When I decided to quit sugar as a personal salute to the celebrities on Sugar Free Farm, I was nervous. Sugar and I had been through a lot together. Some blissful times, but mostly bad, bad shameful times. Times I don’t want to think about.
So of course, my first week off sugar was difficult, filled with headaches, fatigue and discombobulation.
But there were positives!
Meals lasted longer in my system and I became less hungry. I even lost some weight, which, as I mentioned, is the best thing that can happen to someone, especially if that someone is me.
Of course, there were temptations everywhere…
“That’s all well and good,” you might be saying to yourself. “But how did you do it? What did you have to eat? What did you have to give up? How much did you cry?”
Well, like any lifestyle change, there was a great deal of crying, especially at the beginning. But then I hit my stride and the meal adjustments became easier.
Here’s my general day-to-day meal breakdown…
Breakfast: I gave breakfast cereal a break – and fast
I love Raisin Bran. I won’t apologise for it and I won’t call it Sultana Bran. I just won’t. I also love Cinnamon Toast Crunch. But that’s a very different, very sad, very lonely story for another time.
Those cereals and most others have a lot of sugar. Just look at this stuff:
So I switched to oatmeal made with whole milk, home-made apple sauce and cinnamon.
After not eating fruit or sugar for a week, this combination tasted plenty sweet for me. Plenty sweet.
When I had more time, I ate eggs. This is the best thing about going sugar free. God help me I love eggs, especially when they come as a centrepiece to one of those big breakfasts with sausage and bacon and spinach. I dump a bunch of Tabasco all over the place and just go to town.
Lunch: So long sandwiches! Hello, leftovers!
I’m not a big “lunch guy”, especially during week. The work I do is important (EXTREMELY important) and I don’t have three hours to make a salad or cook a three course meal on the office mini-grill (I’ve seen people do this).
I’m also not masochistic enough to order a salad without dressing (almost all dressing will have sugar). So I made large quantities of food for dinner and then brought in portions for lunch. Mostly meatballs and brown rice, which I forgot to photograph.
That's part of my "not a big lunch guy" thing - I don't take pictures of my lunch.
Dinner: Cloudy with a 100% chance of meatballs and chicken and steak and fish and salad
Dinner has always been an issue for me. By the time I get home, I am hungrier than a Christmas hippo (that’s a new expression that everyone’s using) and I will generally stuff my face until everything goes quiet and dark.
But I stopped having this:
And started having this:
Luckily, I found there are lots of sugar free dinner options. They take a little longer to make, but the Internet is full of satisfying recipes and I found certain cookbooks to be very helpful.
Thank you, Pete Evans and Gwyneth Paltrow. You’ve shown me how to remove the sweetness from my diet, but not from my heart.
Snacks: Fruit (after the first week) and that’s pretty much it because I hate nuts
For me, there aren’t a lot of options for snacks. Yes, there are lots of sugar free snacks out there that you can make, but almost all of them look like a monster movie. But it didn’t really matter because after not eating sugar, my taste buds adjusted and suddenly fruit became incredibly sweet.
I also sometimes ate sourdough bread and cheese. You’re probably thinking: “Sourdough bread? That sounds like bread.” But here’s the thing: It is bread! Which is bad. But it’s not processed and it doesn’t have any sugar, which is good. But it comes in white, which is bad. But it also comes in whole wheat, which is good. It’s extremely complicated and I’m still not sure what the verdict is, but I enjoyed it.
Plus, I wasn’t really that hungry most of the time. The stuff I was eating filled me up for extended periods of time and I didn’t even think about food outside of those meals.
Alcohol: I drank pints of vanilla extract!
Just kidding, you guys. No alcohol during the sugar detox. That was a test.
Visit The Guide next week for the final instalment of Nick’s Sugar Freedom Diary: How to live your life and be social without sugar.
And for incredibly insightful, up-to-the-minute complaining updates on my progress, follow me on Twitter.
Missed the latest episode? Watch it right here: