Thursday, July 6, 2017

Living sugar-free

…or the importance of being earnest

 


Sugar is sweet. It even sounds cute! It’s innocence is questioned regularly though.
I always knew that since my mom explained to me that refined sugar is not a salutary crystal, and my body not it‘s den. But when it came down to loyalty, I was always there for sugar. How could I ignore a brownie right next to my cup of coffee! Why would I turn down a perfect looking piece of cake at a friend’s birthday party?! It would have been abnormal. Ignorant. Here I was, privileged enough to enjoy the food I love and all I was supposed to do was rejecting the perfect moment of satisfaction and thrill? No way, baby!
Until I came across a few reports here and there. About the impact of sugar on the body. The ugly truth that I managed to swallow down with every piece of chocolate all my life. I started reading about sugar addiction- which I didn’t even know was a thing-  and experiences of people who finally got off the hook.
And as with every seed of truth that is planted, it took me a while to let the understanding grow.
Until my brain couldn’t deny anymore, what my heart already knew: I had to break up with sugar.
Yes, sugar was in my life for such a long time, that I couldn’t even remember why! The thrill was gone after many years. What put me in a state of pure joy as a child, now only lasted for a few seconds until a bad conscience destroyed the bliss.
For someone who deals with severe skin problems like psoriasis since early childhood, facing the sugar addiction came shamefully late in my life. All these years, I was looking for treatments and relief for my skin. Tried every possible method to reduce the red spots and itchiness that reminded me every day of having this problem. And yet, my diet was not even in the focus. Not in mine and not a priority in all the talks I had with doctors. Reducing the intake of milk, avoiding alcohol, or drinking disgusting looking mixtures of herbal drinks were part of trying to force an improvement. Aside from countless ointments and creams that didn't help.
But I cannot recall that the word SUGAR even came up once. Maybe because there are worse things to keep an eye on when it comes to health issues. Or maybe it is still not enough in our conscience that this pure looking monster is basically everywhere, when that alone should arouse our concern. But the fact is, that my very own experience of reducing the intake of sugar, has taught me to listen to my body before anything else.
What it told me, was clear and logical. Within the first few months of a strict sugar-free diet, my skin started clearing up as if I had found a new balm that finally did it’s job well. But I hadn’t used a different product. I'm far from being cured, but in a much better place than before.
My insomnia was almost gone. As the lightest sleeper the world had ever seen, I could sleep next to a marching band now and wouldn’t even blink. The dark circles under my eyes that used to make me look like a sad panda at times, lightened up. 
The weight loss I’ve experienced wasn’t turning me into a skinny model, but I lost a few pounds with a surprising lightness and ease. Without any extreme diets, workouts or other distressing methods.
It was like magic. Only that I know it was actually common sense that brought me there.
Sugar contains no essential nutrients like vitamins or proteins. It is- as we all know- bad for our teeth, so how could we expect it to not have a negative impact on the rest of your body?

Homemade pastries sweetened with coconut sugar, date sugar, xylotol, or other natural substitutes, have become one of my favorite treats.


Too much sugar overwhelms our liver and can cause an insulin resistance. It can affect hormones and the brain, and is highly addictive. What shocked me most of all, is that it apparently feeds cancer cells which lets the disease thrive on.
All of this information is publicly available and difficult to avoid in times of the internet and many credible sources. So it sure is not my opinion that should worry you, but my shared personal experience that is hopefully an incentive to inform yourself as well.
After almost one year of a sugar-free diet, I am living on a 'reduced-sugar plan'. Once in a while I have a piece of chocolate, some ice cream in summer, or a cookie. The occasional cake at a birthday party is still enjoyed. But the carefree and endless intake of refined sugar daily, is a thing of the past. A piece of fruit tastes sweeter and one piece of chocolate is to me now, what an entire box was before.
I’ve come to peace with sugar. We’re cool now. And one has to be honest; it isn’t possible to avoid it completely. There are sugars everywhere. They look different, they have different names. But they’re there.
Carbohydrates for example. Fructose. The occasional glass of wine...

The bottom line is, to enjoy things moderately. As with everything that can be taken to extremes, we can choose the other way. The intake of sugar can be regulated and the risks reduced. No fancy food trends or diets have to be guidelines to a better understanding of what we all should know: Our body knows best.
'There is more wisdom in your body than in your deepest philosophy.'  - Friedrich Nietzsche



As a regular treat, I enjoy a bowl of Greek yogurt, either with blue berries, or pomegranate seeds. As a sweetener, I take coconut sugar, or occasionally honey.
Fruit in moderation is the best alternative to me, when the munchies kick in.


blueberries contain fructose and glucose as well as fibre. It is often said that they have one of the highest antioxidant capacities among fruits. A perfect dessert. 

5 comments:

  1. Well said! Reading your blog post I realised that I am not the only one struggling with sugar. I do love sweets! When I was going to get married , I wanted to lose some weight for my special day. Sensibly, I went to a dietician.She told me that I am allowed a piece of sweet every week if possibly not chocolate because is highly addictive. She said better to prefer white sweets. However,she pointed out that eating bitter dark chocolate ( without sugar) is a much better dessert and highly antioxidant!To make the long story short, reducing at that time my sugar intake, and eating more healthy I noticed the changes that you mentioned above, though I lost a lot of weight but after that....I slowly turned back to my old ways and since then I struggle with sweets. I try to eat organic and local based. I have a vegetable garden that makes the difference and my parents own olive trees and I am richly supplied with olive oil. I would suggest with your butter intake to add more often olive oil especially in salads, you will see the difference! Also, another thing I would like to mention is honey. Honey as animal butter and olive oil has been 'written' in our DNA because our ancestors were using them, so our body recognises them and it is well metabolised and if used in the right quantities you are not going to take any kilos. Back to honey! I think honey is the healthier choice out of all sugars because I think is least processed. It can heal many shores and pains due to its antibacterial properties. However, when you buy honey you have to make sure of two things first to be organically based because of the use of pesticides ( Yes! even there!-there is a moth that eats the eggs of the bees, it gets in the bee hive and make a lot of damage so most bee producers use pesticides to kill this moth! However, there are natural remedies that can work equally good and kill the moths!) How do I know all these?! My first cousin is a bee keeper that grows organic honey and I buy lots from him! So, what most producers do; after using pesticides, they don't wait at the appropriate time to harvest honey...So, we end up eating cancerous honey! Another point that you have to be aware is that, most honeys that you find in the supermarkets are dilute with glucose syrup! How to identify mock honey with real?! In winter time when the weather is colder real honey becomes thicker! As simple as that! Bottom line , I would like to thank you for your u-tube videos and blog posts because in some common issues as the above, you really give me strength to continue my own battles! Keep up the good work! Hope my bubbling was useful enough for you!

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    1. In regard to the honey, you should also get honey that is raw or unpasteurized. You want the bacteria and enzymes that thrive naturally in the honey and are killed or destroyed by the pasteurization process. These are an important piece of what makes the honey work with the human body.

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  2. Thank you so much for this wonderful and informative comment. Although I use organic honey, I didn't know about the circumstances you've described. It's so helpful to find out about all this and certainly explains a lot. Also, I love to use olive oil a lot. Couldn't agree more with you and thanks again! ♥♥

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  3. Congrats to you. I too cut back on my sugar, and it was a major difference (I sweeten with raw sugar, honey, or maple syrup)...but in the course of cutting back came to realize just how sugar filled a lot of food is here in the US.

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    1. Thank you! And same here in Europe... wherever you look there is sugar in products. :)

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