Saturday, December 17, 2011

NoSugarVember: Could You Go a Month Without Sugar?

When Natalie's suggestion of NoSugarVember popped up on Twitter, I was already four weeks into a no-sugar experiment. In October I had decided to avoid sugar and sweeteners of every kind, including fruit. I had been reading a lot about sugar over the past six months and becoming more and more convinced about the merits of quitting sugar. October had not gone well, though, since I had been sick for two long weeks, spent a week on holiday, and celebrated my birthday. I felt no regret about eating sugar on my birthday, obviously, but the other slip-ups were demotivating.

Discovering #NoSugarVember on Twitter encouraged me to get back to my sugar-free experiment. (I didn't follow Natalie's guidelines exactly since I already had a routine established, however broken. For example, I did not eat any fruit, but did allow myself milk and vegetables such as sweet potatoes and corn, which have some sugar.) It was a month of great success, for the most part.

At some points during November, my sugar cravings were overwhelming. There were many more days, however, when I felt relieved to not battle with cravings. And I felt as though my snack attacks were lessened now that I was more in tune with when my body was hungry. A wonderful benefit was that ordinary foods started to have a much more enjoyable taste. One day I was eating a salad for lunch and had to put down my fork in awe - the lettuce was so sweet and enjoyable!

I discovered some wonderful ways of enjoying sweetness that didn't involve sugar. For example, chai tea or teas made with liquorice often satisfied my sweet tooth. I started to use coconut oil to make my morning pancakes. I used coconut milk and cream occasionally with my oatmeal. I sprinkled cinnamon or powdered vanilla on anything I wanted to taste sweet. Flavours such as coconut, cinnamon, and vanilla are perceived by our tongues as sweet, although they don't contain any sugar. (Also, I made pumpkin loaf without any sweeteners, just to see how it would taste. Not that bad, unsurprisingly.)

After NoSugarVember finished I reintroduced one or two pieces of low-sugar fruit per day. Other than that, I intend to stay mostly sugar-free. (My birthday is still an obvious exception!) My cravings are lessening considerably and I have found myself to be happier and less distracted now that I've given up sugar. Read more about the other participants' experiences of NoSugarVember on Natalie's blog.

Could you go a month without sugar?

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