7 Days Without Sugar - The Good, The Bad & The Ugly
After almost a month of publishing pieces on the hidden sugar in stuff like fizzy drinks, ice cream, fast food and so on I started thinking about how hard it would be to forgo the white stuff altogether. I’m a cake-loving, health-freak contradiction. Despite being health conscious most of the time I shudder at the thought of forgoing sweet treats entirely, life’s too short to pass up a slice of gooey chocolate cake every now and then or a thick piece of salty dark chocolate.
I decided to go cold turkey for the week as see how I would fare. I allowed myself a little fruit each day but no added sugar, no cake, no chocolate (even the dark stuff), no dried fruits, no sweeteners etc to see how I fared. Being a part-time health nut I was cocky that it would be a breeze… Oh no it wasn’t.
Day 1 - Sugar Free Cake Ain't All It's Cracked Up To Be
Monday went off okay, I had some yoghurt and sugar free granola with berries for breakfast. This would be standard enough for me so no bother there. Nairns oat biscuits start circulating around the office… While a ‘healthy’ biscuit they still contain the sweet stuff, so I decline. I start thinking about the biscuit for longer than I should. I go to the kitchen to make a cup of tea to distract myself and low and behold there are two opened bags of Milka chocolate on the countertop, the world is conspiring against me. I realise I need to do a Cake Of The Week post (one of my favourite times of the week), and realise that my options are limited. The Fumbally sell “everything free” biscuit things, I get one of those and some other cakes that the team have to munch on to help out with the post. While those biscuits are alright, they're certainly not the stuff I'm used to. There's no point eating a biscuit or cake that doesn't have sugar in it, just eat something else. Despite the temptations they day doesn’t go too badly, it’s only day one and so any cravings haven’t yet kicked in. I decided to make a healthy alternative to biscuits after work incase I get the munchies again tomorrow.
Day 2 - The Damned Oreo Bar and Carrot Flax Crackers
I start the day off with unsweetened porridge, again standard enough breakfast for me so I’m not too bothered. Today I come prepared for any cravings with… Carrot and Flax crackers! I’m sure pretty much anything else would have been more appetising but I had a notion and just went with it. I reckoned that once I had something to nibble on when I get cravings I would be fine. I head to the shop with Nicola for a pint of milk and we come across the oreo dairy milk bars that we’ve been seeing on all over twitter. She gets one and I trudge back with my bloody carrot and flax crackers to look forward to. Great. I decided to treat myself to cheesy bacon scrambled eggs on toast for lunch to compensate for lack of sugar. This is a good strategy I find, if you have a really nice lunch to look forward to it’s not so bad. I’m feeling really sleepy so don’t manage my usual run, and instead go to bed early dreaming of cream cakes.
Day 3 - Dinner Out
I am exhausted and feel like I'm on a total come down. I’m not so much hanging for a brownie (but I wouldn’t say no), but just feeling shit in general. I have a headache and my bloody eyebrows starts twitching, I feel like Quasimodo.
The main challenge today is that we’re going for a team dinner out. I’m not sure where we are going for dinner by I know that I will want dessert, I always want dessert. Thankfully we later decide to go to Musashi for dinner so after a feast of miso, dumplings and sushi I really don’t feel like dessert. Again it seems the key to not cracking is eating delicious savoury food and then you don’t feel so deprived. However, I once again collapse into bed dreaming of chocolate.
Day 4 - Starting To Feel Less Shit
I’m not sure if I really feel that much better or if I’m just telling myself I do, but this morning I feel like I have a bit more natural energy. Sure don’t I have another tupperware of flax crackers to munch through if my colleagues start taunting me with chocolate?! To be honest though I’m not really craving sugar as much as I was earlier in the week. Today goes great but my real worry is that I have a two day wedding starting tomorrow and it will be impossible to turn down all the delicious sweet treats that will no doubt be on display.
Day 5 - Cheating With Wine But No Cake
My plan all week was to not drink wine at the wedding and instead drink vodka sodas with dinner, of course I don’t do this and start knocking back the glasses of Prosecco like it's about to go out of fashion. However I stick to my guns and turn down the mini cupcakes floating around the reception, decline dessert and refuse the chocolate orange wedding cake. The chocolates on the table nearly crack me but despite the fact I’ve drank nearly the equivalent amount of sugar in the form of red wine, I decline the sweet treats. It seems after a few days of turning down sugary treats, it just becomes habit and much easier to do.
Day 6 - Another Feast But No Sugar
I’m hungover and needing carbs. Despite my weakened state I pass by the pastries, breads and jams at the breakfast buffet and get the fry to beat all fries. Gooey eggs and fried potatoes make everything right in the world again and I don’t even think about the sugar I’m not eating. At the party later on I pass by the ice cream and cake on offer and don’t even really think about it anymore. It’s truly now habit to decline and I don’t feel so bad about not eating sugar anymore. To be honest I do make up for it with carbs though because, hey, I haven’t eaten cake or chocolate in almost a week so if I want to eat a big plate of pasta I will. (I'm also getting confused by my own twisted logic).
Day 7 - Severe Hangover and Deciding the Week Ends at C.O.B.
I take it back, I’m on a serious come down and I just want toast and jam. My parents have made homemade blackberry jam and are slathering it on buttery toast. I watch them bitterly as I eat my unsweetened porridge. Then my sister emerges with a bag of M&S chocolate chip cookies. Christ Almightly, I want them so bad. They’ll make everything alright again. I don't eat them but carry them everywhere with me for about an hour or so as I ponder what effect it will have on my 'journalistic integrity' if I crack on the last day, eventually I put them down. Cheese and crackers diffuse the situation. By the late evening I reflect on the week and think over all it has been a success, red wine aside. I also decided that it's the late evening and the week should end at close of business, as it technically started at C.O.B. the previous Sunday. I end the day with a piece of salted caramel chocolate and sink off to sleep thinking it wasn't that bad after all, maybe I'll try it again next week. Then I think better of it.