We’re excited to have a guest blogger: our content manager/front desk staff member, Jessie Parker. 

Do you find yourself in a slump mid-afternoon, reaching for a cup of coffee or a sugary snack? Do you reward yourself with sweets or eat when you’re emotional? I know I did. My roommate, Jordan (who also happens to be the wonderful Simply Balanced front desk manager) joined me as we embarked on a little 8 week journey of eliminating sugar from our diets. Have you ever thought about quitting sugar, but weren’t sure if there was a good enough reason to? We’ll give you a few.

How did the whole quitting sugar thing start? 

I’m getting married in June, so naturally I want to look great in my dress, but I’m not a crash-dieter by any means, nor do I need to lose 30 pounds. I was browsing Pinterest around the beginning of the year and stumbled across a book called “I Quit Sugar” by Sarah Wilson, the former editor for  Cosmopolitan. I told Jordan about it, and we decided to do it together. Jordan and I are mostly healthy people already–she eats entirely gluten-free, we both work out, eat healthy, and are pretty happy with our bodies.

Sarah tells us to consider quitting sugar “an experiment”–just try it to see how you feel. While I’m awful at sticking to diets (as I think most of us are), I could definitely test out an experiment.

Why quit? 

Our kitchen was always stocked full of organic healthy food. But, when we looked closer, we noticed that there was a lot more sugar than we thought. I for one, love juice and cereal. I also love drizzled honey in my yogurt, in tea, or on toast. Jordan noticed even a lot of healthy-looking gluten-free foods contain loads of sugar. Not to mention, we both have a weakness for Trader Joe’s Gluten-Free brownies.

Over the last several weeks, “fructose” has become a four-letter-word in our little house. Sarah tells us in her book: when we eat fructose, our brains don’t have a mechanism that tells us to stop, thus the cycle of addiction begins. After we have fructose, we just want more.

Quitting sugar means cutting out all sugar–refined sugar, raw sugar, sweeteners, honey, agave, fruit, at least temporarily. For 5 weeks we cut out all fructose. But why are you cutting out fruit?  you may ask. While, it seems crazy to cut out fruit, the truth is, fruit is mostly fructose, and we were training our bodies not to crave it.

Helpful tips: 

Sarah’s book is full of awesome tips for quitting, but here are a few little tips I found helpful through the process:

  • Having a buddy. Since Jordan and I are roommates, we became a great support system for each other. The fridge was sugar-free, too, so neither of us were tempted.
  • I started putting cinnamon on everything! I found that it helped curb my sugar cravings.
  • Instead of ordering a sugary chai lattés made of chai concentrate and milk, I now order a chai tea bag in half water and half steamed milk, then sprinkle it with cinnamon. It feels like a little treat, and I still get the amazing chai flavor.
  • Instead of a sugary vanilla lattés, I get decaf lattés sprinkled with cinnamon.
  • I started eating Almond Butter, which used to taste bland but now tastes sweet to me (check to make sure the ingredients are just almonds and salt).
  • A new love for almonds and pistachios when I need a little pick-me-up snack.
How did you feel while you were quitting?
Jordan and I both noticed that the first week or two without it really weren’t bad at all. But by week 3 or 4, we were both moody and majorly craving sugar (especially fruit). Detoxing simultaneously helped and hurt–it felt great cleaning our bodies out, but the headaches and moodiness that came along with that didn’t feel entirely great at the time. A lot of quitting is facing those cravings, and moving past them. Your body is getting rid of the bad stuff, so you’re going to feel like crap for some of the time.

 

How do you feel now?

Amazing. My tolerance for caffeine (which already wasn’t very high) significantly decreased to the point where even decaf lattés gives me the jitters. I also lost a solid 5 pounds–just from taking sugar out of my diet. Not to mention, I started getting compliments about how good my skin looked and how good my body looked. Along with quitting sugar, I got better about taking my vitamins, drank more water, did a Whole Foods detox kit (only $12.99), and ate more protein & vegetables. Now, I’m eating no more than 2 pieces of fruit a day–usually berries, oranges, or strawberries, and laying off the desserts.

How do I start? 

Check out Sarah’s website and blog here! She has some great recipes for your new sugar-less lifestyle. Buy Sarah’s book here! One of the best parts is, it’s downloadable, so you can take it with you & read it on your iPhone, your iPad, or your laptop.

Why not give it a shot? Experiment to see how you feel quitting sugar.

 

Making better bodies,

Jessie