My accidental resolution

Here's something I never thought I'd think about, much less say aloud: I'm thinking about cutting sugar out of my diet.

I stopped drinking alcohol in October, in an effort to quit smoking. It actually really helped - I haven't even wanted a cigarette since then. And I don't have to listen to people say, "Do you think those cigarettes are organic...local tobacco, blah blah, heh heh."

I admit they have a point.

But it's not just because I want to be all health-nut, local this, local that. Although I really like being that way. The main reason I'm considering cutting sugar out of my diet is...it just doesn't seem like that much of a sacrifice.

I do have a sweet tooth -- mostly for things made out of dark chocolate. But compared to all of the SOLE food that I've been eating, things that come in a box or wrapped in foil are holding less and less allure for me. Even the artisan cakes and pies available at the farmer's market taste way too sweet and just don't give me what I want out of food. It seems a waste to eat it. And now that I've been treating my body to real food for the last seven months, I notice the difference in the way I feel when I do eat sugar. A peak, and then a crash -- just like Momniho always said.

I've mentioned my plan to others, here and there, and they act like I'm thinking about dropping out of college. Wait, I'd probably get a lot more support if I told them that -- "Good for you! College Shmollege! Ya can't get a doctorate without getting indoctrinated!" But decisions about food are oddly alarming to people. "You don't have to cut out sugar, just be moderate!"

I'm still considering being open to the possibility of being moderate, but sugar has me thinking: What's the point? Now that I'm not just eating for taste anymore, sugar just isn't all that sexy to me. I'm sorry, sugar. It's not you, it's me. Actually, it is kind of you. You were just using me, trying to make me think you were awesome and then never delivering the goods, leaving me exhausted! You are so selfish and full of yourself! Sugar: you deplete me.

The thing is, I don't think I can give up honey. I love honey, particularly the raw honey I get from Round Rock Honey at the Farmer's Market. Are honey and sugar the same thing? Has anyone ever given up sugar before? Was it hard? Do you feel better now? Tell me, tell me.

12 Responsesto “My accidental resolution”

  1. Lauren says:

    My roommate started on a low-GI diet because she was teetering close to type II diabetes, and while I can and do make occasional exceptions, I've essentially adopted the diet myself. It's basically what you describe -- cutting out sugar -- but with a couple other things like no white flour, root vegetables or tropical fruits, because of how they affect blood sugar.

    I was in the same boat as you, realizing that my other food choices made it easier to avoid sugar in the first place. Let me tell you, it's made a big difference. I wrote a little about it not long ago (http://www.fauren.org/fauren/2006/08/a_little_about_.html).

    Sadly though, honey counts as a sugar. But if that's the only sugar you really want to eat (and man does it sound good), I say allow yourself the luxury. ;)

  2. potato non grata says:

    I refer you to the great philosopher pop band the Archies, who sang:

    Sugar,
    Oh, Honey Honey.
    You are my candy girl,
    and you got me wanting you.

    Proving that there is a direct correlation between sugar, honey and candy.

  3. Mary Sue says:

    Honey is a sugar. But so is fructose, which is naturally occuring in yonder apples.

    I've seen the Internet screaming matches between refined sugar is the real evil/OMGNOES all sugar is evil, and I think the real question is: how does honey affect you? Do you get the same spike and crash and shakes, or not. Then let that be your guide, and tell other people to snarf off.

    My $0.02.

  4. Funny, as we speak I am writing a post for later in the week about my resolution to kick processed sugar, which for me means granulated cane sugar, corn syrup and granulated fructose. I will be only getting sugar from sources that have some kind of nutritional value (blackstrap molasses) or are lower on the glycemic index (agave nectar). I am scared to kick this addiction, but I need to do it. Look forward to hearing how this goes.

    I think it's funny how people dismiss how bad sugar is for you by saying "but fruit has sugar in it!" Nobody is saying "all sugars are bad for you"... But only the sugar industry can argue with the fact that processed sugars contribute to obesity, diabetes, tooth decay, etc.

  5. PS - I agree with the previous commenter who mentioned thinking about how each kind of sugar affects you. For instance, I don't react to small amounts of honey or maple syrup the way I react to white or brown cane sugar (which give me mood swings and anxiety and GI problems).

    I'm still not sure how I feel about quitting honey or maple syrup, so I'm not going to cut them out uat first.

    The thing about moderation is, if you believe this is truly an addiction for you - Which many experts think it is - Then moderation does not work, in my experience. Similar to how alcoholics can't have "just one drink". Last time I quit sugar, it was letting myself try moderation that made me descend back into sugarwhoredom. If it's not an addiction for you, however, moderation might work. Why not try both out and see what feels better?

  6. cookiecrumb says:

    It's easy. I've done it.
    I don't claim that there's never refined sugar or even (horrors) HFCS in some of the commercial candy I've bought. But I don't eat a lot of candy, and I hardly ever eat desserts.
    (BTW, I don't have mood issues with sugar, so no testimonials on that point.)
    What made it so easy for me a year and a half ago was trying out the local diet -- food from a 100-mile radius of my home.
    Well. Sugar is definitely not local, but we have local honey, and it's lovely (and seems to have maybe, possibly, cleared up my hay fever). Even so, I don't consume a lot -- half a spoonful in a cup of tea.
    When anything needs a sweetener in my house, it's local honey.

  7. Omniwhore says:

    Lauren -- I don't think I can give up root veggies. Not that you want me to or anything! As far as I can tell, they don't make me feel bad. But I might try a Gl diet, just to see what it's like. I'm curious! I'll wait until root season is over though...
    Thanks MSue, you're right -- an evaluation of how I feel is more important than what someone says I might feel, and telling someone to snarf off sounds like fun!
    CC - yes, it would be good from a local standpoint to cut out sugar. Glad to know that it was easy for you. I have a feeling it will be easy for me too!
    PNG -- Oh, PNG. Your logic is undeniable. And for some reason a certain song has been stuck in my head all day. So, yeah, thanks for that!

  8. leavesofjoy says:

    My hubbie and I cut out a lot (not all) refined sugar and white starches from our diet about a year ago, and ended up losing about 20 lbs. each. Mostly, it was about making healthier choices about the same foods- brown instead of white rice, fruit instead of cookies, etc.

    What really helped hubbie and his insane sweet tooth was Stevia extract. Sometimes, he would just take a shot of it straight, to get a big hit of sweetness and help him over the cravings until his metabolism changed anough to find the healthier sweets satisfying.

    Stevia doesn't work as a sugar substitute if the sugar texture is needed to make a recipe work (as with cakes or cookies) but it does work really well for sweet pastes or liquids. So, you can make really good truffles, hot cocoa, or pudding with unsweetened chocolate and stevia, and it works amazingly well with fruit pies if you use the tapioca method for thickening. Yes, not 100% carb & sugar free, but much better for you, I think.

    My favourite dessert now is to take some really good yogurt, Strauss full fat is excellent, and mix in some cocoa powder, vanilla extract, and stevia extract. It's an amazing pudding, very satisfying and good for you.

    We also found that cutting back on both alcohol and sugars acted to reduce cravings of either. There are scientific reasons for this, and we really discovered that if you stop one of the two, the craving for the other is also diminished.

    A note on Stevia- many of the extracts taste really weird, so try a few and don't give up if you don't like one of them. We like KAL Stevia Extract the best.

  9. Omniwhore says:

    LOJ -

    Thanks for the tips about stevia -- I intend to try it. I did buy some agave nectar recently, and it's quite good. It's not as overpowering as honey, yet it's still sweet and actually has a lower glycemic index. I'm going to pick up some stevia today, we'll see! I tried some a while back at a macrobiotic restaurant, and as I recall it was a tad bitter, but I will try to find the one you mentioned.

    It's true what you say about cutting alcohol and sugars -- it does reduce cravings. So many of our addictions seem to occur together -- smoking and drinking, sugar and drinking, etc. I believe that by eating locally, and being more mindful of the food we eat can shed light on not only how we eat, but how we take care of ourselves. It's all connected.

  10. jim bojones says:

    I've heard of something you can chew?
    some kind of root?
    in Africa?

  11. Anne says:

    I quit alcohol 16 months ago (40th birthday), even though I had already cut back to drinking 1 drink per month average, and last January I quit sugar. It had to be all sugar in my case, because I had systemic yeast issues and was very clearly addicted. Within 3 days I was very ill and wound up in the hospital (boy were they confused in the ED, they know nothing about this stuff!), but I stuck with it, through the cravings, mood swings, depression, and a year later I feel 1000% better. I can have some fruit now, especially low sugar fruit, and I was using stevia consistently, but only in hot cocoa (stevia, milk, cocoa). I realized a month ago that I was likely allergic to milk, and cut out the hot cocoa (wasn't the same with soymilk), and therefore the stevia, and suddenly I felt TONS better. Don't know if it was because of cutting out the stevia or the milk, though.

    My chiropractor just talked me into getting some agave nectar, and I just made some chocolate candy with it (Baker's 100% unsweetened chocolate melted with agave). It made the consistency a little weird, and it may not come out okay, but it tastes really good. I put some in chocolate molds that I bought at Michael's craft store, and rolled it into balls and stuffed them into big raspberries (very very nice!).

    My sister is diabetic (type 1), my grandmother is type 2, my dad and I have always had blood sugar issues (hypoglycemia probably), so it was natural for me to limit sugar. I say do what works for you, and stick with it.

  12. bob owal says:

    Does anyone have any good recipes for steveia candy or sweets?