Last year Pete and I gave up sugar in all its forms for 12 weeks (also gave up caffeine, wheat, dairy, alcohol and fruit). The first month saw me become one very irritable on edge mama. I surprised myself. I had no idea how addicted I was to my sugar treats. Being a wholefood kinda gal, my sugar treats were not in the form of lollies or bakery cakes, they were things like dried fruit, date rolls, chai with honey, rice cakes with tahini and honey - sugar none the less. Giving them up cold turkey gave me a tiny glimpse of what it must be like to give up a drug. I did feel remarkably clear minded and instead of my four o'clock energy slump I still had energy at seven o'clock when normally I'd be half asleep putting the boys to bed.
Now that I've had the experience of being clear of sugar and all the other items listed above, I am even more deliberate about what I choose to eat than I was before. Honey and dried fruits are now too sweet for my new sugar free taste buds. Raw chocolate is my new treat, and most weekends we choose a sweet creation that I enjoy baking with the boys. Most often that is flourless chocolate cake!
During the sugar free time I discovered a book that has been in the media a fair bit, Sweet Poison is the title, written by David Gillespie. David describes himself as a recovering corporate lawyer. He is the father of six young children (including one set of twins) and was 40kg overweight. That is until he set out to research why he and so many in his generation were fat. The result of his research is losing the extra weight and a best selling book. For me Sweet Poison wasn't an easy read, it is very textbooky, the charts and science took some concentrating for my brain. A worthy read though for anyone interested in the effect of sugar on the body and ways to reduce it in your diet.
This Sunday March 4th on Channel 7 program Sunday Night there is a story about sugar and the latest research and science about its effects on health. Former rugby player Peter FitzSimons shares his experience in the story of quitting rugby, gaining weight and then quitting sugar and losing weight and gaining good health. I'm not in the habit of recommending commercial TV but I thought anyone interested in the sugar debate would appreciate the heads up. I take no responsibility for the quality of the reporting!
Giving up sugar is not about deprivation. It is about making better informed choices. Some friends think I am a bit extreme in my approach to food (of course I don't see it that way!) I say many people don't really take account of what they are eating and how much. Many of my friends like to say 'everything in moderation' or 'middle way' but one person's moderation is another person's extreme. So if you're up for raising your awareness I suggest for one week keep track of the amount of sugar you and your family eat. Every time you eat or drink something sweet stick a sticker on a piece of paper or draw a star or whatever marker you choose. At the end of the week (or month would be a better time frame) you may be surprised at your sugar intake. Once you have a really accurate picture of what you are eating you can then make changes or say confidently and truthfully I'm really happy with what we're eating.
If you're interested in reading more about quitting sugar read Sarah Wilson's blog , she has also written an ebook 'I Quit Sugar' (I haven't read it) and Maria Hannaford writes about her experience of giving up sugar on her blog Econest . David Gillespie's blog Raisin-Hell can be found here.
Next week the boys and I are heading to Byron Bay to spend a week with dear friends who became parents to twins five months ago. While we are away I have great plans of sharing all that I love about Byron with you, we'll see how that pans out between cups of tea, enjoying babies and entertaining four children under 5.
Happy weekend to you.