One week without sugar and I'm swearing at people who aren’t even there…
‘They’ say that sugar as is addictive as cocaine.
‘They’ say that sugar is poison to the human body.
‘They’ might be fucking right.
Well, at least if this last week is anything to go by.
I feel as though I have physically cut a limb off my body. And all I did was stop eating sweet stuff – which I didn’t think was such a serious problem in my life. Until I realised that that meant no chocolate or no hot chocolate or cake or well, sugar.
I've obviously added a sugar substitute to my diet – Xylitol to be exact. I still have a spoon of that in my morning coffee. I carry a tiny container of it with me wherever I go. That’s in case I get invited out for a coffee. I never do. Or at least, I haven’t in the last week. So I still get a little sweetness in that way.
I used to be able to flatten a bag of Chuckles like nobody’s business. And a slab of chocolate was like a red flag. I remember once wondering aloud (on Facebook) why Cadbury had even bothered with those re-sealing seals on their slabs. I still don’t see the point. But I would really, really like a block of chocolate tonight.
I've already had my mandatory whiskey for the night, but the kids are still awake and guess what? Moaning. That seems to be their only volume level at the moment. They don’t talk or ask or whisper – they moan. And moan. And moan. And I feel as though it is all directed at me, which of course, it is.
I will be standing with a hot grill pan in my hand straight from the oven and baby will wrap her arms around my legs and moan. For no reason other than wanting to be carried. Whilst I have two hands on two hot handles. How the fudge am I meant to do that?
And toddler, well, she told me to stop talking tonight and listen to her. She needed to tell me something. What, exactly, I don’t know, and nor does she, but she wanted me to shut up. I wanted to send her to bed without supper, but we can’t all get what we want, now can we?
And whether or not the two are related, I don’t know, but I gave up sugar in an effort to promote a healthier lifestyle to my daughters and have been growing more and more impatient by the day. I have been diagnosed with insulin resistance and need to watch the sweet stuff in any case. ADD, ADHD, Obesity… all linked to sugar. So I am taking one for the kids. Slowly but surely, I plan on weaning my entire family until sugar becomes nothing more than an occasional treat that makes us feel ill.
Spurred on by my decision, I researched some of the mood-altering effects sugar has on the body and I nearly shat myself. It’s a scary, scary thing and no one prints that on warning labels. It feeds cancers and promotes premature ageing. Let’s not even mention what it does to the waistline. It blocks the hormones that tell you that you’re full and allows you to eat more than you should, often of bad stuff. Oh, plus it’s hidden in almost everything you buy in stores and is as damaging to your liver as alcohol.
And I've always been a firm believer of ‘If you’re going to drink a Coke, drink the real deal and not the ‘light’ or ‘zero’ version.’ I still stand by that, actually. Now I have simply decided that it’s better not to do the Coke at all. Or at least, try not to. Although speaking about Coke now makes me really, really want a Coke. Shame, why should poor Coke be labelled as the baddy? Ready-made kiddies milk drinks often contain more sugar and colourant than our average cola does. But that’s aside the point.
The effect it’s had on me? Well, I haven’t lost weight, yet. I have not had more or less energy – I'm a mom for Pete’s sake and my kids don’t sleep well so I am exhausted most of the time no matter what. I haven’t slept better, which relates to the last point. But I have become a grumpy cow; which tells me the most. My body is giving up a fight and that’s frightening. If I had chosen to give up anything else I may well have felt less resistance, in fact, I am certain of that. I can feel the emotions of a physical withdrawal and I am seriously concerned that this may be what the newspaper has been reporting for years – it’s an addiction.
The fact that we, as a population, are consuming more than a hundred times the amount of sugar people a century ago consumed should make us all stop and think. Read food labels if you don't believe me, those sneaky manufacturers are putting it in EVERYTHING!
When I first told friends that I was cutting sugar out of my diet, I actually started crying. I feel pathetic admitting that now, but I really did. I wept at the thought of saying farewell for the foreseeable future to chocolate and ice cream and Coke. It’s winter and I shan't be enjoying any Milo or Horlicks. It will be weird.
I only wonder, for the sake of my family and me, how long the grumpiness lasts? ‘They’ say twenty-eight days is what it takes, so I will persevere and undoubtedly write more on the process. The more I seem to read on the topic, the more my mind simply spins into a blurry sugar-deprived haze. Hopefully the grumpiness is actually PMS and this has all been a massive misunderstanding between my gut and me.
Good news is, if I keep up the ‘sugarlessness,’ my gut will certainly be the loser.