DAY SEVEN - 1/4 of the way there!

Avocado Toast

Phew. One week down!

So here’s the scoop: I’ve done pretty damn good this week if I do say so myself. My two “slips” were both unintentional. I asked for fruit instead of dessert at a work-related gala, and the server DID bring me a beautiful bowl of berries, but they just so happened to be coated in a light, sweet syrup. (I was not going to let a bowl of fresh berries go to waste because of a little sweetener.) Then just this morning I ordered a tea with milk hold the sugar and—you guessed it—they did not hold the sugar. And I’m the sort who feels uncomfortable sending things back.

On day three I felt sluggish. Hungry but also not hungry. Thirsty. Kind of anxious. Had a little bit of a headache. To be fair I also woke up at 5:30am and stayed awake until about 7:00am, then went back to sleep for another hour or so. My friend Kathleen suggested more protein to help with sugar cravings. On day four I started my period. lol. This could have had a lot to do with my symptoms from the day before. By day five I was feeling pretty good! Javier and I went out for dinner and had some delicious Mexican food (although we avoided the salsa for fear it might contain hidden sugars.) Then on day six I took a turn. Was feeling low emotionally, sort of stressed, angry, hopeless, self-conscious, depressed, and I realllllyyy just wanted to eat some chocolate, but I didn’t. I don’t think this mental/emotional low was due to a lack of sugar, but that I sought sugar out as a comfort during this emotional low.

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Today is day SEVEN and so far I feel pretty ok. No horrible cravings or withdrawal symptoms. I haven’t noticed any significant changes in my skin, mood, or physical state. I also haven’t had horrible, all consuming cravings. So far this reduction has been much easier than when I gave up sugar, gluten, and dairy all at once.

Javier and I had quinoa pasta, zoodles & meatballs with a low-sugar sauce for dinner, and Javier even brought me a sparkling water with a little bit of artificial sweetener in it. (Again, I think wiggle room is important.) Both of us admitted to missing dessert. Javier is longing for birthday cake and myself some dark chocolate.

To distract my brain from missing sugar I’ve been drinking one or two decaf chais a day, plus other teas if I like. Breakfasts and snacks this week have mostly consisted of oatmeal with fruit, nuts and greek yogurt, hard boiled eggs on avocado toast, as pictured here. My goals for next week are to drink more water, and consume more protein and vegetables. More pictures to come…

xoxo
Emma

DAY TWO: Emma learns about Erythritol

Day Two - So far so good. I’m using PurAqua Bell Vie (offbrand Aldi LaCroix) to help curb cravings for something sweet, and eating meals without much sugar has been pretty easy so far. Today looked something like*:

day2lunch

B: a peach with plain greek yogurt and plain oatmeal
L: Salmon with caesar salad (1 tbsp dressing) and vegan pesto with quinoa/brown rice pasta
D: Javier made delicious enchiladas for dinner with beef, beans, cheese, and a green sauce.
A: An apple. Some popcorn. PB on rice cakes with strawberries.

I finished my day with a decaf spiced Chai to help curb sweet cravings (no Stevia, mind you). Javier and I also tried some Bai sparkling water because according to the can it contained only 1g of sugar. Now I know what you’re thinking. “Emma! The whole point is to not consume sugar!” and yeah, it is, but I’ve been a fan of Bai products for awhile now and was curious as to whether this product would qualify as something I could sip on during this sugar reduction, since it claimed to contain only 1g of sugar. I immediately checked out the ingredients list. One of the very first ingredients on the bottle is listed as “Erythritol,” and I’m going to be honest I didn’t know exactly what Erythritol was, but I knew it had to be a sweetener. So, I visited Bai’s website for more information and this is what I learned:

What is Erythritol?

Naturally found erythritol is a sugar alcohol made from simple sugars derived from plant starches. It looks and tastes like table sugar, though it is about 30% less sweet…Erythritol is the largest ingredient in Bai Proprietary Sweetener Blend by weight, and is used as an ingredient to provide bulk and the sugar-like crystalline appearance and texture in Bai Proprietary Sweetener Blend. The erythritol used in Bai Proprietary Sweetener Blend is produced through a natural fermentation process…In the case of erythritol, a natural yeast digests the simple sugars such as dextrose and other nutrients and produces erythritol. After fermentation, the erythritol is filtered and dried into crystals. Erythritol is small; found naturally in a variety of fruits, such as grapes and pears, as well as in mushrooms, and certain fermented foods such as soy sauce and wine.

Is it true that the stevia leaf extract and erythritol in Bai Proprietary Sweetener Blend are highly processed or made with toxic chemicals?

As with almost all finished food products, the journey from field to table involves some processing. The sweet components of the stevia leaf need to be extracted from the leaf, like vanilla needs to be extracted from vanilla beans. The erythritol in Bai Proprietary Sweetener Blend is made from a natural fermentation process. Like in other finished foods, including table sugar, processing aids suitable for use in food are used in the production of both stevia leaf extract and erythritol. These aids help either extract, isolate or purify components of the ingredients. Under the U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations, our processing aids are not subject to labeling requirements because they do not have a technical or functional effect in the finished food and because they are either not present or are present at insignificant levels in the finished product.

Now, I’m not here to determine if Bai products are “good” or “bad” or “safe” or “dangerous.” It’s juice. It’s tea. It’s sparkling water, and I’m probably not going to drink it every day, but I think having one every now and then isn’t going to kill me or put this sugar reduction in horrible jeopardy. But I’ll save it for when I really need it.

baisparklingwater

*FYI I will not be tallying calories or describing in detail exactly how much I eat. I’m embracing intuitive eating right now. Like most people, I’ve had an unhealthy relationship with food in the past. Sometimes counting calories is a helpful tool, other times it turns into a harmful one. Or I just get tired of counting them!

Also disclaimer: Please know I’m not trying to convince you what to eat or not eat. I don’t mean to promote any particular products (except maybe Aldi b/c I just love that store). I’m not being paid to do this, I’m not even trying to promote my own brand. I’m just documenting an experiment.

See you on day three!

30 Day Sugar ~Reduction~ Day ONE

I know you’ve seen this all before...

“I Quit Sugar for 30 Days and THIS is What Happened!”
“5 Things I Learned from 30 Days Without Sugar”
“I did the 30 Day No Sugar Challenge and lost 15lb!”

And now it’s my turn. But let me make you this promise: I will not bullshit you. If I don’t feel better after giving up sugar for 30 days, I will say so. If the cravings never really go away, I will say so. I’m not interested in being another “giving up sugar really transformed my life—and it can for YOU too!” blog. No one is paying me to do this. I’m not pushing a diet or a diet plan. I’m just chronicling my journey.

5 Things You Need To Know…

1) My boyfriend Javier is doing this with me. I find any kind of restrictive diet change is easier when you have a buddy.

2) My goal: To reduce my overall cravings for sugar and lose 3-5lb.

3) Our perimeters:

  • we will enjoy fruit in it’s natural form, we will choose to pass on fruit drinks and dried fruit

  • we will choose to pass on all added sugars, even honey and maple syrup BUT I can choose to have a dash of Stevia and he some sugar-free gelatin when we wish.

  • We are allowing ourselves some wiggle room when it comes to prepackaged foods like pasta sauces. As long as a serving contains less than 5g of sugar, we’re good. This way we don’t have to give up all convenience.

 These sugar cookies from Virgin closing night were out of this WORLD. #extravirgin

These sugar cookies from Virgin closing night were out of this WORLD. #extravirgin

4) According to this NYT article from 2016, no more than 50g a day is the recommended level of sugar intake and 25g is even healthier, so I’m going to aim to consume less than 50g a day.

5) I do not think sugar is evil. I used to, but now I happily, openly love sugary treats. I love donuts, waffles, dark chocolate, ice cream, chocolate chip cookies, sugar cookies, Oreos, sour patch kids, pumpkin bread, rice pudding, the list goes on! But I also believe (for me) everything in moderation is key.

I’ve done variations of a “no sugar” or “less sugar” detox/cleanse many times now. My last 30 days without sugar also included 30 days without gluten and dairy, and I’m interested to see if I see different or similar results from that detox.

So there you have it. Today is day one and so far I’ve had half a peach mixed with plain greek yogurt and oatmeal for breakfast. We’ll see how I feel by the end of the day! Stay tuned for updates. Also, Javier mentioned he might do some vlogs to document the experience from his perspective, so I may be sharing those as well!

As always, much love.

xoxo