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I started my sugar detox by first decoding how much sugar I was consuming in a day and when I was more likely to have the cravings. My day never began unless I had a cup of tea with a spoonful of sugar. My breakfast, among other things, had to have a smoothie or shake (+2 tsp. sugar). Sometimes I would grab a Twix (+28 gm. sugar= 7 tsp.) after lunch for my sweet tooth. My evening tea (+1 tsp. sugar) was making things worse. A couple of hours after dinner, I would have my last dose of sugar for the day in the form of a glass of milk (+2 tsp. sugar). So, if I summed these up, I was blatantly consuming 12 tsp. of sugar in a day. And I was not even counting the sneaky portions I was consuming through ketchup, salad dressings, and bottled juices.
So basically, I was doing really badly. I was going way above the recommended daily intake- 6 tsps. for women (9 tsps. for men). I needed a plan immediately. So, I started a food diary to keep a track of what I was eating and how much sugar it contained. I started with swapping my morning and evening masala chai with herbal tea. Now, if you have ever tried green tea, you will agree that it tastes awful with sugar. So automatically I reduced 2 tsp. sugar from my meals by just switching to a healthier version of tea.
I Recommend: Herbal Chamomile Mint Citrus Green Tea (INR 190) from Vahdam Teas
I also stopped adding sugar to my nightly glass of milk and swapped it with a tsp. of jaggery. TBH, it took me a few days to get used to the taste, but I was determined to do anything to cut ties with this sweet and silent killer.
I Recommend: Organic Pure Bella Liquid Jaggery (INR 250) from Avadata Organics
The most difficult stunt I had to pull was to switch from processed foods to foods with natural sugar. So I ditched Twix for an apple with peanut butter or a banana.
I Recommend: Chocolate Peanut Butter (INR 180) from Alpino.
I started drinking coconut water and fresh fruit juices every time I wanted a can of soda. I also ‘healthified’ my salads by replacing the caloric and sugar-laden dressings with a simpler and tastier lemon-honey dressing.
I Recommend: Unadulterated Artisanal Honey (INR 257) from DYU.
So what happened after I made this mind-blowing and historic switch in my diet?
- The first few days I felt amazing. My body felt lighter and energetic. I don’t exactly know whether it was my willpower or the reduced sugar, I felt satiated after every meal and I didn’t feel like reaching out for a second serving.
- I felt like I have suddenly started moving more. One time I actually got up from my bed and picked up the TV remote from another corner of the room rather than waiting for someone to show up and do it for me. What an accomplishment for a couch potato like me! Not kidding, but I felt less lethargic and exhausted throughout the day.
- For the first week, I hardly had any cravings for my beloved Twix. And even if I had those cravings for a moment, I could easily dismiss them. In fact, the more I ate foods with natural sugar, the lesser was the cravings for artificial sugar.
- Reality stuck me in the second week when withdrawal symptoms started hitting. This was the time I had really bad sugar cravings. For a few days I felt a little off and irritable. First I thought maybe I was PMSing, but when the aroma of anything sweet started making me a little out of control, I knew I was badly craving for something sugary.
- I had a headache almost every day in the second week. Also, I felt a little sluggish and less motivated to get up and workout. I felt exhausted throughout the day. There were some days when I felt I was literally shaking. IDK, maybe my body was so used to sugar that it was revolting. The only good thing was that I felt less bloated.
- I think my body adjusted to my new routine only in the third week. By this time my sugar cravings had almost disappeared. That means no candies, ice-cream or pies could turn me into a ravenous beast anymore. Strangely enough, now I found bananas and mangoes sweeter than before.
- My workouts also improved in the third week. In the evening I randomly picked up my skinny jeans and yay it fit me better. I lost 1 and a half-inch around the waist.
- The last week was smooth like the previous; only I had occasional sugar cravings. Especially if I stumbled into a picture of brownies! Or if I saw my sister munching on muffins and other sugary stuff.
- I had read that quitting sugar can improve your skin texture. Honestly, I didn’t notice much change. But this can be also because I feel I naturally have clear skin (thanks to my genes!).
- Well, another bonus point of quitting sugar was that I became a sensible shopper when it comes to grocery shopping- so I turn towards whole foods more than processed foods. Now I realize where all I money went all these years!
So after a month of my love and hate relationship with sugar, I can finally claim that I have gone completely sugar-free. There are way too many benefits of discarding sugar from your diet that motivates me never to get back to the pre- sugar detox life. So I think I will stick to this routine for a little longer and see how it feels- unless someone actually decides to throw cookies on my face.
Just joking! I think it is unrealistic to totally banish sugar from your diet; at least for me. So I will definitely eat sugar again but I will be more mindful of how much of it I am consuming daily.