Last fall, I tried going sugar-free for 2 months. I had difficulties with my digestion, hormones and sleep. I decided to go on a sugar detox for 2 months to see if it could help me balance out whatever was going on on the inside. So for 2 months, I cut out refined sugars, dates, syrups and even fruits from my diet. This is what I learned from this experience.
1. Withdrawal is a pain. I know some doctors say that sugar cannot be considered a drug, but the withdrawal was something: headaches, intense cravings and major crabbiness. This lasted for about 10 days for me. Seriously, all I could think of was chocolate for 10 straight days.
2. Vanilla powder and almond butter rock. Vanilla bean powder is your ally! Because we are so used to adding vanilla to sweet treats, adding vanilla to unsweetened beverages and yoghurt tricks your brain into thinking you are eating something sweet. This seriously helped me so much! Almond butter is also a great snack because it is slightly sweet. Best snack: rice cracker with some almond butter and a sprinkle of vanilla powder and cinnamon. Yum!
3. Veggies are the best! Removing fruits from my diet was super hard because they were a big part of it. I compensated by adding a lot more vegetables. I realized that I was actually not hitting my vegetable requirements because I was eating so much fruit.
4. Not all veggies are equal. Because I ate more veggies, I stumbled upon combinations that didn’t really work out. I realized that combining high in sugar vegetables like butternut squash and corn had the same effect as eating sugary desserts. Instead, I tried to focus on dark leafy greens and low in sugar vegetables like broccoli and cucumbers.
5. Craving veggies is a thing. After about 3 weeks on this detox, I started craving vegetables. Not chocolate, but broccoli. I know, right?
6. Fermented foods rock! In an effort to help my microbiome get healthier and to help my digestion, I started including a lot more fermented foods in my diet. I tried to have about 1 to 2 tablespoons of kimchi or sauerkraut to my meals. This added a lot of flavours and really helped me avoid the after lunch down I usually got after eating.
7. Legumes and beans are great! And so much easier to digest! No bloating or any other unpleasantness.
8. Sugar is everywhere! It was difficult to avoid sugar as it is included in store-bought sauces, bread, and even in some brands of plain yoghurt. This cure really made me realize that sugar really is everywhere.
9. Falling asleep is so much easier. No more long hours waiting to fall asleep, I actually really felt tired when it was time to sleep. It also became a bit easier to wake up in the morning.
10. It was possible for me not to crave chocolate every single moment of the day. Seriously.
I hope this will help any of you who are considering reducing sugar. Let me know how it goes!