October Challenge: Giving up Sugar

by Jessica Mishra on October 7, 2011

Sugar, aww, honey, honey
You are my candy girl, and you’ve got me wanting you.

Remember this song? It has been in my head lately as sugar has been on my mind. Oh sugar, so delicious, often comforting, definitely addictive! I consider myself a healthy eater. I better be, I am a health coach. When I say sugar, I use the term loosely. I am including natural sweeteners such as honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar, and fruit in this category.

I rarely eat refined sugar anymore. When I have sweets, they usually consist of a baked good that I have made using some nutrient packed whole ingredients and natural sweeteners such as raw honey or maple syrup. I also love fruit, smoothies, and jam on my brown rice toast and I am quite the fan of dark chocolate.

You are probably thinking, “what is the big deal here”? I mean it is not like I am drinking sodas everyday, scarfing down cupcakes, or even eating lots of products that have added sugar (yes they often add sugar to many foods such as tomato sauce or dressings). I am such a big proponent of moderation, that for a long time I didn’t really see the big deal with me eating some natural sweetners (even if it was starting to become a regular habit).

I have been noticing lately that my hypoglycemia has been acting up. I used to have really bad hypoglycemia. This is low blood sugar. Basically when you are hypoglycemic, your energy levels get very low before meals, and you often experience periods of fatigue or low energy in the mid morning and afternoon (not to mention crankiness). My hypoglycemia has improved dramatically since I changed my diet and a lot of my habits, but I still feel like maybe there is a little more I can do to make my blood sugar even more stable.

I am a firm believer that sometimes things come to you when you most need them. Call it the universe or God looking after you, or a synchronicity of sorts, but it seems all things happen for a reason. Anyway, I got an email about an e-book that a fellow health coach was promoting. I generally get so many of these e-mails that some of them get lost in the shuffle. For some reason I was drawn to this one. I bought the e-book and started to read it!

The e-book is titled I Quit Sugar, by Sara Wilson, an Australian media personality, journalist, blogger, and graduate of Institute for Integrative Nutrition (the same school I attended). I highly recommend you check it out. She claims that she lost weight, got well, and became a much nicer person from “quitting sugar”. It also doesn’t hurt that she is glowing and looks amazing. She definitely sells her product well. Some of the high points I took away from the book are as follows:

• She describes fructose as the enemy. So when she describes “quitting sugar”, she really means “quitting fructose”.
• Fructose converts directly to fat.
• All molecules of food that we eat have a corresponding hormone that signals to our brain when we are full. All molecules except fructose. Thus, fructose makes us eat more.

Sara doesn’t advocate necessarily quitting fructose for life, she just recommends that you give your body a real break from it for a couple weeks. Then, see how your body feels and determine if you want to continue on the path or introduce small amounts back in. I think this is a very gentle and moderate approach. She also discusses how your body sort of resets during your period of fructose detoxing, which allows your cravings to go away and your blood sugar to stabilize.

So, what the heck. I am going to give it a whirl. I want more energy, better digestion (too much fructose is irritating to the gut), and hey I wouldn’t complain if I lost a couple lbs. I am also in the process of developing a cleanse program. The best way to know what to put in your cleanse program, is to try it out on yourself!

I am starting with 18 days of taking sugar out of my diet (including fruit) and I may continue on even longer. If anyone wants to join me in this experiment, please let me know and I will set up a support chat room on facebook!

If you see me on the street, give me a hug, because I might be missing a little bit of sweetness.

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