For the next 28 days I have chosen to cut out sugar from my diet. Like me, you’ve probably just finished a couple of weeks eating lot of tasty sugar. Don’t feel too guilty about it. Life is about balance. But if you want to make some changes, I’d like to make a suggestion.
Choose one month this year — a full 4 weeks, starting now or later — and commit to eating no sugar. Go cold turkey, for one month. I give up sugar each year, for the past 3 years, usually for 1-3 months. It has led to permanent changes in my eating habits. It wasn’t easy but it was worth it.
Sugar is addictive and let’s face it, it’s also delicious. It’s like a cheap and lazy way to make food taste better. I bet you didn’t realize how much sugar hides out in hundreds of your favourite foods, from salad dressings, to yogurts. Even McDonald’s chips are sprinkled with sugar. It’s contained in most sauces and some breads and of course most beverages (except ÍON tonics!). Food manufacturers know that people like sugar and they know that it is addictive. They play on the fact that sugar makes us feel good temporarily. If you choose to cut-out sugar from your diet, you’ll suddenly feel like an ingredient patrol officer and your grocery shopping spree turns into an investigation as you hunt down the small print on packaging. But stay focused as avoiding sugar will be worth it. Here are some of my reasons for giving it up for 4 weeks:
1. A sugar hit is not worth it
Sugar robs your body of minerals and it lowers your pH making your body slightly acidic and this is the state that disease can arise and flourish in. Sugar fires up your inflammation and stresses your nervous system and adrenals. Besides giving rise to diabetes, it interferes with hormonal function.
2. After processing, it's the most unnatural substance
I love to research how things are made which is why ÍON tonics are made in the purest possibly way. As for sugar, the processing method is not so pure. Sugar is chemically treated to turn it from sugar cane into pretty white crystals. The crystals are bleached by sulfur dioxide (a toxic gas) and are treated in a carbonation process to produce a whiter product.
3. I don’t like cover-ups
Nor do I like industries such as the sugar industry controlling what I eat. A major cover-up occurred in the 1960s when Harvard researchers were paid the modern-day equivalent of $50,000 to present their research in a light that portrayed saturated fats as the major health culprit, rather than sugar. Last year an article in The New York Times revealed that Coca-Cola provided millions in funding to researchers seeking to play-down the link between sugary drinks and obesity. If you give up sugar for a month, you’ll become part of a growing anti-sugar movement.
4. Our tastebuds need a break!
Reclaim your tastebuds! Your taste buds will regenerate themselves if you avoid sugar and after a few weeks, a whole array of flavours will become more noticeable to you. Wholesome food will taste better, as your taste buds become more sensitive.
It is found that the cravings, withdrawal and relapse symptoms of sugar addicts are similar to those of cocaine and heroin abusers. Sugar is highly addictive so I’m not saying you’re a sugar addict, but most people have it tough when they choose to go sugar-free.
This might help...
If you need some help in resisting your cravings, ÍON Ginger tonics will give you a boost. It might not be the boost you crave for, but it certainly does satisfy and ward off those cravings. According to feedback from regular ÍON tonic-takers, they find they reduce cravings for sugary snacks. These zingy organic remedies contain freshly pressed lemons and freshly pressed ginger, but most likely it’s the organic liquorice root that satisfies the sweet cravings, since liquorice root is 50 times sweeter than sugar. You can buy them here.
There were certainly times when I didn’t enjoy the month without sugar. I know I will find this month challenging too but I will grin and bear the craving cyclone until it passes, and it will pass. At these moments, I find changing my environment helps and getting outside for a walk can do wonders. Remind yourself that it’s only for 28 days. The benefits of a break from sugar will continue long after the month is over. Your new normal might become more enjoyable than the old and you might just realise that you are sweet enough!
Healthier alternatives to sugar
If I’ve not been able to win you over to a sugar-free month, then see below for healthier alternatives to sugar:
- Xylitol – this comes from the birch tree
- Stevia – this comes from the stevia plant
- Coconut palm sugar – this comes from coconut flowers
These are sweeteners that don’t raise blood sugar levels and are considered to have a low glycemic index. You’ll find them in all good health food stores.