While some people do #DryJanuary, I figured since I don’t drink anyway, I might as well attack my biggest vice – sugar. So instead of #DryJanuary, I decided to do #NoSugarJanuary. And let me tell you it wasn’t exactly easy. But first let me start off by saying that my #NoSugarJanuary included all types of sugar and artificial sweeteners, yet I was ok with eating fruit from time to time. Believe me, those artificial sweeteners will get you as they are peppered into every food out there. Now on to how it actually went, here are a few things I learned from my month-long sugar detox (side note: For practical reasons, I will be using the term “sugar” for any kind of processed sugar whether it’s regular sugar, high fructose corn syrup, aspartame, or whatever other type or artificial sweetener):
- Sugar is in everything. No joke, did you know that most potato chips have sugar in them? Try reading the label and you’ll see either sugar or some artificial form listed there.
- I got hungry a lot faster when you don’t eat any sugar. Since my body was not receiving that boost of calories I’d normally get from sugar, it was asking me to eat more of the healthy stuff.
- You may or may not lose any weight. I didn’t, which was alright because I didn’t do this in order to lose weight.
- I had to up your cooking game as new and delicious flavors will excite my palate and make me forget all about sugar…at least for a while.
- I had dreams about eating Nutella. Yep! That happened. And in my dream as I was eating Nutella, I panicked and looked at the calendar to see if it’s still January.
- My office is a tough place to live sugar free. All the snacks available contain sugar and it seems like every other day it’s someone’s birthday. Not to mention that there are days when various co-workers bring cookies or donuts at 8.30am. Let me tell you, it was not easy walking in the kitchen to get tea or water.
- It hits you out of nowhere. People say that the first three days are tough and then you get used to it. Well, for me the first three days were quite alright, but then on day 17 or something like that, I really really wanted chocolate. On the same note though, there are a lot of articles out there talking about the crazy headaches you get in the first few days and I didn’t get those at all.
- I questioned why I didn’t pick a shorter month such as February for such a challenge.
- Some days go fast and you don’t even remember that you still have chocolate in the fridge other days, all you can think about is those M&Ms in the kitchen at work.
- People say that your palate changes and you will be able to taste the real sweetness of an apple. Well, that didn’t happen to me. The apples tasted exactly how I remembered them. Nothing more, nothing less.
- Trail mix, even the super healthy one has a lot of sugar in it. I was very disappointed about this finding as there were a couple of days when I really wanted some trail mix and I went to every grocery store to try to find one with no added sugar. It doesn’t exist. Towards the end of my #nosugar month, I actually discovered that the RX Bars actually don’t have any added sugar so I’ll definitely turn to those more in the future when looking for a healthy sweet alternative.
- It’s tough to eat out. Most restaurants will pretty much add a dash of sugar to anything, which makes it hard to completely avoid it when eating out. I stayed away from any type of tomato based sauces, curry, desserts (duh!), sweet drinks, and anything that I knew for sure would have sugar, but didn’t go as far as to double check if every little thing had traces of sugar in it.
A month later, I can’t exactly tell you which part was worth it and which wasn’t. It was definitely an exercise in willpower, that reminded me once again I can do anything I set my mind to, but other than that, I can’t exactly say that it was like getting a whole new body or I felt super healthy and detoxed. Either way, I’d recommend trying it, even if it’s for the simple act of figuring out how much sugar you actually eat on a daily basis that doesn’t even come from sweet foods or drinks. So, I leave you with one piece of advice: whether you chose to eliminate sugar from your diet or not, at least start reading the labels and make an informed decision from now on.