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Thread: I gave up sugar..

  1. #1
    paradise lost Guest

    Default I gave up sugar..

    We gave up sugar for lent. We're not actually very religious, but we both love a challenge and decided this would be worth a go.

    So obviously Lent began 2 weeks ago, and so i thought i'd witter in case anyone was interested.

    Firstly, what we mean by sugar (and yes, i know there's "sugars" in lots of things, so these are the "rules" we decided on beforehand). All confectionary, sugar added to anything for flavour in any quantity (3% is my limit, so some crisps are ok, others not), baked goods containing sugar, anything made with sugar in the process in serious quatities (i.e. no jam or marmalade but i still make bread with 1tsp of sugar to activate and feed the yeast), no full-sugar fizzy drinks, hot chocolates or flavoured syrups in coffee (*sobs* goodbye vanilla latte!).

    The first week i had terrible headaches. I was expecting to have them for a day or two (thanks for the warning Sushee) but i also thought they'd go after that. When they didn't i looked at my diet (fine and varied, and including some fruits) my hydration (normal) and then other culprits. I came irn bru. This is a fizzy drink sold mainly in scotland and magaluf (where scots holiday), in its diet form. I kind of knew, somewhere in my head, that xylitol, aspartame etc. weren't so good for me, and that they mimicked a normal sugar injestion in the blood glucose levels, but i never thought about it too much. We have diet Irn Bru in the house because DP enjoys it and since i drink it regularly enough i didn't suspect it at first. Then i didn't have it for a day = no headache. The next day i waited, headache free, until 1pm and then drank a can. 3pm bang on WHAM, splitting headache. Since then i have avoided all artificial sweeteners and have been headache free.

    Basically when you eat something high in sugar your blood glucose spikes and then settles suddenly back to normal or below-normal levels (which is why if you have a bar of chocolate at 3pm you often feel shaky and starving when making dinner at 5.30pm, because you've "run out" of blood sugar and your levels have taken a nosedive). Anyway, the artificial sweeteners do pretty much the same thing, with one critical difference - you havent' EATEN any sugar, so you crash harder and sooner (which is why you might have a good lunch with a diet beverage and feel all angelic at 1pm only to find that by 3pm you're desperate for a bar of chocolate...), hence my headaches. If i am honest i am rather terrified by the effect - how many calories have i eaten in response to that first inkling of a headache? How much sugar have i eaten because i like sugar and how much in direct response to the blood-glucose-havoc the artificial stuff has caused? How much of my previous daily intake was "medication" to counter the effects of the dropping levels caused by a diet drink or sweet? Interestingly DP isn't suffering from this effect at all, so it's not universally so bad.

    Last time i did a lent like this i gave up chocolate and the omission of just chocolate was SO SO hard. I ate all other kinds of candy and i craved chocolate like mad. THis time i am barely craving at all. Not true, i'm NOT craving. I think "oh, a hot chocolate or vanilla latte would be nice" but that's it, there's no knawing compulsion or longing to get one, it's just an intellectual thought.

    So far i don't think i've lost weight, though my scales are officially useless and i'm not bothering looking for a decent set. I'm doing it until Easter anyway, so if i gain weight i'll just need to deal with it later! I notice i am eating fats quite often where normally i'd have sugar, but i also notice that while one can eat a bar of chocolate and then an hour later another one, that just doesn't work with fats. They take so much longer to break down i don't feel hungry for a long time, it's much harder to gorge on fats than sugars for me. I can certainly taste my food better too, fruit tastes SOOOOO good to me! Dried apricots are like morsels of ambrosia (food of gods, not factory-farmed rice pudding!).

    So anyway, that's me so far. I admit i'm dreading Easter in some ways. DP is already planning the ostrich-sized easter egg he wants to get us, but i actually think a small bar of green and blacks 70% cocoa sounds lovely. I'm not very good at moderation where sugar is concerned, and good intentions soon fly out of the window with the chocolate wrappers and cake forks! Not having sugar feels good, but will i seriously give it up forever?

    I will also say that you cannot keep Bec from Cake, no matter what. If anyone wants my sugar-free, artificial sweetener-free banana bread or muffins recipe, just give me a shout.


  2. #2

    Join Date
    Dec 2007


    Good work!!
    sounds like it is working for you and it doesnt seem too hard after the first few days? I don't actually eat much sugar - but if there is chocolate in the house, it doesn't last I have banned myself from buying them now lol

    And yes, hand over the recipes woman!!

    Keep us updated - how long to go 3 weeks?

  3. #3
    paradise lost Guest


    Um...April 12th i think is Easter Sunday. So 4 weeks and 5 days (i had to look that up in the calendar - i'm not counting down at all).

    Banana bread/muffin recipe is:
    2 cups self raising flour (if using plain flour add 1 tsp baking soda)
    0.5 cup of vegetable oil
    0.25 cup pineapple juice (unsweetened)
    0.5 tsp (teaspoon) salt
    1 beaten egg
    2 bananas, mashed (the riper the better)
    2 small sweet eating apples, peeled and grated
    1 ripe pear, peeled and grated
    0.5 cup of raisins
    handful of dessicated coconut
    1 tsp vanilla essence
    1 tsp cinnamon

    One could also add nuts if one wanted.

    Mix liquid ingredients together, add fruit and coconut and stir well, sift in flour, cinnamon and salt until a thickish batter is achieved. Pour into greased loaf tin or muffin cups and put into the upper part of an oven preheated to 350F. A loaf takes about an hour, give or take and muffins about 50mins - stick a skewer in to check if it's baked right. If it comes out clean you're there.


  4. #4

    Join Date
    Sep 2008


    Hoobley! I don't think I could ever give up sugar to the extent you have.

    I am Catholic, and for Lent I have given up lollies, choc, biscuits and cake. I am a sweet tooth to the max, so this has been extremely difficult for me

    I was getting quite a few headaches last week, and thought perhaps I'd done my hair too tight, as I was drinking lots of water, and eating plenty of fruit etc. Never did i make the connection with the no sugar. I guess you really do learn something new everyday.

    Interesting you said you have been reaching for fatty foods, I too reach for the savoury chips and nuts. I guess old habits die hard! And generally I dont lose any weight during Lent for this very reason

    Anyway, keep up with the good work, we can stay strong until Easter.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, Australia


    Yup artificial sweetener is a huge cause of headaches... did it to me too. I will never have it again, so bad for you. I am trying to replace sugar in my tea with honey, its my only vice. I have replaced cows milk with rice milk which is ok. I'm doing some pre-detox detoxing! Apparently there is a Rooibos tea which tastes like black tea but fine on detox. I know I will feel better but ah... gotta get thru the withdrawls!!!
    Kelly xx

    Creator of, doula, writer and mother of three amazing children

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  6. #6
    paradise lost Guest


    Manhattan i SERIOUSLY struggled with just some sugary things. It's as if only giving up some things makes you crave it more, but when you give it all up your body's levels all return to normal and you feel fine again. There is a lot of Type 2 diabetes in my family so i know i need to be careful, perhaps this is going to be a start of a more sugar-free life for me!

    I just had toast for breakfast, once slice with butter and one with peanut butter and sugarfee (no artificial sweeteners) jam. Mmmm! My sugarless coffee now tastes totally normal too. I am chuffed with my progress. I knew i would be able to do it (lent i mean) because i'm very strong willed and once i decide something that's it, it's decided, but i never realised it could feel EASY!


  7. #7
    paradise lost Guest


    I am now chuffed with myself as i just made muffins (with the above recipe except i put blueberries in as well) and hot cross buns, all sugarfree! I was thinking "oh no!" when i remembered you have to glaze the hot cross buns on top, then i hit on the idea of squeezing an orange and microwaved the juice to reduce it - nice and sticky and no added sugar


  8. #8

    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Forestville NSW


    This is something I've played with a lot around here, but we have a HUGE problem. My girls react to fruit... more than a whole apple is too much to them in a day. We can only have pears, apples and mangos for Matilda as any other fruit causes runs and behavioural issues, for JJ we can have more fruits but bananas and pears cause the explosive runs. So I'd have to bake with 2 apples or 1 apple and 1/2 a mango.... and that scares me

  9. #9
    paradise lost Guest


    But if you put all of that into a mix that makes 12 muffins and give them one muffin they're only getting one 12th of it - i bet you could mess with the amounts so that a muffin wouldn't make them feel ill or give them behavioural issues and they would still be able to have fresh fruit too, kwim? Or you could even make mini-muffins with it to make it even less that they were getting?


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