Well, I did it. I made it to week 8 of my sugar free detox. (See here and here for weeks 1-3)
Although my last week wasn't purely sugar free - I was on vacation in Florida... and I had to try some Bernie Bott's Every Flavor Beans and ButterBeer at Harry Potter World. But overall, I did my best and I feel I have reached new heights and understanding about what I want to put in my body in the last 8 weeks.
Week 4-5 I continued on no fruit and did a great job. But I missed the variety and got really sick of eating almonds and peanut butter on rice cakes for a snack.
But challenges like this allow me an opportunity to explore new options. I came up with a new snack: fresh cut broccoli and goat cheese on toast. Quite tasty!
Week 6-7 I started to bring fruit back into my diet and enjoyed fresh green smoothies with blueberries and apples with peanut butter! (And I took a "lapse day" and enjoyed a lot of sugary treats at Max Brenner's: Chocolate by the Bald Man in Las Vegas. I have been planning this sugar-day for 3 months and was totally happy about it, because they have the best desserts in the world! Banana Foster's Waffles, Peanut Butter Fudge Sunday, Molten Chocolate Cake. Yeah, I had a little bit of it all.)
What I started to notice though was that into week 7 my cravings started to come back, probably because I was eating fruit again and had that sugar day at Max Brenner's. So it was in my system again.
Let me tell you - Pinterest doesn't help either. Everyone pins those yummy little treats and I start to salivate... So I learned to just ignore those pins and started a board called Sugar/Fructose Free and I am starting my own little collection!
I have found a lot of great resources while I was at it. Let me share them with you:
I have made a handful of treats from Spoonful of Sugar Free and have been quite satisfied. I made the 7-Layer Bars and my mom came over and asked if I had any treats, I told her I had those and she was so excited (they are her favorite treat, but not my healthy version...). She took a bite and said, "Yeah, they're just not the same without sweetened condensed milk poured all over them." I warned her. But for me they were a great snack and treat.
I have realized that it's not always sugar I'm craving, rather the crunch of a cookie, or the gooiness of chocolate cake. The right kind of texture in my food is so adds so much for me. So most of the treats I experimented with satisfied my craving for a soft/chewy/crunchy texture.
Another thought I had while I was eating some oatmeal without sugar was - am I eating oatmeal because I want to enjoy oatmeal or am I eating sugared-oatmeal because I want to enjoy sugar? Same goes for chocolate. I have made some chocolate desserts with unsweetened baker's chocolate and thought am I eating chocolate because I want to taste chocolate or because I want to taste sugar with a little bit of chocolate on the side? (Believe me, one little bite of unsweetened chocolate gives you the chocolate kick you need!) Kind of puts things into perspective. So much of the American Diet is food that's all been sugared and that's what we think the food really tastes like.
So now I'm coming to an end of week 8 and like I mentioned above, this week has been very lax because of vacationing. But I only took 3 bites of the Key Lime Pie last night rather than a whole slice! :) That's something to be proud of, right!
But honestly, I feel so much better physically and emotionally when I just avoid it. Even if it doesn't give me a headache, I feel accomplished when I can say no and choose a better alternative. My body thanks me.... and my baby thanks me!
I am going to do this challenge this month, but I won't be reporting. I am going to use it as a tool and guide to get more ideas and learn more options. I am also learning to listen to my body and not be so rigid and by the book, but let my body tell me what it needs. Not my mouth - my body!
It is so easy to eat sugar, it's everywhere! But with a little bit of determination, planning, and the right tools it is easy to choose a sugar free lifestyle.
I hope this has been helpful for some of you! Remember, sugar free is the way to be!