A month ago I challenged myself to a week off sugar.
It was hard.
I had flu-like symptoms, major tiredness and just general difficulty ending meals satisfactorily without a sugar hit.
I managed to stick it out though, and as a result I experienced clearer skin, better digestion and more stable energy. And most of all, I felt better emotionally throughout the day. Which felt darn good – I could count on myself to have a constant flow of energy and positivity, both of which are crucial for staying afloat during my busy days.
I didn’t realise to what extent sugar was actually making my life harder – not sweeter – until I tried going without.
So I decided to keep it up.
It’s been a whole month now (with a few blips here and there).
Here’s my week-by-week rundown of my sugar experiment, along with the tricks that I’ve developed over the past month for successfully detoxing from sugar, both physically and psychologically. I hope my experiences will help you if you, too, identify as a sugar addict.
See this post about my first week off sugar. In a word: challenging!
My skin is getting better every day. As is my energy.
My one lapse? Friday, when Ann brought some crazily de-li-cious homemade chocolate muffins to an audition. My excuse? I just had to taste them, in the interests of recipe testing… In fact, they weren’t actually that sugary at all – Ann had sweetened them mostly with apple sauce (yum), so they had just a touch of brown sugar. My word. I appreciated their sweet taste and texture so much more after two weeks off baked goods.
But, onwards and upwards!
We had a big family gathering on Sunday to celebrate ten years of my cousin Sophie’s incredible charity, Running For Premature Babies. I just had to make my banana bread for everyone. I had half a slice. It was heavenly… Luckily, my family is massive – and hungry – so seconds weren’t an option, even if I was craving more!
My new favourite thing? 100% cacao in a bar. I break off a little square and squish it inside a date. I only ever need to eat one, because it’s so rich and flavoursome. Try it! It’s majorly yumscrous. Or, try filling the date with a teaspoon of nut butter (Ann’s idea). So, so good!
Another little lapse on Saturday night – I had a small piece of chocolate cake at a party. Interestingly, it tasted way too sweet and made me feel all woozy. Tastebuds are changing, it seems! Also, the next day my digestion was absolutely terrible. Hmm, my body is starting to reject refined sugar – a good sign, surely!
This week was very challenging.
I suffered major cravings (I spoke too soon when I wrote that my cravings had disappeared after a week off sugar), nausea, headaches, lack of appetite, and mood swings. Could this be a second, deeper round of sugar detox?
I’m still at a loss when I can’t have sugar in the afternoon as a pick-me-up and stress absorber. I fall back on something that turns out to be equally delicious – usually dried fruit, or nuts.
Since it’s been so challenging, and since I still feel like I’m in the grip of sugar addiction, I will continue, and see if I can eventually let go of my compulsion with sugar. I’ve been a sugar addict for a very long time, so I don’t think the habit will die easily! But I’m really enjoying feeling much more in control of my life now that I’m off the daily sugar train.
Some of the benefits I’ve noticed:
My month off sugar has taught me a lot about myself and my coping mechanisms. I’m feeling immensely proud to have managed to eat almost no refined sugar for a whole month – something I never thought I’d achieve.
If this post has inspired you to try giving up the white stuff, here are my top three tips for booting sugar out:
Prioritise hydration and you’ll see cravings disappear. Put slices of lime in your water to jazz it up. Also try green tea, white tea or kombucha when cravings strike.
Always make sure you have a little container of dried fruit and toasted nuts in your bag so you can resist those sweet cravings in the afternoon. Know that the food industry wants you to succumb to temptation at every street corner. Snacking on your own weirdo homemade treats rather than a donut feels a lot like flipping Monsanto the bird. Which is pretty empowering.
Chlorella/spirulina for faster detox and for oxygenating the body. Lucuma for a non-naughty sweet taste. Raw cacao beans for that choco fix (but you might want to pair them with some dried fruit; they’re quite bitter). These nutritionally dense foods will give your body what it needs, which should keep cravings at bay.
Have you ever tried to give up sugar? What was your experience with this? We’d be super intrigued to know how you got on, so don’t hesitate to share in the comments below!
Love and cashew butter,