Well, ending the sugar free challenge on Halloween was definitely not one of my smartest ideas. This post should actually be called ‘The Sugar High’ or ‘The Sugar Crash’ rather.
Let’s not dwell on the sugar binge that occurred last night (candies, pizza and beer) and again this morning (pancakes and maple syrup for breakfast)… Here is a glimpse on my final week of The Sugar Free Challenge and my general conclusions from the whole experience.
Week 3, sugar free
Aside from Tuesday when Dan marinated Salmon with a winning, sugar-filled combination of brown sugar and soy sauce (eye roll!!), I stuck to the sugar free diet for the final week of the challenge.
I stuck with easy snacks that required little preparation – nuts, almond butter on rice cakes and fruit. Lunches involved homemade soup, salad or leftovers from dinner.
My favourite meal of the day is breakfast though and this Portobello mushroom and egg combo was by far the winning meal of the week. It’s one of those meals that seem like a treat even though it is full of healthy ingredients. And when you’re cutting back on treats… a meal like this definitely helps.
I was able to resist the bake sale at work and just barely made it through the week. Knowing the end of the challenge was near and also having slipped up pretty majorly on Tuesday, my motivation to finish the sugar free week was dragging.
It’s not that I was craving sugar so badly that I couldn’t wait to eat it again… I just found that restricting my diet for so long was really starting to wear down my drive. It wasn’t enjoyable anymore.
This brings me into my conclusions of the sugar free lifestyle…
I have admitted to you that I have a coffee addiction. I love coffee – the flavour, the pick-me-up and how productive I am with a coffee at my side. I didn’t intentionally cut back on coffee during The Sugar Free Challenge but it just sort of happened.
Eating complex foods with no refined sugar, I really noticed a difference in having consistent energy levels throughout the day. I didn’t need coffee at 3PM like I often felt I did.
This was the most rewarding part of the challenge and I didn’t notice it until the last week of the challenge.
I could do without this. As I’m sure everyone will agree… it is tough preparing EVERYTHING from meals to snacks to meals again with no pre-made substitutes and little time in between work, life and keeping active. It was fun at first, but difficult to keep up.
When you’re spending an hour and a half trying to make homemade sugar free BBQ sauce, when you could have just bought bottled BBQ sauce straight off the shelf, it is a little frustrating.
Will I keep up the effort?
I will definitely keep up the effort of avoiding refined sugar as much as possible, but being so strict with it doesn’t feel sustainable for me. I plan to keep refined sugar out of my diet in all homemade foods but I don’t plan to worry about it so much outside of that.
Learning about how much sugar is in everything over the past few weeks will help me regulate my intake going forward. I definitely want to try and stay within the recommended max of 5-9 tsp of sugar a day going forward. But hey, everyone has good days and bad days right? I don’t want a bad day in the sugar category make me feel like I failed, so I will be conscious of it but not so strict that it negatively impacts my mood or enjoyment of keeping a well balanced diet.