It’s time to sober up. Sugar and refined white breads have held my hand through the hardest times in my life. Through my parent’s divorce, through trial after trial, through high school. It has successfully numbed most of my feelings the way alcohol does for an addict. I used to think I was special. That I never had a ‘real’ addiction. I was so wrong.
I don’t have to be mean to myself about this. It’s not my fault. Unlike cocaine, it’s been completely normalized and present in 78% of foods available at a commercial grocery store. Name a holiday where sugar isn’t present, name a restaurant that doesn’t include it in it’s foods including sauces, dressings, refined grains. Unfortunately, this fact has created a lot of issues for me including PCOS, hypothyroidism, Insulin Resistance and borderline diabetes. Until the last 3 months, I had never had a regular period in my life. For most of my life, I’ve menstruated once every 4 months!
I’ve already made some drastic changes to my diet since 2013! I no longer drink sodas, don’t buy processed, packaged or boxed foods and don’t purchase white breads or tortillas. Considering what I was used to, this is huge for me! I’ve also learned to cook meat, eggs, soups, make stock and completely replaced any corn oils with coconut oil!
I’ve been under the care of a holistic doctor who specializes in muscle testing. She immediately recognized that my thyroid was wildly under-active and has had me on supplements that have awoken my thyroid and have me functioning at 40% higher capacity than before! I’ve come a long way.
It’s time to take the next step in my healing; It’s time to quit sugar.
There are a lot of ways to do this, but I’ll be following the protocol laid out by Sarah Wilson in her book, I Quit Sugar.
Sarah has done an incredible amount of research as well as using this protocol to heal her own health issues including mood disorders, sleeping problems, adrenal issues & an autoimmune disease called Graves (overactive thyroid). She’s also very down to earth about it while outlining the very real threats of continuing to be a slave to something that makes so many of us feel like shit in one way or another. Her plan is this:
- Week one: Start to cut back
- Week two: Replace sugar with fat
- Week three: Quit!
- Week four: Face the demons
- Week five: Get creative, experiment & detox!
- Week six: Add some sweetness back in such as small amounts of honey or berries which are sweet but also high in fiber.
- Week seven: Recover from lapses and tune into your bod.
- Week eight: Refine YOUR process and move forward.
Our family has spent the last 2 weeks cutting back greatly on the sugar and refined stuff. Replacing it with gluten-free grains, fruit and unsweetened coconut milk. Then, last week, we started adding more fat back in including 3 tbs. of coconut oil a day, cheeses, avocados on gluten free toast. On Monday, we begin week 3, we quit! The plan is going into motion with cacao nibs, finishing up the fruit, clearing out the honey and such. We decided to leave some berries in Noelle’s diet to make it a bit easier on her.
Once we get through the first 6 weeks, we can add a little sweetness back in and gauge what our bodies need. This sugar fast will help us recalibrate our systems, get some clarity about what we’re eating and allow us to refine our tastes much better. I feel pretty confident that continuing to be strict about not eating sugar is a good idea for me, personally, for at least a year. I’ve got some gut issues that need healing, an under-active thyroid and an insulin resistance that desperately needs some attention. I’ve got more healing to do than say, my husband, who can probably add the white rice back in without any issues. Noelle has her own digestive things going on and while she’s only 4, I feel like this is a good time to expose her to foods that’ll fuel her body, help her to feel full and allow her to really taste her food.
Like an old lover, I’m sad to say goodbye. We’ve had some good times together, but in the end, it’s toxic and time to cut the chord. I feel ready, motivated, like I want to reach out, like I want to stay in and all of the emotions that come up with saying goodbye to any constant companion in one’s life. I’ve also got some replacements in mind, stat!
I’ve made a list of the most common occasions when I eat sugar habitually and what to replace them with:
- Instead of honey in my coffee, replaced with cinnamon and half & half.
- On the go or at school, instead of stopping in at a drive-thru, I’ve got a bag of nuts and cacao nibs.
- When I’m not up for cooking dinner I’ll be at Chipotle, getting the burrito bowl with steak, brown rice, fajita veggies, cheese, sour cream and lettuce. I might even have some corn tortilla chips.
- When I have friends over, I’ll bring out a bowl or nuts of a cheese plate to snack on.
- When I’m super hungry or forgot to eat, I’ll have some avocado on gluten-free toast with cayenne on top.
- In the Starbucks drive-thru line, I’ll order a cappuccino and a small water for little Noelle.
- When I’m at a bar, I’ll order what I almost always order, Whiskey rocks.
I’m sure other little ideas will pop up along the way and I’m sure the first couple of days are going to be interesting (at best). The truth is, we’re already doing an amazing job at paying attention to our health, changing the way we see food and making better choices. My husband and I are also seeing an incredible marriage therapist, our daughter’s school is 100% gluten and sugar free and she has no clue what soda is. This is a huge step for us, but I think we’re going to be pleasantly surprised by the results. I’m also feeling a huge amount of relief on tackling this for my health. Next on the list is all grains (for me), but one thing at a time.