Found out that Ellen Degeneres is ditching the sugar to be healthier for her grueling schedule balancing her daytime talk show and her weekly Idol gig. I’m psyched for her because I know how life changing it’s been for me.
She talks about some of the withdrawal symptoms but I never went through those that I can remember. In fact I saw an immediate lift in the mood so much so that even my PMS symptoms were even alleviated. This was especially good news for my Testosterone Units.
The question came up how can anyone go sugar free, thinking that anyone who endeavored to do so was going to limit themselves from fruits or vegetables or whole foods that happen to have natural sugars.
This is not the case. The devil is processed sugar, which is empty calories with no nutritional value, that negatively impacts your body chemistry with false highs and bad crashes.
I used to eat sugar for energy because my body chemistry was sluggish – mostly because I ate sugar. It caused weight gain and blood sugar spikes that kept me on a roller coaster that even affected my moods. It was a vicious cycle that caused me to crave those foods that kept me feeling miserable.
When I decided to ditch processed sugar I had three simple rules:
1. I would not eat white processed sugar no matter what. If I needed a sweetener, I would go as unprocessed as possible. Sugar in the raw would be a better choice than overly processed white sugar, and I’d only use it very sparingly. (This was before I found agave nectar – which was a life saver because it doesn’t impact the blood level like regular sugar does)
2. Instead of buying substitute foods like sugar free puddings, ice creams, candies, cookies – I’d try to train my taste buds for natural alternatives like fruits or some other sweet natural food with nutrients instead of chemicals to make it “taste like” the foods I used to eat. By eating those things I was not losing my dependence on them… and therefore leaving the door open to going back to the old way of eating.
3. Since there is sugar in almost all processed food, my criteria is that it couldn’t be in the first three ingredients on the package. Since ingredient lists are done in order of what’s the most prominent in the product, this eliminated many cereals and things of that nature. Graham crackers, which I used to eat when I wanted a sweet bite, out the door. Couldn’t have them. (And this rule also applies with high fructose corn syrup) In “sugar free” stuff you’re going to find the chemical alternatives – which by the way are like hundred times more sweet and therefore not training you to go off sugar at all.
You can make allowances for special occasions and the like, but the trick is to get off the dependence of reaching for something sweet no matter what the reason.
When I tried to change my diet and lifestyle in 2004 and lost a lot of weight (70lbs and 10 dresses), I always made sure I had something sweet so I would not feel deprived.
I wasn’t going to give up the food I loved if I didn’t have to, and “sugar free” stuff made sure I didn’t have to.
But I was still eating processed junk and not training my taste buds to grow up at all.
Five years later (after gaining back 50 pounds and almost six dress sizes) I had to start all over again.
I didn’t teach myself a new way to eat, I just cheated … and gave myself a green light to go back to those things that I used to eat.
Now I’ve trained myself if I want something sweet at the end of the day I can get an orange or some pineapple. That cake I made? It was almost *too* sweet.
That’s the point… to give up the dependence on sugar. It’s as unhealthy and damaging as any addiction.
That’s the point of a sugar cleanse. Go one month without processed sugar or sugar free substitutes to change the way you eat entirely.
It can be done and it’s not that expensive, you won’t see a huge drop in weight but you will see bloat go down as well as your energy levels improve and your moods level off.
Give it a try. Join Ellen and me for the No (Processed) Sugar Revolution.