I started this detox on a whim, with no specific strategy, other than the determination to be free of sugar’s addictive hold on my body. Four days in and several Google searches later, I am beginning to see that there are countless ways to approach a sugar detox. Today, I began researching just which route I plan to take.
So far- with the exception of fruit, which I understand is off limits to many during a sugar detox- I have successfully avoided all forms of sweeteners, including natural ones (except for trace amounts of organic honey). I am proud of how I have resisted temptation when it has stared me in the face; I have had direct contact with M&M’s, ice cream, cookies and birthday cake without giving in one, tiny bit. Each time, my resolve has grown stronger.
Not Just a Sugar Detox
As I mentioned before, it is not only sugar I have cleared from my palate during this detox; I have also been abstaining from dairy and refined flour products, as well as limiting my portions of whole grains. I am beginning to feel the difference between toxic hunger (cravings for those restricted items) and true hunger.
I am realizing how readily and easily I consumed sugar, how often I mindlessly grabbed snacks- with any or all of the aforementioned foods- throughout the day. Now, I am forced to be mindful of every bite I take, not because I am counting calories, but because I am counting content. What is in the food I am reaching for? Does it have added sugar, dairy, or refined flour? So much of what we have in our pantry and refrigerator is inaccessible to me now, and I thought we had been eating fairly healthy.
How Much Sugar Is Okay?
I am painfully aware, as I carefully choose my own meals, of how much sugar my children are consuming on a daily basis. It is alarming to me. They are well above the daily recommended amount of sugar.
For those who are unfamiliar, let me take a moment to share with you the recommended daily dosage of added sugar for both adults and children, compared to the actual amount we are consuming on a daily basis. I borrowed this chart from MDhealth.com.
Daily Sugar Intake from American Heart Association
|Group||Calorie of added sugar||Sugar intake(g)||Sugar intake(teaspoon)|
|Children ages 4-8||12||3|
Let me give you a few examples of the “hidden” sugar we have here at our house:
- Heinz Ketchup- 4 grams (per 2 tbsp)
- Frosted Mini Wheats- 11 g (per 21 biscuits) *Our children will eat three bowls for breakfast, already maxing out their sugar for the day.
- Hunt’s Snack Pack pudding cup- 14 grams (per cup)
- Jif Natural Peanut Butter- 3 grams (per 2 tbsp)
- Kirkland Multigrain 100% Whole Grain bread- 4 grams (per slice, so 8 grams per sandwich)
- Ocean Spray Craisins- 29 grams (per 1/4 C) vs Sun-Maid Organic Raisins- 29 grams (per 1/4 C) *Raisins have no added sugar, but Craisins do (think how tart a cranberry is naturally).
- Nutella- 21 grams (per 2 tbsp) *1st ingredient: sugar
It doesn’t take much to eat or drink your way past the recommended amount of sugar, even by the end of breakfast. In our home, we only serve milk with breakfast cereal or oatmeal, or in baked goods or soups. We drink water (or hot tea) throughout the day, except on special occasions. Fruit juices, sodas, and the like will take you over the top in one serving. (One 12-ounce can of Coke has 39 grams of sugar).
What I am saying is, read your labels. Be aware of what you are consuming. Look at the ratio of sugar to serving size. Mini Wheats are 1/5 sugar per serving, and that’s pretty “healthy” as far as sugar cereals go.
What I Ate Today
For those wondering how I survived without sugar today, here is what I ate:
- Breakfast: Grape Nuts with apple slices, cinnamon, and unsweetened almond milk, warmed in microwave (this was not very appetizing).
- Snack: two scrambled eggs
- Lunch: salad with 1 ounce of organic chicken breast (I roasted two chickens this morning), spinach, romaine, cherry tomatoes, red pepper, red onion, black beans, and cucumber, drizzled with a lime/olive oil/black pepper dressing (this was really good). Also, a piece of sprouted grain toast with organic butter.
- Snack: handful of almonds and an apple
- Dinner: leftover chicken and vegetables (again!), 1/2 baked potato with butter and s&p, homemade applesauce. *I bought a huge bag of Yellow Transparent apples from our church farmer’s market yesterday, and used this recipe (less water) to make applesauce. Yum!
- Before Bed: hard boiled egg, plum, walnuts (I was soooo hungry, but these did the trick.)
How will you be more mindful about your food choices this week? Will you start reading labels and counting sugar grams?
(Featured Photo Credit: http://www.praxis-stratmann.de/der-zuckergehalt-von-coca-cola.html)