I have a sweet tooth. A BIG sweet tooth! I used to joke that I wished the dentist had removed my sweet tooth instead of my wisdom teeth. Unlike most people, my sweet tooth doesn’t demand chocolate. Once in a while, but more often it demands sugar in the way of jelly beans, marshmallows, sugary cereal, cookies, sweet tea and my sweet vanilla latte every morning. Mmmm…
Since getting married I’ve put on a few pounds. I know that happens to everybody, but when you’re already on the heavier side it really doesn’t make you feel good about yourself knowing that there’s now even more of you to love. I’ve been wanting to cut down on my sugar intake in order to help me lose some weight, but there was one other reason that made me decide to get my health in control regarding my weight and my sweet tooth.
Diabetes runs on my dad’s side of the family. As long as I can remember my grandma had to give herself insulin injections and she ate a lot of really icky-tasting stuff. I’ve been told that her mother, my great-grandma, died in a diabetic coma. My dad is now taking pills to help his blood sugar and he has learned to watch his sugar intake. He has managed to lose a lot of weight and manages to keep it down around a healthier level. Knowing that this risk is quite high for me I have decided to take a proactive measure to hopefully help prevent the onset when I get older.
I am lucky because I have a friend who is helping me with this change in diet. She is currently working her way through the process of becoming a certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner. She originally went to school for hospitality (running hotels, restaurants, inns, catering, etc) and she has really become quite the foodie. Her passion in life is to learn about food and nutrition, and then apply it in her life to keep both her and her husband as healthy as possible. She experienced a time in her life where she realized that the junk she was putting into her body made her feel like a lump of goo, so she decided to change it.
Since I have zero interest in reading about nutrition, I decided to volunteer as one of her guinea pigs for her course work. This is going to be hard for me so I needed somebody who could guide me and encourage me along the way. After doing an initial assessment it was decided that I should go on the Sugar Control Diet for 30 days. This diet is meant to recalibrate the body’s sugar control mechanism, which is what triggers us to eat or snack or want another gummy bear. For 30 days I have to avoid all grains, almost all dairy, a good portion of fruit, and of course most sweeteners.
Once I had seen the diet restrictions I wasn’t too worried about how I was going to manage to follow it. I hate to cook, but since I have to eat gluten free I tend to do a lot of it. The diet allows me to eat as much meat as I want, as many veggies as I want, and I can satisfy my sweet tooth with limited fruit. And black olives are allowed as I can consider them part of the good fats that I get to consume. The only pitfall that I could foresee was my daily coffee… I don’t drink it black so how would I survive? I was given the option of honey or stevia, but told that stevia hadn’t yet received good reviews from my friend when used in coffee.
I ate like an inmate on death row. The strictest part of this diet is the thirty days where you are eliminating a lot of things from your diet. I made macaroni & cheese for dinner, the next night we had rice, and for dessert I had ice cream. I snacked on little pieces of chocolate and ate my sugar-laden cereal for breakfast. The one thing that I tried to do was wean myself from the sweet coffee. I halved the amount of sugar I used for most of the week, and yesterday I used only a tablespoon or so in my 20 ounce cup. I stocked the refrigerator with fresh veggies and bought meat to stash in the freezer for meals. I can do this!
Today really wasn’t too bad. I didn’t expect it to be, though. I was fairly optimistic about things and keeping a good mood. Until I got home from the second morning mass (I play piano at two morning masses on Sunday, temporarily). That’s the time when normally I would make a cup of coffee and relax while telling Jay about how the second mass went, what pitfalls I fell into at the piano, and then talking about how I was going to be productive for the rest of the day. I tried making my vanilla latte this morning without the sugar and all that confirmed was that I am NOT a black coffee drinker. So I didn’t have my cup of coffee after mass. I thought about a cup of decaf tea with a little honey, but I really don’t care for honey. Also, tea doesn’t comfort me like the coffee does.
So today I drank water. Ugh. I like water, but I need something to break it up. It was so bad that I managed to eventually finish my cup of black coffee from the morning. And currently I am drinking a cup of tea with a little bit of honey. If I didn’t change it up my tongue was going to rebel. Seriously. Every time I took a sip of water it would say, “What?! Are you kidding me? We’ve already had a lot of this! I’m tired of it. Let’s have some coffee!” It would be a lot easier if the coffee/sugar made me sick like when I accidentally eat gluten. *sigh*
As I work my way through this sugar detox (as I’ve seen some people refer to it), I thought that I would blog about it. Hopefully you can at least enjoy a bit of my discomfort/misery!