Sugar has become a major health problem in our society. It is an added ingredient in almost every food package in the shops these days and it can be very hard to avoid. Here are some of the things I have learnt while eliminating sugar from my diet.

It is not easy

Eliminating sugar from your diet is one of the most crucial steps in becoming well. Sugar creates inflammation in the body which contributes to a host of illnesses and diseases. It makes us feel tired and unwell, and only once we give up sugar does it become clear how badly it affects us!

The first time that I managed to stop eating sugar, I felt an incredible amount of mental clarity. My communication skills were better, my memory improved and I no longer felt the grogginess we experience when we hit a sugar dip. Now I find that if I indulge in a sugary treat, I wake up with flu-like symptoms in the morning, I feel tired and sluggish – almost like a sugar hangover.

Now, I’m a bit of a fitness freak and I take my health seriously but I can tell you one thing. Giving up sugar IS NOT EASY. I can drink a kale smoothie, I can do the salad lunches, I can even go for a 10km run. But giving up sugar? That has been the hardest part of my fitness journey.

It is, however, not impossible

Here are a few tips that I have learnt in my journey:

  1. The most important step is to learn how your body needs to eat. There are a ton of diet plans and meal plans out there, but ultimately your body is unique. You need to figure out how many carbs, proteins and veggies you need in a day, and what types of food work best for your body. You will learn this through listening to your body. I figured out my eating plan through a specialized program that I designed. Through I series of “experiments” I worked out what I need to eat to perform optimally and thrive.
  2. Eat a variety of foods – if you are lacking in certain foods or tastes, your body will begin to crave in order to make up for these. If you cut of sweetness completely, your body will crave sugar. You need to eat some form of carbs ( complex carbs like brown rice), otherwise your body will crave simple carbs  – sugary treats!
  3. Cut out sodas – I wrote an article about what to drink instead of sodas here:
  4. Eat healthier forms of dessert – greek yoghurt with honey is great. Adding cinnamon will also balance your blood sugar levels. Dried dates are also good because they are sweet and not too unhealthy (in moderation).
  5. Use sugar-free sauces like mustard and pesto. Sugar-free tomato sauce is also good.
  6. Read labels – if sugar is one of the first 3 ingredients in the list, you know that there is a lot of sugar added.
  7. Use natural sweeteners – when I first tried to cut my sugar down, I tried not to use sweeteners. This was a huge mistake – I was trying to break a habit without replacing it with something equally or more rewarding. It simply was just not going to work. You have to find a way to replace the sweet taste – whether it is with stevia in your coffee  or honey in your tea. I also tried out a lot of different chocolates that use natural sweeteners until I found one I really like.
  8. Get enough sleep – when we are tired, it is a lot harder to maintain our wellness goals. We will crave sugar because we think it will give us energy, and we give into the temptation easily because we are tired. Help yourself out, be strong, get sleep.

It is worth it

At the end of the day, this is your journey and your body. You will find what works for you as you persevere. Make sure you track how you feel when you try new ways to substitute sweetness into your diet. Note what works for your body and what doesn’t, and always try new things.

Good luck in beating the sugar monster – it is one of the hardest challenges in nutrition! I have quite a bit of experience in this area and am willing to help anyone who would like more individualized guidance. Pop me an email and we can work together towards optimization.

Have a great day. Lots of light and love xx

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