Giving up sugar. Giving up sweetness. A sugar and sweetness free year. 9 months in. 3 months to go. The facts.

Bee Pollen and Banana

Nine months ago, as you may know I gave up sugar for a year.

A really positive side of giving up sugar, is that I’ve started to experiment and write recipes with new health giving ingredients and getting involved with lots of health food cookery books too.

Things I thought of as a bit ‘kooky’ before, I am starting to see the health benefits of now. Hence the re post from my Instagram account of the pic above. of my new favourite snack, bee pollen dipped banana. Who knew! Who knew that I would ever fancy that at all!

But the journey has become a challenging one……
I gave up sugar for a year for charity, but if I’m totally honest I did it mostly for myself. I knew that by doing it for charity I wouldn’t cheat. If I didn’t do it for charity, I would easily be swayed/give in to myself into having ‘just’ one, ‘just’ a ‘little’ bit.

‘Just’ a little bit won’t hurt, will it? Then, I would’ve ‘just’ had a little bit of this, and a little bit of that, and before long I’d ‘just’ be having whatever I wanted, when I wanted, but more…

They say, that a little bit of what you fancy does you good. I agree. But I am not one of those people that can easily do that. Some people can. Lucky them. I’m trying to teach myself this as a possibility.

So it has been all, or nothing. Complete abstinence from the things I crave the most. Not so much sugar, as sweetness.

It has on the whole been an amazing experience. I have lost some weight, but more importantly I feel lighter in my soul. I am told on a regular basis, how well I look. I feel very well and my skin is glowing and doesn’t have the puffiness that comes with consuming an excess of sweet things and alcohol.

But in recent times I’ve got bored with it. I’ve eaten very well and very healthily on the whole, but in the last couple of months I found myself creating new addictions. New reach for food remedies. New hits.

So although I did allow myself potatoes and rice – I actually cooked these rarely, but I found myself getting an addiction for crisps. I never ate them that much before, but large bags of Kettle crisps, (no sugar added:), became my go-to snack, or fill-me-up when craving sweetness.

Then with the recent move to the seaside here in Margate, this gave me the perfect excuse to buy a bag of chips to eat on the beach….a little too often…..

Coffee also became my daily ‘hit’ and I found myself making strong expressos a few times a day, and when out an about I would search for the best coffee shop around for the best Flat White I could find. So with this and drinking lots of tea, I was of course drinking loads of milk with it. I am actually a little lactose intolerant (remember lactose is the sugar in milk), but more recently, I’ve chosen to ignore this…

I started this challenge mostly to break bad habits, and I’m aware I shouldn’t give myself too much of a hard time about it as it’s been a very stressful time recently, what with moving etc…but I now find myself sliding into new bad habits.

It’s time for a change. So for the last 3 months I am upping the anti and adding a few more forbidden foods to my list.

From today, for these last 3 months of the challenge I am also giving up, coffee, tea, potatoes (especially crisps!), and all dairy. Wish me luck. Gawd help me!!….

So for the record this is what I had given up for my sugar -free year:

Sugar – processed white sugar, sweeties, raw sugar, brown sugar, coconut sugar..etc

Sweeteners or syrups of any kind – including honey, date, maple, rice, agave, elderflower…

Fruit juices – all processed commercial fruit juices, only drinking coconut water and the very, very occasional, small glass of freshly squeezed fruit juice. (I couldn’t resist a small glass of blood orange juice when they were in season at the beginning of the year!!)

Dried fruit – dates, raisins, sultanas, figs, cranberries, blueberries, cherries, etc.etc… (I can eat fresh fruit and nuts).

Alcohol of any kind – The whole list!

Chocolate – except absolutely raw chocolate and cacao with no sugar added…

Bread  – Because bread often has sugar added and even if not, like sour dough, it has an addictive sweetness that is too dangerous for me to eat. I cannot have one slice of toast.

Flour – except gluten free flour, as once again this is pretty addictive stuff. Be very careful of gluten free breads you buy too, as they will usually have sugar added to make up for what’s missing!

Anything with sugar or sweetness added – I now check all labels of any processed food I buy. Not that I buy very much processed food at all anymore.



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