In case you missed my intro post, last week I ate completely sugar-free for 5 days.
Okay, I made it 4.65 days. On Friday night a friend came over to watch Parenthood, and we ate pizza and ice cream to drown our sorrows and stresses.
In case the title of this blog doesn’t make it clear enough — I love dessert. I consume Christmas cookies until Valentine’s Day. When I bake a pie, I eat it for breakfast for a week, instead of taking it in to share at work like a normal adult. In short — I kind of tend to consume a lot of sugar.
What I ate on this challenge:
Lots of protein — fish, chicken, eggs, lentils, quinoa — veggies, bananas, plain oatmeal with pecans, butter in my coffee instead of creamer (which, surprisingly, I got used to and even enjoyed by Friday).
What I didn’t eat:
Any desserts. Any pre-packaged food with added sugars. Some examples I had to cut out: granola bars, cereals, BBQ sauce, frozen pizza, coffee creamer.
What I learned:
So here’s the most interesting part to me: during the actual 5 days, I didn’t think I felt any different. I didn’t have any bad cravings except wanting dark chocolate after supper. I even resisted donuts at work on Friday.
(No, these treats were not at work on Friday. They are from The Doughnut Hole, my favorite small business in Lincoln. I just wanted to give them a plug.)
So, the challenge was hard, but not as hard as I expected.
But, here’s the kicker: when I had sugar again after the 5 days, I crashed hard.
Just an hour after eating the pizza and ice cream, I started feeling tingly in my limbs, my vision was a little cloudy, I felt a headache coming on.
And I thought, Is this what I’m doing to myself all the time?
Here’s why I think all of us should try 5 days sugar-free: it brings your problem areas to light.
For me, I pretty typically do eat eggs or chicken or fish with a plate of veggies for lunch. I have that meal pretty on point.
But my breakfasts, oh my breakfasts! Breakfast was the meal I had the most trouble with, just because hardly any of my normal breakfast foods qualified for this challenge! (And I really didn’t want to go spend $50 on groceries when I already had food in my house.)
I’m not ready to go all sugar-free all the time, but do I really need flavored yogurt, sugary cereal, and cookie butter in the same meal?
No. No, I do not.
So here is what I’m challenging myself with for the month of February:
- Cut down on sugar in my breakfast, specifically. I haven’t decided yet about coffee creamer. But I want to branch out and get more creative with healthy breakfasts. Maybe make crock-pot oatmeal with apples, or an egg casserole. Something that is equally healthy and satisfying to try to break my habit of sugar in the a.m.
- Only eat desserts after dinner, if I really want them. It would be futile for me to try to cut dessert completely. Also, it would make me a grumpy person. However, when I eat cookies in the afternoon, it’s so hard for me to get back on track with the rest of my day! That’s why it’s better for me to wait and, if I’m still hungry after dinner, hey, I’ll have a square of dark chocolate.
- Cut back on cookie butter. You know how a lot of girls post Instagrams about cookie butter and are all like, “My treat today! #yolo”? Um, that’s me every day. I put cookie butter on nearly everything. Oh, it doesn’t have the nutrition that peanut butter or almond butter does? Yeah, I pretty much have ignored that up until now. So, here’s to some healthier swaps in that department.
A couple disclaimers: I considered starting this challenge this week, immediately following my completely sugar-free challenge. But I’m not for two reasons: 1) February 1 is on Sunday, and it’s a nice, clean start. 2) I don’t get paid until Friday and I’m going to need to do some serious grocery shopping to meet these goals.
Hopefully I’ll find some good breakfast recipes to share! If you have any to send my way, I would LOVE that!
Now it’s your turn: who’s with me? What’s one healthy change you can make for February?