My mother reviews films, and she recently watched That Sugar Film. Afterwards, she rushed home to study all the products in the pantry to assess how bad the sugar situation in her home really was. During her childhood, low-fat was always good and too much fat was a bad thing. So you can understand the little bit of confusion or surprise that low-fat can actually be less healthy because of the added sugar to make it taste better after the tasty fat has been removed. So that low-fat, vanilla, sweetened yoghurt may not actually be the best option. This matches with my choice to go for low-fat PLAIN yoghurt and add honey instead. Yoghurt, however, is just one product.
After deciding to take a final stand against my extra weight and eat well and exercise more, and after all the sugar discoveries and discussions…I decided to do the no sugar, no bread 21 day challenge, an initiative created to challenge South Africans to eat less foods that spike blood sugar and insulin levels. I seldom eat bread anyway so that’s not a challenge, the sugar part is.
So, I have adapted it to what I think is possible (and still difficult) for me. It would be entirely impractical for me to avoid ALL foods that have added sugar. Firstly, I live in a house with 3 other girls and we share the cooking of dinners. I cannot ask them to use only sugar-free foods for supper. What about pasta sauce that goes into Abi’s yummy chicken curry pasta? What about Ju-ann’s lovely roast butternut with a hint sugar on top? (Rose, I can’t actually think of a meal you’ve made that may have sugar in it…) Secondly, if I cut sugar out completely, I might just have no money for next month (as some sugar free alternatives are rather pricey) and thirdly, sugar is an addiction, let me deal with it gently OK?
Therefore, the rules of my no sugar challenge are:
- The challenge began on Sunday 6 September and ends on Saturday 26 September (well technically I am allowed sugar again on the 27th)
- No ADDED sugar in foods: i.e. syrup with my microwaved banana will not do.
- No extra sugars in general: this is the difficult one…no chocolate, jelly tots (why the jelly tots? WHY?), or sweet treats overall (including Wakaberry which just opened in Grahamstown where I live)
- Remember number 2 above…you, Roxanne, are saving money in this way, by not buying BarOne or some ice-cream from Delizzia.
- Just because the challenge ends on 26 September, does not mean there is a ticket available to suddenly eat loads of sugar again, no. The point is to complete the 21 days and go forth into the world with the strength to make good life choices involving (or not involving) sugar.
It’s day 5 today and I have discovered that apples (the sweet ones) and honey are two of my best friends as of starting the challenge. Praise God for these beautiful creations.
Putting some honey on my yellow Black Cat peanut butter (no sugar and salt in this, so it’s just peanuts and stabilisers) which is spread on a rice cake feels like a treat. I think I had about three apples on Tuesday, because on Tuesday, I really wanted chocolate or some Squillo’s (chocolate milk that I discovered in the holidays while staying with my aunt and uncle) ALL day. Apples have natural sugars in them, so I (sort of) got my sugar fix, but avoided the refined and fatty sugary stuff.
I am surprised that I have gotten this far, to be very honest. Please be thinking of me tomorrow though…I agreed to make brownies for this weekend’s ladies’ retreat I’m going on. The challenge: no tasting, no scraping the bowl to enjoy the spoils and no eating of the brownies tomorrow or at the retreat. I’ll report on this next week, wish me luck!
(Mmm, perhaps I should ask one of my house-mates to install a secret cam to prove that I have not eaten any part of the baked or unbaked brownies…or maybe I’ll just ask for some watchful company).