nutrition

Sugar free life re-examined

Monday, 13 May 2013
Coconut cream and oat summer porridge

Last week I only worked for two days. Being at home for most of the week, out of my normal Monday-Friday schedule and no marathon in the near future to train for both in mileage and nutrition, I realised that my sugar-free life needs a bit of a re-evaluation.

I still don’t eat foods that obviously have sugar in their ingredients but I have gotten a bit too addicted to Genius gluten free bread which does have some sugar in it, and I am snacking way too much on things that have a lot of fructose – nakd bars, Trek bars, raisins, dates, more raisins…

As a result I found myself starting to feel a slave to cravings again – wanting to eat more of sweet stuff, wanting to eat something sweet after every meal.

At one point on Saturday I just stopped in my tracks in whatever I was doing and almost said out loud “It’s time to go back to square 1. Sugar free means eating vegetables, fish, meat, eggs, nuts, fresh fruit, it doesn’t mean eating fructose sweetened jam on gluten free bread or nakd bars after every meal or instead of a meal.”

There is nothing wrong with dried fruit but the issue for me is that more than a small quantity of that sweetness and the moderation button in my head gets turned off just like what eating regular sugar does (did) to me.  And nothing makes me more miserable than the feeling of craving for something sweet, the feeling of finishing a meal and instead of thinking “That was a nice meal.”, thinking “What else can I have now?” or “What ‘treat’ will I have now?”

So the reset button has been pressed. Instead of oats + coconut milk/cream + lots of raisins for breakfast (a combination I totally adore and will eat without the raisins at some point again) I had 3 fried eggs with a roasted beetroot :)  My first thought after finishing was “I could have something else now.”, but I just cracked on with work and before I knew it it was 11am and I had a pear.

For lunch I had steamed salmon with beetroot again (I roasted a few large ones last week) as well as different pulses and some cucumber.  I have a chocolate Co-yo coconut yogurt in the fridge for later on but right now I’m full and happy.

The next hurdle will be after dinner – I have a terrible After Dinner Snacking Habit. Yesterday I thought I’ll try to give it up, but then remembered the tagline of one of my favorite blogs:

Try not. Do or do not. There is no try.

I will therefore not try. I will simply do it.

So the plan for now is: non-sweet breakfast and no snacking after dinner. Fresh fruit and a sweet cane-sugar-free treat during the day once in a while is ok.

Does anyone have any good tips to give me when it comes to snacks/treats that are not overly sweet? There are so many recipes out there for great clean treats but they all use dates or raisins as a base, I’d like to find something that’s between a lärabar and a boiled egg. Not literally but you get the idea :). Maybe something with sweet potatoes as a base? Or even pumpkin?

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  • TOTKat Monday, 13 May 2013 at 20:48

    I’ve been using frozen blueberries/strawberries/raspberries with full-fat greek yogurt and a sprinkle of nuts and/or seeds. It hits the sweet spot with the berries and the fullness with the fat from the yogurt and nuts/seeds with a nice bit of crunch from those too. Needs a tiny bit of prep, but if you make a pot (I use Avent babymilk pots!) it lasts for up to 3 days once made up if you don’t end up using it.

    • TOTKat Monday, 13 May 2013 at 20:51

      Also, MrTOTKat can very much sympathise with the sensations of cravings when having eaten anything sugary. He’s had such a revelation with carbs in general in the last couple of months and how really bad eating appreciable amounts of it makes him feel these days.

    • MrsB Sunday, 19 May 2013 at 18:29

      That’s a good idea to prep something in a larger quantity to have at hand. I’ll give it a go substituting yogurt with coconut cream (I’m staying away from dairy, it gives me pimples :|)

  • Becca Monday, 13 May 2013 at 19:16

    You’ve made me think with this post. I’ve been mainly sugar free for a while but dried fruit and naked bars are now almost a daily thing for me. I totally get the after dinner sweet thing, even if I’m not hungry. I’m going to do some re-evaluation as well I think!
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  • Helen Monday, 13 May 2013 at 18:22

    Oh god, I fell off the bandwagon big time, I had 3 months sugarless (apart from fruit, I am fine with fruit) and it was GOOD and then I had just one bite and now I am having multiple bites a day and finding it damn hard to get back on the bandwagon despite KNOWING it makes me feel great and makes me control food rather than the other way round. I wish I was one of these people who could moderate such as @go_kaleo urges but I am just not at that place just yet.
    (p.s I so stole that tagline from Star Wars)

    Tbh I think the trick is not to want sweet, i.e. not find a middle ground between larabar and egg, just eat the egg. As I said I am lucky in that I am fine with fruit, does fruit not work for you?
    Helen recently posted…Being Badass.My Profile

    • MrsB Monday, 13 May 2013 at 18:39

      I will have to do more fruit. I eat at least 3 servings a day already though… and sometimes when you have a coffee you just want something other than a cold apple :) I might try sliced banana with unsweetened peanut or cashew butter.

    • TOTKat Monday, 13 May 2013 at 20:56

      It’s hard sometimes when the emotional energy reserves are low and the available choice is limited when you feel weak and drained… there’s only so much of that emotional energy to go around and sometimes it’s a trade off between running out and knowing you’ll feel a bit worse for a bit if you take the easier path because you just need to at the time and it’ll mean a day or so of cravings you could do without. A lifelong balancing act!

  • Bari Monday, 13 May 2013 at 17:48

    Love a good Yoda quote! I give you credit for all the whole food, healthy eating. I don’t have the will or desire. Maybe I should find it.
    Bari recently posted…5/3 River Bank Run 25K #53rbr #racereportMy Profile

    • MrsB Monday, 13 May 2013 at 18:14

      If you don’t have the desire or feel the need to be that extreme then don’t force yourself! You’re already eating healthy as is :)