As we all know sugar creeps into our diet in its usual tactical ways. We are all born with a sweet-tooth (at least is one of my justifications) and resisting sugar 24 hours a day 7 days a week is a big ask. Personally I am shamefully weak when it comes to the genre of deserts. I tend to trend along the idea that life is uncertain, therefore eat desert first. Is it merely a coincidence that stressed spells desserts backwards? What an ironically bitter realisation! It is decided; I shall not succumb to this and reach for a double-decker when stressed. Let's remember however, a sweet moment is not a sin and nor should we invite it's sibling of guilt.
The Sunday Times heard our cry for a sugar ban and decided to draw-up a plan for the nation to follow. Its commercial identity was known as #byebye sugar, and for many was the first step in cutting sugar out from virtually all meals. Their initial suggestion was to strip your kitchen of all temptation; a bold first move that supports the attitude of 'out of sight, out of mind'. Things begin to get more specific, condiments are next to go. Start getting used to your salads being extra crunchy without its sauced-bathed leaves.
To quote The Sunday Times; "experts agree that a healthy lifestyle and a lean, toned body involve 20% consistent exercise and 80% what you eat." There you have it, it is crucial to think before we chomp down on our favourite sugary helpers. If you are controlled in your eating you are more than half way there. Easier said than done? Absolutely.
Some of our staff at Wellbeing decided to give the scheme a go, let's see how they managed...
Miranda- Miranda was committed to saying farewell to her sugar-binge days by cutting out the following; white carbohydrates, biscuits, cakes and fizzy drinks- whilst leaving a small window for wine. "I was prepared for those familiar moments of wanting a sweet treat, so I opted for nuts and raisins instead." Snack-time is perhaps the biggest test of them all and Miranda's substitution solution was a success. Miranda cooked a lot more and as a result became a lot more creative and confident in the kitchen.
Roll in the next sugar suspect, Helen. Helen admitted to strongly noticing the lack of sugar and as a result, was made acutely aware of how often it slipped in. At the start Helen suffered from headaches. As the day progressed and four o'clock struck this became a notoriously difficult point in the day. Lunch has been and gone and dinner is on the horizon, we are accustomed to think that this is apt time to increase our sugar levels. Whilst on the challenge, Helen went away and discovered how difficult it is to stick to an altered diet whilst your friends are consuming whatever their eyes are drawn to. At this point Helen curbed the rules and consumed some alcohol, besides this hiccup, Helen was dedicated throughout.
I found the experience challenging and was receptive to its high's and low's. I found myself feeling less sluggish and found that overall, it balanced my hormones. I also noticed that it changed my taste buds. The couple of times that I did cave in, I noticed that the sugar tasted sweeter and I therefore consumed less. A handy suggestion is to replace your sweetener/sugar in tea with a cinnamon stick. Works like a charm.
The comforting fact in all this (and perhaps a point of persuasion) is that by retraining your taste buds, the obsession does go away. By having something rarely, the taste becomes acute and your brain applies more thought to what you are eating. However, this does not mean our sweet object of desire shall never rear its sugar-coated head again, but resisting it is a lot easier. Shoo the craving away like an incessant fly and reach for your shiny apple.