Avoiding Sugar

I love ice cream, but I do my best to avoid it because I know that the sugar it contains isn’t good for my mind or body. Growing up, I ate ice cream every night after I finished my homework, basically as a reward. Sometimes I put sprinkles on my ice cream. Sometimes I microwaved a tablespoon of hot fudge to the bottom of my bowl and scooped the ice cream on top. Ice cream was the perfect way to end the day.

I continued to eat ice cream and many other desserts every day until about three years ago. A massage therapist suggested that in order to reduce my allergies, I should completely cut out foods with added sugar for three months. I didn’t have anything to lose, so I tried it. I could eat some fruit, but otherwise, no food with added sugar at all. No “natural” or “organic” sugars. No honey or maple syrup either.

Cutting out added sugar was so much harder than I expected! For the first few weeks, I craved sweets and desserts at nearly all times of the day. I was cranky. Stevia drops were supposed to help, but I never really liked the taste. Fruit (especially watermelon) got me through it.

I did it! And surprisingly, at the end of the three months, sugar didn’t appeal to me like before, so I kept avoiding foods with added sugar. Nearly three years later, I am still a believer. Sugar is addictive and has a significant negative effect on my mind and body.

At this point, I do add honey and maple syrup to my breakfast and snacks. And I always have a slice of birthday cake. I also enjoy the occasional ice cream cone or other dessert when I really want it. There are no hard and fast rules, but my overall no-sugar policy has changed my life.

Due to not eating foods with added sugar for the past three years, I have lost 25 pounds and about four dress sizes. Avoiding sugar is not the only reason why I have lost weight (see Cooking, Walking my Dogs, Getting Off the Pill, and Trying Acupuncture), but it’s probably the biggest factor. I can also tell that I have more energy and a more stable mindset throughout the day. Keeping added sugar out of my body gives me the energy to do the tasks that make my life better, like walking my dogs and cooking.

I do not want to tell anyone how to live their life, but I do want to share my experiences in case they are helpful. And here, I believe that my experiences with avoiding sugar are worth sharing. A three month sugar fast is not easy, especially in the beginning, but it is achievable and has brought a lot of benefits to my life.