Well my two week no sugar experiment is over, and it was interesting. The first several days of cutting added sugar and sweeteners (not whole fruit) had me feeling a bit run down, partially because I realized I was not getting enough calories. After the first few days I was able to settle in and my body started to equalize with the new diet. Oats for breakfast, leftovers and fruit for lunches, and cooking some sort of meat, grain and veggies for dinner. The biggest change for me was that my snacks consisted of fruits, veggies and nuts/nut butter rather than crackers, granola bars or other processed items. The only lapse I had was when I accidentally ate some banana chips only to realize they were sweetened.
After the two weeks was up I guess I gently fell off the wagon at first; consuming a doughnut, piece of birthday cake, a bowl of ice cream and some dark chocolate over the next week. The real test came during my conference this past week, eating well on the road is always a tricky endeavor and takes extra effort. We were served muffins, cookies, brownies, sugar cereals….all of which I partook, though I tried to stock my bag with fruits and other healthy snacks to stave off the cravings. I was mostly successful the first three days, but completely feel apart on the 4th day, consuming a bowl of cheerios, two brownies, three small cookies and a bowl of ice cream in one day, oops. And oy did I feel off that night after those sugar bombs.
So the original experiment was a success and at home I’ve been able to shift around my eating habits when I have complete control over meals, my will power is still pretty weak when presented with tougher choices or when temptation is dangled right in front of me. So I’m hopping back on the wagon now that I’ve returned home, trying to eat a better balance of food and to remove the sweets yet again. So I guess the cliché, “old habits are hard to break” is pretty true. In light of this and my complete meltdown at the conference this past week, I’ve decided to restart my no sugar/sweetener binge the first two weeks of March…with one exception, a few squares of dark chocolate now and again 🙂 I know, I know, a slippery slope for sure, but at least I’m going in with the rules established. Not too surprising, but breaking bad habits does take effort and a lot of commitment, not just sometimes, but all the time. So back to the drawing board, and hopefully now that I’m back home I can get back into the good routines that I setup earlier in the month.
EDIT: I’ve had a few requests for a diet log for what I did. Even though I didn’t keep an official log, here are a few examples in more detail of meals/snacks and what I ate throughout the day. I found the key to keeping temptation away is to make the right choices on food you buy and keep around the house. Lunches were the hardest for me being at work with no time to prepare anything.
Breakfast: Rolled Oats with apples/cinnamon, blueberries, bananas/walnuts, or tsp cocoa powder/walnuts. Scrambled eggs with mushrooms, bell peppers, tomatoes, arugala.
Lunches: Dinner leftovers (see below). Turkey (careful here, as much of this is sweetened) and avocado wraps in corn tortillas. Sandwiches are ok, but most commercial bread has sugar. Be careful when purchasing lunch meat or jellies as many are sweetened with added sugar/HFCS.
Snacks: Pretzels and peanut butter or avocado, fruit (apples, bananas, oranges, blueberries, etc), nuts (cashews/almonds), baby carrots, cucumber slices and hummus.
Dinners: SW quinoa; quinoa, corn (can be frozen), bell peppers, anaheim pepper or similar, black beans, grilled chicken if desired. Stir fries; shrimp/chicken, broccoli, bell peppers, onions, snow peas, egg plant, mushrooms season w garlic, ginger, cumin or whatever suits your pallet serve over rice. Endless permutations. Sweet potato curry; sweet potato, broccoli, bell peppers, water chestnuts, mushrooms season lightly with curry. Curry sauce; 1 can coconut milk, 2 tbl of curry powder (adjust to desired spice level), simmer and mix. Serve over rice with sauce on top. Grilled/seared fish with a small basic side salad (not good as leftovers). Pasta with pesto and grilled veggies (bell peppers, mushrooms, onions)
Most of these meals make good leftovers and store well, so you can make larger quantities when time permits.