Quitting Sugar, Week 2

Well, the second week is over and I’m (mostly) none the worse for wear. I’m definitely relying on the extra-dark chocolate to keep me sane, but it has become pretty easy to limit myself to a small amount and only once per day. Whenever I start to feel bad about making that exception, I remind myself that refined sugar is the enemy, not cacao! And anyway, I don’t want ever want to get to a place where, because I’ve limited myself SO much, one bite of sugar sends 5 pounds-a-packing onto my hips. No thank you.

This week was less emotional than last, but some of my initial zeal has worn off and is being replaced by the occasional bout of apathy. I think I secretly believed all my problems would be cured instantly, miraculously, once I started doing this, but the changes are much more subtle – a little more energy during the day, a little less bloating after meals, a bit more self-confidence, a few less cravings. It will be interesting to see what happens as the month goes on.

That being said, welcome to Week 2!

Day 8

I’m feeling pretty frustrated today. I’m not seeing the instant, obvious changes in my body that I was (foolishly) hoping for, and my fingers are itching to bake something. I know I’m going to the farmer’s market later today and will be tempted by tons of gluten free goodies, and I’m annoyed that I can’t just have whatever I want. But I go there every week so it hardly counts as a special occasion.

I had a great workout in the morning and a nutritious lunch (big microgreen salad + smoked trout, avocado, and homemade hot sauce on toast) before making my way to the market. I stocked up on tons of organic local produce, which always puts me in a good mood, but was really annoyed that I couldn’t justify buying a brownie. Then we got to the coconut milk ice cream stand, and between the hot weather and watching my friend indulge, I caved and bought some mulberry-lavendar ice cream. It was ah-mazing, but surprisingly a little too sweet. I think my tastebuds are starting to change a little? I also sampled some dark chocolate at the market, and had a pretty large portion of dark chocolate at home. So much for self control.

Day 9

Today was a day of temptation, and I’m really proud of myself for sticking to my guns, particularly after last night’s debacle. I was going out for a few hours to get my hair done so I started the day off with a green smoothie and packed an apple for a midday snack. The neighbourhood around my salon is jam-packed with some of my favourite indulgences, so I mentally steeled myself for a tough few hours. The best coffee shop in the city is right next door (Ideal Coffee) and they make a pretty fantastic gluten free muffin with walnuts and dried fruit. Normally I would grab a muffin and a coffee while waiting for my hair appointment, but oddly enough, I found I didn’t even really want a muffin. It would have been nice, sure, but since I felt no strong desire for it, I just walked right on by. There is power in association, and I had a feeling if I sat down for that coffee, I would start to crave its usual accompaniment. Another day, perhaps, I can start to create new associations there.

A few doors down from Ideal is the organic fruit + nut shop I used to work at, Pestacio. I would normally buy some chocolate covered-anything-and-everything, but knowing how high in sugar it all is (and how difficult it is to just eat a few), I didn’t even sample. The tough moment came when the salesperson announced they had just introduced some dairy free getalo to the store, and if you know me, you will know that gelato is my kryptonite. I debated buying some for quite a while, but in the end, willpower won out, and I left the store and ate my apple with a handful of roasted macadamia nuts instead. Dinner was more corn chowder, and then I had a small piece of dark chocolate afterwards and some blueberries for a late night snack.

Day 10

Today was pretty amazing! I had a great workout in the morning and made the best omelette afterwards with freshly foraged chanterelles, sea asparagus, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, and goat cheddar, along with some avocado toast. I felt super energized all day and barely craved sweets at all. For dinner I had some raw lasagna (recipe forthcoming) and a big salad, and a pear for a snack. NO dessert, not even dark chocolate!


Later in the evening we went to a comedy club, and since I had eaten dinner quite early and it had been a fairly light meal, I started to get really hungry. Of course, the menu choices were abysmal, and the only thing that didn’t contain gluten or meat was french fries… which I devoured. About an hour later I had the worst stomach ache and felt really bloated, well into the next day. So, to reiterate to myself… avoid fried foods! Yuck.

Day 11

I think I deserve a medal. I went to an Italian wedding today and did not overindulge. It sounds impossible, right?

I started the day off feeling pretty annoyed with myself. Yesterday was such a good day for avoiding all sweets, but then I ruined it with french fries at the club, leaving me feeling sick and bloated this morning. After a few minutes of wallowing in self pity I decided to just get over it – I had no way of knowing the fries would make me feel ill, and there really was nothing else to eat.

After recovering my spirits I went outside for a great sweat session. I had made friends with some people at the gym the day before and they invited me to work out with them in the park, and I’m so glad I did! I was a little intimidated at first – I know I’m pretty fit these days, but I only ever compete with myself, having developed an aversion to anything even resembling team sports while growing up. Would you believe I almost failed gym class, multiple times?

Well, they say that life begins at the edge of your comfort zone, and that is where I pushed myself. And it was awesome. We completed a killer circuit training workout (in 30+ degrees, no less) and then did the Beep Test – twice! I left drenched in sweat, muscles trembling, and feeling incredible. Did I mention I lasted the longest in the Beep Test even though it was my first time? I guess all that running is paying off!

Afterwards I made myself a light lunch and got ready for the wedding, thoroughly dreading the plethora of temptation that awaited me but resigned to the reality that I would probably indulge (and that’s okay). Knowing that dinner would be in multiple courses I mostly ignored the antipasto, having just some cheese and olives to tide me over. The starter was a gf pasta in tomato sauce, but again, I just had a little so I wouldn’t be full for the main course. This is probably the first time in my life where that instinct steered me wrong!

The main course was what I imagine to be a meat eater’s interpretation of vegetarian food – grilled veggies. Stacked. In a tower.

Needless to say I was regretting forsaking all that seafood at the beginning, but I’d rather be a little hungry than overly stuffed anyway, and there was still dessert to contend with. After dinner they brought out some hazelnut ice cream, which I did eat, but oddly enough didn’t feel any particular fondness for.

I did drink a little as well, but just gin with club soda and lime (okay, and a couple of shots).

All in all, I would call it a successful wedding experience.

Day 12

I woke up in a good mood and happy to not be feeling the after-effects of a big wedding. I made Conor and I some (savoury, not sweet) buckwheat waffles with eggs and avocado for breakfast and that kept us pretty full until dinner, though I did have a piece of fruit and dark chocolate in between.

Dinner was equally delicious – I baked some whitefish with fresh herbs, garlic, and olives, and made a greek lentil salad which we turned into lettuce wraps. Recipe to follow, since they were killer!

After dinner I made some banana ‘ice cream’ and immediately felt bloated and awful. I know that because we digest fruit much more quickly than other foods, we should only eat it several hours after a meal (or some time before one), so failing to adhere to that rule could have been the problem, but I’m also wondering if bananas simply disagree with me. I’m really not sure at this point, but I felt pretty down on myself the whole night.

Day 13

When I woke up today all my tummy woes from the night before had disappeared, so perhaps it was just an issue of poorly timed fruit consumption. I did a crazy good leg workout and then Conor and I met up with some friends at one of my favourite veggie restaurants, Fresh. I had a green juice and a big salad topped with quinoa, chickpeas, nuts, and avocado. Very satisfying. I really wanted a brownie afterwards but managed to resist, and then I spent the rest of the afternoon shopping the sale racks, forgetting all about brownies, sugar, and cravings.

Dinner was more of the greek lentil salad wraps and a sea vegetable and mushroom omelette. Our apartment is still sweltering, so of course I wanted gelato immediately after dinner, but I waited and instead had some grapefruit and macadamia nuts later in the evening. I don’t know if my taste buds are becoming more sensitive to sugar, or it was simply a really good grapefruit, but it tasted absolutely incredible! It was like I had never eaten a grapefruit before, I couldn’t believe how satisfying it was. New favourite ‘dessert?’ I think so!

Day 14

I had a smoothie before work today like usual and ended up feeling really bloated and nauseous. I’m definitely starting to contemplate cutting bananas for a while and seeing what happens, but I’m not quite ready to make the jump. I wonder if I’m just more sensitive to the fruit sugars now? 

Lunch was salad with lentils, after which I had a mega sugar craving, but I was smart enough not to bring anything sweet with me to work. I used to always bring a “just-in-case” dessert, which of course always got eaten, but have stopped bringing sweets altogether. Out of sight, out of mind, right? I also managed to ignore the granola bars (aka candy bars) we keep stocked in the office.

I got home a bit late so I just pulled some minestrone out of the freezer and had that with some hummus and veggies. I always want something sweet and cold after soup and would have totally been satisfied with another grapefruit afterwards, but the fridge was pretty bare, so I had a piece of dark chocolate and called it a night.


Stay tuned for Week 3!

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