extended period of time. That’s because our palates are being retrained. I remember gagging on a peach about a week into the sugar detox because it was too sweet!
Today, in addition to eating mostly unrefined sugars and continuing to limit added sugars overall, I am also still avoiding products made with “modern” wheat flour.
One of the reasons I am not eating modern wheat is because I noticed that I just don’t feel that great when I do. As I mentioned before, I noticed an improvement in my health after giving it up.
I have also been reading a great deal about how different modern wheat is from “older” wheat. Click here to read more about modern versus older wheat.
I have been looking into trying Einkhorn wheat (an ancient form of wheat), but in the meantime, I’ve been having fun experimenting with a variety of different flours in the kitchen.
Some of my favorite flours to cook and bake with include:
- Whole Grain Oat Flour
- Chickpea (aka Garbanzo Bean) Flour
- Almond Flour
- Coconut Flour
And, as a former pasta junkie, I’ve grown quite an affinity for legume-based pastas, such as those made from lentils and chickpeas.
I can’t wait to share more of my favorite products with you in our upcoming recipes!
Wishing you the best for 2018 and beyond! 🙂
Please note that I am not a nutritionist. All data and information provided in this post and on this site is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. You should seek prompt medical care for any specific health issues and consult your physician before starting a new diet and fitness regimen. All recipes and information on this blog are of personal opinion only and not meant to diagnose or treat illness. Please always consult your doctor about your diet and ingredients.
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