This is the deal. I’m cutting all refined sugar out of my diet, for at least 30 days, starting July 6.
“That’s crazy!” you (and my mother and my husband) say. “What will you eat? You already don’t eat dairy, don’t eat moocows, don’t eat pork, don’t eat fish…you won’t even be able to eat ketchup!”
Yes, yes, I know. Dear readers (if I may call you that, since I am channeling Cher and therefore Emma), it will be okay. I think. I hope.
“But sugar is sooooo gooood,” you say, waving a vegan Buckeye Bliss Bar from Nature’s Bin in front of me. “You can’t give it up. It’s like crack.”
As my good friend T’ealc would say, “Indeed.” However, that’s the problem. Sugar is like crack, and, like any drug, I’m not too happy with the side effects.
I picked up The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone a few weeks ago. In it, Alicia talks about “nasty” foods. Meat is one. I know allllll about meat. I was a vegetarian for quite some time. I started eating chicken and turkey again several years ago because I wasn’t a healthy vegetarian and I was getting all my protein from cheese.
Speaking of cheese, dairy is another “nasty” food. Oh yeah, do I know that, too. When my son was born, he was a crazy screamer and I had to hold him all the time and beg him to nurse. His pediatrician advised me that on top of gastroesophogeal reflux disease, he was most likely allergic to cow’s milk. So, because I loved nursing and wasn’t about to give it up no matter what anyone told me, I cut all dairy out of my diet (because the proteins leak into breastmilk). It was rough. I longed for cheese—sharp cheddar cheese cut into little slices, pizza, even my sisters’ and my totally gross creation of melted-cheese-in-a-bowl, which is exactly what it sounds like. But since my child’s health was on the line, I suffered through watching my husband eat pizza and found some delicious soy ice cream.
The results were amazing. I used to have horrible menstrual cramps—not anymore. I thought it was because of childbirth, but my OB/GYN told me it was the dairy. My skin cleared up considerably. I started sleeping (when I could sleep) better. My stomach stopped acting freaked out for no reason at all. And I never went back. My son is still allergic to cow’s milk, so it’s easy for us to have the same diet. (Well, easier. My husband, who once said that there would be no point to life if he couldn’t eat cheese, certainly doesn’t think it’s easy.)
But sugar….refined sugar is a “nasty” food. According to Alicia, it makes you crazy. And I definitely have been feeling crazy lately. My sleeping is off, my skin is horrible, I’m absolutely exhausted all the time, my moods are like Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde, and I’m perpetually thisclose to an anxiety attack.
I’m really into nutrition. I love Michael Pollan and I try to avoid processed foods. I cut out all high fructose corn syrup several months ago (that was a rough week to be married to me) and dropped ten pounds. However, now I’m a working mother with no time and the convenience of packaged, processed foods calls to me. But my body hates them. Case in point: a few months ago my son got rotavirus and gave it to me. (Yeah, that was super fun.) Ever since then, if I even look at a bag of potato chips, my stomach FLIPS out. I over-indulged over Memorial Day weekend and it was bad, people. So obviously I have to do something.
I thought seriously about becoming vegan. I’m still thinking about it, in fact. I’m already halfway there—I only eat chicken and turkey, don’t eat dairy, and don’t usually eat eggs because they make me break out in hives. I love the moocows so I ordinarily don’t wear or use leather. I told my husband I was thinking about becoming vegan, and the look on his face….in fact, I knew what his reaction was going to be so I didn’t even look at his face when I told him. His concerns are valid, though. We, as a family, already have a hard enough time finding things to eat. My son has the exact same diet I have (but I am much stricter on the sugar with him than with me—go figure), and my husband is the quintessential picky eater and also can’t handle spicy foods. If I stopped eating all meat, it would be very, very difficult.
So, I’ve decided to tackle the sugar. My co-worker claims that cutting sugar out has done her wonders—and I have to say, she is incredibly calm and level-headed, and never almost falls asleep at her desk. So keep checking back, and I will detail my journey. I’m heading out to Whole Foods soon, reading labels on my regular food, and mentally prepping myself for this challenge. Want to join me?