Hi. My name is Sarah, and I am addicted to sugar. I adore the sweet stuff in any form it takes: cookies, candy, lattes swirled with caramel syrup and cupcakes swirled with icing. I have eaten Oreos for breakfast – no, not Oreo O’s. Those are gross. I mean one of those check-out lane cups of mini-Oreos, with milk poured over it, eaten with a spoon like cereal. Yum.
My ideal breakfast, TBH.
My love affair with sugar has gotten to the point where it’s a running joke around the Century office. Just the other week, one of my coworkers who has a wedding coming up brought in some cake samples.
“Anyone want to try these?” he asked. No response. “Any one? No one? Sarah?”
I’m not complaining about being called out here, FYI. I did end up eating half the samples, and I’m gonna go on record as saying: he needs to choose the lemon cake for his wedding. It was divine.
I’ve also become a human garbage disposal of sorts. If anyone can’t finish a sweet snack, or ends up with an extra candy bar, they know whose desk to bring it to to ensure it disappears by the end of the day.
It doesn't help that someone brings food in here every other day.
There has been an open box of donuts sitting behind all morning, as I type this.
What I’m saying is, I may have a sliiiight sugar problem.
Now, I know there’s nothing wrong with the occasional indulgence, but at the same time, I can’t pretend the amount of sugar I eat is good for me. There are multiple health problems that are tied to excess sugar intake. Hopefully, I’m not so far gone that I have to worry about the big scary-sounding ones (increased risk of cancer, heart disease, and dementia), but even the little inconveniences caused by extra sugar, like low energy, anxiety or feeling blue, and skin breakouts, are things I’d rather avoid in my life.
This is what it means to have color variety in your diet, right?
So for August and September, I’ll be taking a break from sugar – or at least, the cookies-and-candy added kind. I’m going to keep a log and see how it goes, and see if I notice any changes in energy, mood or skin health during the time. I’ll check in with you at the end of this month, midway through my sugar purge, and again at the end of September for the final report. I’m sharing this with you now so you can help keep me honest: knowing I’ll have to publicly disclose any cheating will likely be enough to stop me from doing it.
I’ve always found it’s helpful to have guidelines, so here’s what I’ll be holding myself to:
- Natural sugars, such as those found in fruits and vegetables, are okay. However, I’ll stick with lower-sugar fruits like apples, berries and citrus fruits.
- No foods with added sugar. This means no canned pasta sauce, no ketchup or BBQ sauce, no sports drinks, no store-bought baked goods, and no to many other things. I will be cooking a lot, which is okay! I like cooking.
- Don't just throw in fake sugar to get by! I eat relatively few artificial sweeteners anyway; I'll reduce those too. Mostly I want to avoid handling sugar cravings by dumping handfuls of aspartame into my food.
- Only drink alcohol that has no sugar. No Cosmopolitans for this girl. I’ll still permit myself one or two no-sugar drinks on the weekend, though (let me tackle one vice at a time, people).
- No eating out at restaurants. I can’t control what sugar they put into their food, so I’m just not going to risk it.
- Honey and maple syrup (yes, even pure maple syrup, not the pancake kind) count as sugar. I won’t eat these either. Which is going to make oatmeal very boring.
The Exception to Rule 2
Like a lot of people who work out, I take protein powder. I checked, and the kind I use has 1 gram of sugar per serving. Would it be better if I didn’t use it? Probably, since the powder tastes sweet and removing it from my diet would probably help my taste buds re-acclimate to life without a daily KitKat. Well, too bad. I’m keeping the protein powder. I will, however, mix it with water instead of milk (uuuuugh).
That’s all I can think of for now! If I come up with any more, I’ll write down when I come up with/implement them and let you know in the end-of-August update. If you have any extra pointers I should know, or if you’ve ever gone sugar-free before and have any advice, please send it my way! I’m going to need all the help I can get! I’ll make a point to regularly check back for comments on this post.