my name is katie, and i am addicted to sugar. most of us are. if you eat anything pre-packaged, bottled or preserved, you’re eating refined sugar. low fat? full of sugar. glucose-free? high in sugar. it’s everywhere. consuming consistently high levels of sugary foods can cause teeth decay and cavities, diabetes, liver failure, kidney failure, high blood pressure, heart disease and gout, but most immediately, it can cause weight gain. i’ve packed on a couple of extra safety tyres around the mid-section (and upper chesticle section, legs section, jawline section and even calves section), and after 4 weeks of no sugar for the FebFast charity, i noticed an immediate change in my body…. and promptly started eating chocolate freddos and magnums as soon as it was over: leading to another immediate change in my body. so i’ve recently started the reverse sugar kick (get it?! haha) through the ‘i quit sugar’ program. i thought i’d take you on my little journey.
see, i have a confession to make. i really can’t stand salad, or lettuce/lettuce derivatives of any kind. despite this, i’m actually pretty good when it comes to eating healthy. i don’t go for the fatty or the fried, the massive portions or the cheap and nasty. my problem is i tend to need a dessert after every meal, i dine out a lot, and i have a tendency to sit when i could run. i hate restrictive food programs, mainly because i’m the worst person for diets, ever. find me a diet that doesn’t involve lots of lettuce or spincach, bland grains and raw veggies and i might consider it. i’ve only been eating meat regularly for about five years, and as such i can only really stomach it (haha again) on a ‘week on, week off’ basis. i’m newish to salmon. i hate food that has to stay in my mouth for a long time. and if it comes to me needing to be de-boned, gnawed, or cut into tiny tiny pieces, i’m out. despite this, i’m actually not a fussy eater and will pretty much try anything.
which brings me to my first day with no sugar, and my first lunch with no sugar. i decided that i would ignore my entire food history and jump right in with the recommended meal: a grated salad. yummy. here is a picture of said grated salad, in all it’s grated glory.
you will note the lovely ‘rainbow-like’ quality of the foods, which include raw cauliflower, asparagus, carrot and cucumber, along with some spinach, mint and coriander chopped up, a tiny piece of thinly sliced uncooked haloumi (contraban), chia seeds, some shredded chicken, half a handful of pomegrante bits (also contraban) and four strawberries. what have i learnt in the last ten minutes of my new healthy lunch?
- i hate cauliflower. especially raw cauliflower.
- i still hate cucumber and raw carrot.
- spinach goes really slimy and tastes like poo when it’s been in a salad overnight.
- haloumi tastes much better, and has a better consistency that doesn’t bring thoughts of slimy sour milk to the forefront of your mind, when you a) fry it and b) don’t shove it in a salad with other slimy sour tasting things overnight
- my strawberries were probably a little too soft and i needed at least a whole packet of super sour, tastebud-numbing pomegranate seeds
- everything does not taste like chicken. my chicken tastes like wet cauliflower
- next time i’m shoving at least three more gigantic handfuls of mint in the thing, because at this stage it’s the only thing that is saving it from the bin
- i still have no idea wtf chia seeds are.
- i’m going to be really hungry this afternoon.
the lesson of the crunchy cauliflower is this: if you won’t eat it, there is no point in trying to change your food habits. the most important thing you can do when you’re trying to find a healthier food alternative, is to be open to new things, but realistic. diets usually fail because most of them are not sustainable and people get bored or develop a severe hatred of green stuff. it’s hard to get excited about salad. my sister is someone who absolutely loves cauliflower so the grated salad works really well for her, but she has a severe nut allergy so a lot of sugar-free meals are off limits. moral of the story? pick the meals you actually like (and the ones that won’t kill you). if you are going to dread every mealtime, you’ve got a much, much higher chance of caving in to the lure of the chicko roll than if you find the stuff you enjoy. it’s okay not to like salad. be creative, and make it fun. find the recipes that work for you, and go for those. and for the love of baby cheeses, cook your haloumi!!!
the i quit sugar book and program that i’m following can be found on Sarah Wilson’s sugar-free website. i’m being really cheeky with this post, but Sarah’s recipes (minus the raw salad stuff) are actually really great and tasty! tomorrow i’m going to be eating a bit of roast chook with some COOKED veggies on the side and the tears will probably stop. i’m sticking with this program, crappy cauliflower and all, until the very end.
ps – i also really hate food wastage; my salad will live on as a stir-fry tonight when i throw it in a pan with some heat. maybe that nice bit of salmon i forgot was in the oven (still there) will go nicely? only kidding (not about the forgotten salmon, unfortunately!)