The Slippery Sugar Slope

19 Aug

So we’re now just over halfway through August and I’ve realised that I hadn’t yet done a post-no-sugar-month blog. I’m also realising that the second half of this year was not the best time to start a blog,  as it’s been super busy. But, here I am.

Sooooo, the 1st August rolled around and I was quite restrained. I had the chai latte I’d been looking forward to; I had lunch with a friend and had some of her (small) cheesecake;  and when when I got home,  BFG and I tried the (in)famous L & P chocolate. Well, one piece was all I needed. I have to admit that I’m not a fan. The lemony smell was the first thing I noticed. Perhaps this is why some say it tastes like soap: their noses are assaulted with a pungent lemon smell and because their noses associate this with soap, so do their taste buds. There is an almost indistinguishable taste of paeroa, and then there’s the popping candy. BFG loves the popping candy but I can take it or leave it. Some say it takes them back to their childhood,  but I don’t remember particularly liking popping candy in my childhood.  I think I was worried it would come out my nose or make it’s way into my brain. Don’t ask me how that would have even been possible…

Since then, I have had some sugary things now and then, but I haven’t really enjoyed them all that much. And yet, the need to keep consuming sugar prevails. I’ve also noticed that eating sugar again seems to have affected my sleeping patterns, my moods (sorry, BFG) and my skin. None for the better. Over the course of the month of no sugar, due in part to aforesaid lack of sugar, but possibly also to being sick, I lost four kilos. I just weighed myself and, as I suspected, it is slowly but surely creeping back onto my stomach, hips and thighs. Two kilos have reappeared, despite continuing to go to Boot Camp (which is awesome, by the way, I fully recommend this place if you live in Auckland).

The more I read about sugar, the less I like. I highly recommend reading “Sweet Poison” by David Gillespie.  You can also find his blog here. To sum up what Gillespie discovered through his own research, our bodies can handle processing certain types of sugar (lactose, found in milk; glucose, found in carbohydrates, etc.), but not fructose.  At least not in huge quantities. Fructose is found in fruit and in these amounts, it’s fine. However, it also makes up one half of ordinary sugar (sucrose), the other half being glucose. This is the sugar that is found in cake, sugary drinks, ice cream, it’s the stuff we add to our baking, etc. So this means that anything high in sugar contains a lot of fructose. Our bodies can process the sucrose, glucose, lactose and the small amounts of fructose found in fruit, but high levels of fructose convert straight into fatty acids. This means that having a diet high in sugar is a direct path to heart disease, cancer, etc. Fat is actually much less dangerous than sugar, according to this book (although the author does note that trans fats should still be avoided). Quite scary. Especially when you consider that sugar is EVERYWHERE and the manufacturers are doing their utmost to get you to buy it, consume it, get hooked on it and then keep buying it. This hit home when I was in the supermarket the other day and noticed the sign above the so-called energy drinks: Lifestyle drinks. Well, yes, I guess they are, but is it the lifestyle you want for yourself? Or your children?

Sugar will make your life better!

Sugar will make your life better!

As much as I love sweet treats, I think I now have to seriously consider cutting most sugar out of my diet. Gillespie says you should cut it ALL out, but I know myself, and depriving myself of treats only makes me want to eat them more. I’m stubborn like that. Ask the BFG. So, I think what I will try out is going sugar free on all five week days, and then allowing a small amount on weekends.

So that also means finding alternatives. Gillespie suggests using glucose (or Dextrose, as it’s sold in supermarkets), so I may try making some things with this. But things like cheese scones, fruit scones and using fruit as a sweetener will also come into play. And, unfortunately, honey is also a no-no, as it’s high in, you guessed it, sugar. Natural sugars, yes, but sugar all the same.

Since we have an ice cream machine, this will be my next recipe, assuming I can source some dextrose. I’ll let you know how it goes.

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