I haven't had sugar in over a year. Not at someone's birthday party. Not at a holiday dinner. Not even in the middle of the night when no one else is looking. How do I do it?
I'll tell you.
The Sugar I'm Talking About
I am referring to processed sugar. Not fruit. Not raw honey which is a whole food with special bee-compounds that make it more natural and something you can digest well. I'm talking about the stuff they make in a factory:
Secret #1 For How I Live Without Sugar
I don't eat it. :)
Ok, that might sound ridiculously simple, but it's based on the fact that sugar is addicting. In some studies the rats chose it over cocaine. (Sorry, rats!) And brain scans show it lights up the same parts of our mind as hard drugs. If you eat it, you want it. You crave it. You need your fix. If you don't eat it you don't want it, you don't crave it and you have nothing to fix.
I have heard that Day 4 without sugar is where the addiction really starts to work you. It does me. But if you can get past that initial terrible week, you're home free. And then you must be diligent. As least, I do.
Trace amounts affect me.
I rarely eat at restaurants anymore. Outback Steakhouse is my only go-to right now with its official gluten free menu and plain steak, steamed brocooli and sweet potato option. But even so, after I get home I've noticed a 24 hour period where I overeat. Just like the old days I prowl around the fridge at 10:30pm looking for....something, that hard gleam in my eye searching, searching...
I've wondered if the trace amounts of chemicals and sugar I'm ingesting there are starting the cycle of addition again. Something certainly is because my nostrils don't flare just for fun.
Secret #2 For How I Live Without Sugar
I eat fat. Lots and lots of good fat.
I read somewhere that if your body is clean of chemicals, than a sugar craving is really just a craving for fat. Our caveman brain is saying "Grok, go kill big animal. Eat fatty parts."
During my first year of eating Paleo I remember a distinct time when I was craving a donut. I didn't really want the donut - just the gluten alone would have put me in bed for two days - but still, I wanted that donut. I daydreamed about that donut. It sang to me. It had its own music video with backup dancers and a lead guitar.
I prayed the fat-sugar theory would save me so I went to Whole Foods and bought the fattiest organic, grass-fed ground beef I could find and I made a Paleo meatloaf. Fresh from the oven I ran a big spoon around the edges of the pan and scooped up the brown, bubbling fat, blew on it (to cool it of course), and ate it.
Oh my sweet heavenly goodness.
My eyes rolled into the back of my head and the donut in my mind started screaming and melting like the Wicked Witch of the West. All of the backup dancers picked up their bags and scowled at me on their way out the door as one lonely guitar note wailed itself into silence. I haven't wanted a donut since.
Secret #3 For How I Live Without Sugar
I take magnesium supplements every day.
If you crave chocolate, your body wants magnesium. I started taking magnesium for its colon cleansing benefits, but a year later I realized I didn't want chocolate. We had stopped eating chocolate in our house because my daughter has a soy and dairy intolerance, I have a rice intolerance and we don't want sugar. Most chocolate contains one or more of those things.
But now they make chocolate with just coconut stuff in it and I still don't want it. The very idea of chocolate makes my nose wrinkle.
How can this be possible? Me? Who Lived on Almond M&M's and Kit Kats?
Surly it must be the magnesium, because I'm the only one I know with this strange behavior, and I'm the only one taking the supplements.
Now, chocolate isn't sugar, so why do I mention it? Because chocolate usually contains sugar, and even trace amounts can get you (me?) hooked again. And what do you put chocolate on? Or eat chocolate with? Think about it. Chocolate, my friends is a gateway drug. You have been warned. LOL!
I Still Get To Enjoy Sweet Things
I eat an apple now and it tastes crazy sweet to me. I can't even eat a whole banana-egg pancake it's so intense. But I know these are not addicting with their fruit "sugar" because if you told me "no apples for one month" I would say OK and life would go on sans apples. Easy peasy. The same goes for dates or bananas or honey or anything else in my current diet.
But back when I was eating sugar?
To take away my sugar was to invite a fork in the back of your hand. I'd growl and snap at you like a wild animal. "Back off the M&M's kid, you already had yours!"
But maybe I do still have a sugar problem.
Oh, No. Bacon.
I just had a thought. I eat bacon, and even though it says 0 grams per slice I have not found a bacon yet that does not contain trace amounts of sugar. It's listed as an ingredient. And I love, love, love, bacon.
I do tell the kids to back off my bacon. And anytime I get that look in my eye and bite my teeth like Iceman in Top Gun, that is a sure sign that something has a hold on me.
Maybe I need to go on a one-month bacon fast just to be sure. Tomorrow. After I finish the Bacon & Brussels Sprouts in the fridge. And the extra bacon I just cooked. And the other bacon I already bought. Wow, cue one lone guitar.
I like the easy Paleo stuff.