Letting Go… of Sugar

Holy crap. First of all, I never thought I would be the kind of person to stop eating sugar. I’ve been firmly addicted for years. My favorite food is ice cream. I’m not a fan of fad diets, although one time I did do five days of the ten-day Master Cleanse.

Now I’m questioning everything. And if sugar can go, what might happen to gluten, or, God forbid, dairy? Caffeine?? (Not a chance. Not ever.)

Back to the beginning. Well, to a month ago. I decided I should tighten up my eating habits, and a few whispers I’d heard recently put sugar as a big question mark near the top of my list. “I’ve been eating a lot of cookies lately. What if I… didn’t?” This is how my brain works. It’s weird.

So I haven’t given it up completely, but I’ve cut back significantly, and cut out all the things that contain obvious processed sugar. No ice cream, cookies, cakes, pies, sweet breads, fudges, marshmallows (only once has this come up), soda (also only once), or fruit juice. Things I allow myself still: very dark chocolate (like 85% — not much sugar), plain yogurt (way more sugar than dark chocolate), and fruit (although I’m starting to cut back on this now, too).

This sounds like it would be a huge feat of self-control, especially since I would regularly chow down on sweet pastries to fill the calorie gap I have from exercising a lot and forgetting to eat regularly. But it hasn’t been hard at all. Seriously, after the second day, it’s been a breeze.

I don’t crave sweets at all any more. Most fruits are starting to taste so sweet that they almost hurt my mouth (hence the cutting back here, too). I wouldn’t necessarily say I feel substantially better all the time, but I have eliminated the lows that come a half-hour after a sugary snack. Here’s the best part: all food tastes better. My taste buds are coming back to life, having been numbed down by years of over-stimulating sugar.

This all kind of started on a whim, but now that I’m doing it I’m starting to find out all this crazy stuff about sugar. Basically, it is the Devil. Of food. Seriously. It seems to be one of the main causes of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, even cancer. It’s super addictive. It puts a huge strain on the liver and pancreas. All in all, it sucks big time. Here’s a National Geographic article about all that, along with the sordid history of the demonic treat. I have no idea who this guy is, but he says that the way to actually lose weight is to stop eating sugar. I’ve heard stories of this working wonders.

Apparently, a lot of people have known this a lot longer than I have. Cool. I don’t know why I didn’t jump on the no-sugar bandwagon long ago (side note: it seems “Sugar-free” and “Diet” snacks are evil in their own right. This is all about eating real, healthy food, mostly prepared by ourselves. Don’t trust the industrial food-processing conglomerate with your health). But I’m glad I figured it out now, and sooner rather than later. I can barely believe myself when I say it, but at this point, I don’t even want that piece of cake.

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