It’s over and I made it: I lived a whole month (and one of the long 31-day-months too) without – knowingly – consuming any added sugar*. A lot of you have asked me how it was and how my body reacted to a sudden onset of cold turkey, so here is my recap of Sugar-Free July.
How did I do it?
For once, I left out the obvious: chocolate, sweet pastry, cakes cordial and juices etc.
It also involved a lot of label-reading when shopping (which as a vegan I’m used to anyway) which led to a lot of home-cooking. Sugar can be found in the most trivial foods and pretty much everything that has been however lightly processed will have some sugary additive or another on its ingredients list: tomato sauce, mustard, cheese, hummus and similar spreads.
You can read up on what I cooked during our hiking and climbing holiday in Achensee HERE.
Partaking in this challenge in mid-summer, when lots of fresh, local (naturally sweet) fruit along with plenty of sunshine are available was probably a lot easier than doing the same in the dark months of winter.
Well, not much. Like I already wrote in my Halftime! post, I didn’t – noticably – lose any weight, nor did not eating sugar affect my energy levels. I wasn’t more alert and did not sleep any better. I didn’t even have the much dreaded withdrawal headache during the first days.
Just like with going vegan it was almost disappointing that NOT A SINGLE THING that’s promoted on the world wide web was applicable for yours truly.
How did I get my fix?
Dried fruit, especially dates, were my sweet treats of choice. I basically did not leave the house with a little date-filled container in my handbag.
If dates didn’t help, I would sometimes complain. Mr A bore it with more-than-usual graciousness (especially after I promised that my challenge would be over by 1 August).
I also ate a lot of nana ice cream.
What did I miss?
Interestingly, it was coke that I missed most. I will not go through more than an estimated 2 litres of coke in a whole year, so this craving came as a real surprise. I had expected sweet pastry to make the top of my cravings-list, but no. Coke it was and coke I had on my first evening after the challenge together with a burger and chips from Swing Kitchen.
I also missed baking. Which to me seemed pointless if I couldn’t taste the dough and eat the cake.
While I have certainly become more aware of the ubiquity of different kinds of sugar in all kinds of food stuffs, I don’t see a point in completely staying off sugar for the rest of my life. However, I will definitely be even more conscious of what I put into my body from now on. Sweets will stay treats – something I will treat myself to every now and then.
How did your Sugar-Free July go? Did you make it through the month? What effects did you notice? How did you feel? Are you continuing?
*With one exception: the Sonnentor cooking class I attended mid-month