Week three started last Sunday on my quest to purge my system of sugar. This week, the goal is to eat no more than 10-20 grams of sugar per day (1 tsp = approximately 5 grams), or between 3-6% by weight. In some ways this is pretty easy, as I’ve already removed the crazy sweet things from my house. In fact, when I get a craving most of the time I can’t really do anything about it because we don’t have any sweets available. Yes, there are a few things—treats for Jaryth, Mark has some that he keeps in his office—but in general there’s nothing sugary that I might want.
But What About Sugar Replacements?
One of the things I’ve been doing for the last two weeks is avoiding even “sugar free” sweet things. So, like Diet Coke is out as well as Splenda in my tea and other sugar replacements. I’m even avoiding fruit because it’s sweet.
This may seem extreme, but I feel I need to do this so that I can get a handle on the cravings. I will eventually allow myself to eat fruit and perhaps ice cream once or twice a month, but I don’t think I can handle more than that very often as I tend toward addictive tendencies when I eat sugar, and a little does not go a long way.
So what frustrates me is the massive abundance of sugar replacements. When you go to websites like About.com’s Sugar Free Cooking you get lots of great suggestions, but they are all about how to fake the sugary sweets. For instance, when I visit the Sugar-free Cooking site today, the blog features two types of cookies, a diet drink, and candy. Yes, it’s all sugar-free, but I’ll never learn to go without sweet if I keep eating sweet things. It drives me nuts.
Stevia is Not Methodone
Okay, maybe for some people it is, but for me my struggle with sugar and sweets is more like AA. I need to give it up one day at a time, sometimes one minute at a time. And giving it all up, even fruit and sugar replacements is helping me to deal.
For one thing, it’s way easier to know if I’m following my goals if my goal is to eat essentially none. If something tastes sweet, then I don’t want to eat it. That’s pretty simple.
And, Yes, I Said Fruits, Too
That’s the other part of this project that gets responses from people. Eye-rolls, gasps, and “you can’t give up fruit!”
But seriously, why not? Is there some rule against what I can or cannot eat? Plus, how can it hurt me to not eat fruit (and anything else sweet) for eight weeks? I’d be willing to bet the amount of sugar that I’ve put in my body over my lifetime is way worse than giving up a few fruits for 15% of a year.
Of course, sometimes, I want so desperately to just say “forget it!” and go eat something sweet, anythings sweet. So here I am, right now, writing in this journal instead. And hopefully in a few minutes the craving will ease and I’ll still be on track.