Overcoming sugar addiction
That processed added sugar is the enemy is now about as refutable as climate change. Urgh, which means it’s on us to take steps to limit our intake. But overcoming sugar addiction ain’t easy. Living without added sugar is like watching TV with no sound: a lil’ frustrating, bland as balls…meh.
Also, jumping off the processed sugar train for good seems nigh on impossible these days: those little granules of insulin spiking happiness have us cornered. From pasta sauce to bagels; from low fat yoghurt to granola. It’s everywhere. Processed sugar is as pervasive as a fart in an elevator.
Is it possible to give up processed sugar?
I’m not convinced it’s even possible and it’s just another ‘To Do’ to add to ‘The List’, so should we even bother? After picking the brains of a few colleagues at work, plus a super-fit wellness guru and my best mate, I’ve concluded that it is possible and so worth giving a shot.
Breaking the addiction: detox
Apparently, it can take over a week to break a sugar addiction. Don’t be surprised if you vacillate between severe hunger and exhaustion. You may feel tired, miserable, even angry. Food (and therefore, life) will be boring. At least to start with. But, by day four the clouds should part. Hallelujha! And, by the end of the week, you’ll be swinging from the rafters (in a good way).
Make no mistake, it will be an ordeal, but some of the benefits experienced by processed-sugar-free beings I have encountered include weight loss, better sleep, glowing skin, minimal afternoon hunger pangs, heightened energy, a sense of calm and a feeling of overall happiness.
So, here are a few ways to integrate a less sweet existence into your busy schedule and give processed sugar the bird, once and for all.
1. Planeroo not Deliveroo
Getting organised is key. On Saturday morning go over your commitments for the next week. Write down your breakfast, snack, lunch and dinner for each day. Then jump online and order your groceries. Snaps to you for kicking goals before the weekend has even started.
2. Re-acqaint yourself with your kitchen
Do a big cook on Sunday night to fill your freezer: pre-roast vegetables, cook soup, prepare a big vegetable stew, chilli or Bolognese and bag up healthy snacks for work like nuts, seeds and fresh berries. This way, you won’t find yourself ordering a sugar-laden meal from Uber Eats when you’re working late and you won’t get caught with your hand in the boss’s lollie drawer. Cooking is also a great way to be present: you’d be amazed how meditative chopping celery can be.
3. Cook from scratch
The only way you can guarantee no added sugar is by cooking with fresh produce. For example, shop-bought sauces are sugar laden, full of preservatives and best avoided. So, switch tomato sauce for passata (it’s 100% tomato puree) or coconut milk as the base for sauces and add flavour with chilli, garlic, ginger and fresh herbs. Warning: food labels are not always accurate and differ from country to country.
4. Smoke that swede
Set yourself a goal of eating ten different vegetables each week. This is a great way to boost your fibre, vitamins and mineral intake and to try out new textures and flavours. Who knows, perhaps swede isn’t as nasty as it was when you were a kid.
5. Equality doesn’t apply to fats
If you are a serial dieter, this one might be tough: unless it’s trans-fat, ignore the fat content on food labels. Not all fat is bad. Try incorporating salmon or mackerel into a meal at least once a week. And snack on coconut and avocado. Eating these foods will keep you full and break that unhealthy relationship between you and the cookie jar.
6. Steady as she goes
I’ve no doubt you’re familiar with the mid-morning slump, for which a croissant is the only remedy: it sends your blood-sugar soaring before crashing again half an hour later? Prevent those highs and lows by switching your morning coffee for green tea.
7. Get scores on the board early
For a few quick wins, switch out:
- milk chocolate for 99% cocoa chocolate
- special K for plain oats
- protein balls for a handful of nuts
- oyster sauce for tamari
- salad dressing for balsamic vinegar
- sugary drinks for fruit
- fat free milk for full cream milk
Easy as (sugar-free) pie, right?
Have you ever tried to give up sugar? Were there tears? Did you live to tell the tale? Share your story in the comments below and click here to ask the coolest business women and female entrepreneurs (if and) how they give up the sweet stuff.
This is not medical advice so check with your doctor before implementing any drastic diet changes.
Cover photo: Matches Fashion; Photo credit: My Domaine
Overcoming sugar addiction