Many of you will know that I have been trying to give up sugar for a year now. I have managed it for periods of time and then slipped back into eating it again…albeit in smaller amounts than before.
I am super pleased to announce that I have finally rid myself of the constant desire to eat it!
For me sugar is an addiction. Once I start eating it I cannot stop. This has been the case for as long as I can remember.
With all of my tummy and hormone-related problems I decided that it was about time I quit the addiction for good.
I wanted freedom from the constant cravings, and I wanted to give my tummy a chance at healing and working properly.
I tried the SCD, GAPS and low FODMAP diets last year…all of which exclude or reduce the amount of refined sugar in your diet. However, they do allow small amounts of sweeteners such as honey and maple syrup (and white sugar in the case of the low FODMAP diet).
Although these sugars are better than refined white sugar, they still contain fructose which is the part of table sugar that is known to cause us the most problems (our bodies cannot use it and it has to be broken down in the liver), and the part which is addictive.
My tummy symptoms didn’t really improve on any of the above diets much to my disappointment given how rigidly I stuck to them and how difficult they were to follow.
And I still had the desire for sweetness.
Then back in January I was contacted by the team behind I Quit Sugar, a programme devised by Australian Sarah Wilson. It is an eight week programme whereby you reduce and then cut out, and re-introduce fructose.
On week one, you reduce your consumption of sugar and fruit. By week two it is no sugar or fruit and this continues for four weeks. By week five the theory is that you have re-calibrated your body’s reaction to sweetness and can start re-introducing a little bit of low fructose fruit, and then over the following weeks allow a little low fructose sweeteners back in your life (rice syrup or stevia).
For me it has been a revelation.
For the first time ever I actually don’t feel like having sweet things.
I believe the difference between this and my other failed attempts at quitting sugar is to do with knowing that I can eat sweet things if I want to (provided I make them and sweeten them with one of the low fructose sweeteners, stevia or rice syrup). They are not ‘banned’, and if you are going out you are not ‘forbidden’ to eat anything containing sugar provided it is a ‘one off’.
This makes all the difference in my strange head and means that I can foresee myself staying sugar-free in the long term.
And the best thing of all? Well, my tummy is way, way happier too so I now wonder whether it (or my gut bacteria) was reacting to all the sugar, even when it was smaller amounts of ‘natural’ sugars like honey and maple syrup.
I can’t recommend the programme enough. For those of you who rely too much on processed foods, it will help you to stop doing this by providing healthy, unprocessed recipes for the full eight weeks. The whole philosophy behind the diet is to JERF…Just Eat Real Food. Something that I have lived by for the last year. I eat what my grandparents would have eaten; real food that has not been messed around with in any way!
I loved the recipes and will continue to use them despite being perfectly able to create my own healthy recipes that rely on fresh ingredients. They are simple to follow and provide you with tonnes of vegetables, healthy fats and protein. In fact if I were in need of losing weight, this would certainly be the diet plan I would recommend.
Along with the meal plans and recipes, each week you are sent an exercise plan and lots of inpiring reading to keep you on track; you gain access to online support via forums, and at the end of the programme are given permission to join an I Quit Sugar Facebook group with all the other people who were following the programme with you.
I am so happy that I have finally quit sugar. And this time I feel like I can really say that because I have no desire to eat it again. I have finally found what Sarah Wilson calls ‘food freedom’.
If you are interested in joining the programme you can find out more about it on the I Quit Sugar website and I believe you can register your interest in starting the programme too. The full programme costs £80 and I honestly think it is worth every penny. Consider how much you spend on your car or mobile phone every year and think about spending a little bit on you…to keep you in tip top condition! After all, you only have one life so you may as well live it healthy and happy.
What I would say is what worked for me, may not work for you. I have discovered on my year-long journey that every body is different and the most important thing to do is to listen to your own and really tune in to how it reacts when you eat certain foods.
If you do buy any of the books, or join the programme via my website, I will get paid a little bit of commission for referring you which helps me to continue my little blog! So thank you in advance.
I was gifted the 8 week programme for the purposes of reviewing it. I honestly loved it and my tummy is much happier having followed it. All opinions are my own and are, as always, honest.