Well, I can’t believe I’ve gone seven weeks with little to no sugar. If you’d asked me at the beginning of January whether I’d expect to make it this far, I’d probably have said no. Why haven’t I caved?
I don’t have a completely scientific explanation, but like I said in my last post, I’ve been craving sugar less and less. That might mean sugar addiction actually exists and it was definitely controlling me before I started trying to survive without it. I haven’t forgotten what sweets taste like, but they’re not on my mind much anymore. After realizing that sweeteners like Splenda and Stevia aren’t healthful, I cut those out too. Essentially, I’ve been sticking with fruits and veggies, beans, a little peanut butter for protein, and millet, brown rice or gluten-free bread for grains. (I try not to eat gluten, but that’s a personal choice.) Now, when a nutritional label indicates more than a few grams of sugar, a danger signal goes off in my head. Abstaining from it has become a habit.
I’ve reaped a few unexpected benefits. My complexion is healthier and my face looks thinner. That’s not to say people who eat lots of sugar don’t look healthy, but I’ve just noticed these changes in myself. I’ve also been less emotional. I haven’t found myself breaking down in stressful situations as easily since going low-sugar, and it makes sense. When your blood sugar goes up and down, mood swings can occur. With our fast-paced, stressful college lives, we could all use something that helps us stay composed and get through the crazy days without breaking down or lashing out at others.
Now for my reflection of the week. We all know that stressed is desserts spelled backward. But when you’re frazzled about a big paper or problem set, you can avoid turning to foods packed with sugar. Sure, digging into those Oreos might initially ease some of the anxiety and provide energy in the short term, but you’ll soon crash and regret splurging. What’s more, it’ll just make you hooked, and you’ll find yourself craving sugar whenever you’re in crisis mode. If you’re committed to saying no to your sweet tooth, here’s what you should do first: get those sweets out of sight. Put them on a hard-to-reach shelf or somewhere that’s out of view. That could make it much easier to avoid reaching for them.
Still feel like you need to eat something to snack on? Choose one (or more) of these simple, healthful alternatives:
It’s got natural sugar, so it’s totally good for you.
I like almonds best. They’re a quick, satisfying snack for any time of day.
3. Garbanzo Beans/Chickpeas
I didn’t eat chickpeas much before I started trying to survive without sugar, but they’re filling and pretty flavorful. Usually, half a can of chickpeas is plenty. Drain the beans and mash with a fork. You can also add a little olive oil or pepper.
Surviving without sugar is totally worth it. Start by taking little steps, like staying away from sweets under stress. Every time you say no, you’re winning the battle against addiction.