Two Weeks Without Sugar: One Woman’s Harrowing Ordeal


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Oh, honey.

It has been a little more than two weeks without sugar and people keep asking me how I feel. The answer is … normal. I think.

How do you know what normal is if you’ve never really been off the stuff? Like many Americans born in the 1960s, I was a formula-fed. If that formula had sugar in it, I may have never had a sugar-free day if you don’t count bouts of stomach flu. To grasp the significance of this, consider that for most of human history it was normal go without anything sweet until late spring or summer fruit appeared or you happened to stumbled upon a sticky bee hive. Today, people might go weeks, months, years or even lifetimes without a break from sugar in its various forms. Out of curiosity I googled formula ingredients: Gerber Good Start Gentle formula lists corn maltodextrin as its third ingredient. My liver shuddered.

Speaking of shuddering, I’ll share some observations and challenges in case you’re thinking of taking a break from sugar.

•  I was pretty tired for the first week when I couldn’t spike my blood sugar with a sugar cup of tea late morning or late afternoon. A cup of PG tips with half and half and several spoonfuls of sugar was my Snickers and hangry postponement. Despite being tired, I didn’t sleep well. I think my body was wondering what the hell was going on.

• During that first week I used a ton of Stevia. Look for an upcoming post, “If Stevia Were Unsafe, I’d Be Dead.”  As far as other artificial sweeteners go, I don’t touch them and love this saying: Use artificial sweeteners if you want to be the skinniest lady in the graveyard.  Because sweeteners keep the sweet cravings coming for many people, it’s probably best to go all-savory. I’m not there yet.

• The kale chips sold at Starbucks have sugar in them. So I grabbed something called Moon Cheese. Do. Not. Do. This.

• I am cooking a little more. To avoid sugar, I made my own ranch dressing (delicious) and I had a wild fail at making my own crackers.

• I lost a few pounds. I actually had to buy a scale because I don’t even own one. I’m a zipper-test kinda gal.

• I could not find ham without sugar at the grocery store.

• I grabbed a piece of gluten-free bread at a breakfast buffet. The first bite was like a mouthful of treacle held together by wet sand. I hadn’t had anything sugary for more than two weeks. So, I’m definitely sensitive to sweet now. I tossed the bread and tried the mini quiche. It was vaguely sweet, too. Tossed it. The only other options were pastries. I stuck with coffee and half and half. It is good to know that when I can’t read ingredient lists, the tip of my tongue can be my guide.

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Yes, this is a tongue map.

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