Today I am celebrating 100 days living without sugar. I am not diabetic, nor have I ever had much of a sweet tooth, so you might wonder why I decided to deprive myself of the occasional treat. I’ll tell you why…
It all started a few months ago when someone suggested that my body might be suffering from candida overgrowth. What they said made sense to me, so I did a little research online and found The Ultimate Candida Diet Program by Lisa Richards. Since it appeared to be well researched and it wasn’t drastically different from how I normally eat, I knew I would have no trouble following it long term. Besides, I love to experiment in the kitchen trying new recipes, so I viewed it as an adventure!
Most adventures have their particular challenges, and this was no exception. While there is much more to an anti-candida diet than eliminating sugar, the big bad thing to be avoided at all costs no matter what is, of course… S-U-G-A-R! Lest you think I am talking only about the white refined stuff, let me clarify. It is sugar in all its forms that I would be saying goodbye to – white sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, fructose, molasses, honey, maple syrup, agave syrup, etc.
Now, let me remind you that I was basically born a health nut, who as a child would often turn down the offer of a cookie, and who in my adult years rarely made dessert part of the menu. Still, I had been noticing in the last year or so that I had developed a weird relationship with sweets. Although I have never been an alcoholic, I felt like the same type of psychological warfare was going on whenever I was tempted to partake.
I would tell myself things like, “You rarely eat sugar, so you can have a little bit once in a while. It can’t hurt you.” This sounded reasonable, and I didn’t want to be an extremist, so I would succumb to the temptation. I deserved it, right? Everything in moderation, right?
But, then, I started to notice that the more I said yes to sugar, the easier it was to continue to say yes, and with all those yes’s came not only the unpleasant physical effects of ingesting sugar, but also the unpleasant psychological effects of making the decision to ingest sugar (namely, remorse). I realized that if I simply changed my policy from sometimes into never, that life would be so much easier! If I decided to always say NO, then there would be no more psychological warfare, no more feeling sick, and no more remorse!
Of course, deciding to say NO is one thing, and actually consistently saying NO is another. Therefore, I knew I needed something to both inspire me and hold me accountable. I found it in Jason Holborn, of Toronto, Ontario. He started a similar journey a few years ago and celebrated his 1,000th day without sugar on September 21, 2015! The reason I know this, and so do all his neighbors, is because he posted a large Days Without Sugar sign in his front window on day 001 and updated it every single day until taking it down after reaching 1,000.
Since I don’t have a front window anyone would really see, and I don’t want any of my neighbors slipping a speck of sugar into my cabbage salad when I’m not looking just to sabotage me for taking their favorite parking space, I have opted for a more private version of Holborn’s Days Without Sugar sign. It is an App I downloaded to my smart phone called Days Since. I set it up to count the number of days since I began saying NO on September 11, 2015 and today it reached triple digits!
In honor of my achievement of celebrating 100 days living without sugar, I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to the one person who made it all possible – the one person without whom I never would have made it and who I continue to be grateful for every night when I go to sleep and every morning when I wake up. Who is this person, you might wonder? Why, it is none other than the brilliant food chemist who finally figured out how to make powdered Stevia extract not have the unpleasant aftertaste that it had in its early years!
Three cheers for stevia, the completely natural sweetener that tastes so good that even normal people (or as normal of people as I could find on short notice) liked the Carob Lemon Truffles I made for the Christmas party last weekend! Sugar… who needs you?