Saturday 3 September 2016

September Challenge: Sugar Free!

I'm going sugar free! I'm not sure if I should end that with an exclamation point. I guess I have strong feelings about it. I'm scared! I think I have a genuine addiction to sugar. My sweet tooth doesn't quit. Seriously. You'll never hear me say, "Wow, that's too sweet to finish." When others are saying that, I'm usually licking the last few crumbs off my plate. Needless to say, I think this is a good challenge for me.

I had been thinking about trying to cut out a few things, like sweets, to help me get rid of some bad habits. Then, one day last week, I saw that the Canadian Cancer Society was hosting "Sugar Free September." I thought it was perfect timing, and provided me with some accountability. You sign up to take on the challenge of going sugar-free for 30 days to help raise funds for the Cancer Society. Sugar free means no cookies, candies, and sugar filled coffee. You see, our diets are filled with added sugar, which can lead to weight gain, which increases the risk of cancer.

So, how serious is this? Well, I don't have to avoid ALL sugar, just ADDED sugar. To do this, I have to read the ingredient lists. If it has sugar (glucose, sucrose, fructose, fake sugar) I can't have it. Healthy foods that contain sugar are fine. So, I can eat an apple, but I can't have an apple with caramel dip. The website helps you figure out what's in and out:

What's in?

  • Water
  • Tea and Coffee (no sugar added)
  • Sugar-free breakfast foods
  • homemade dressings
  • Fresh fruit, nuts and seeds
  • Plain or greek-style yogurt

What's out?
  • Baked goods, desserts, candies, sweets
  • Coffee or tea with sugar
  • Sugary condiments and savory sauces
  • Commercial, processed cereals
  • Sugary drinks

I decided to do this for my health and to raise a little money for one of my favourite charities. Honestly, I would really like to overcome my addiction to sugar. I've been trying to cut back for about a week, to get myself prepared. I avoided the baked goods in the staff room, which was tough. I have also been eating more fruit.

At this point, I'm on day 3 of being sugar free, and I have to say, it's tough! I have learned that everything has added sugar in it - even mayonnaise! If I get nothing else out of this, I have learned to look a little closer at the labels on food.

It's been hard to eat modified versions of some of my go-to foods. I typically have oatmeal for breakfast a few times a week, and it's hard to not add a little maple syrup, like I normally do. I tried blueberries one day and natural peanut butter the next, but it just wasn't the same. I think, by the end of the month, if I could eat oatmeal with just a few blueberries or a spoonful of peanut butter added to it, and I like it, I will call it a win. That will be my test.

Now, I need to go online and find some sugar free snack ideas... so I don't go and get a piece of chocolate from the kitchen!

If you want to give me a little encouragement, you can sponsor my attempt to go sugar free in September! Or, better still, JOIN me!! Try going sugar free and let me know what you learn from the experience.

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