27 Feb 2017 by Hazel
The sugar I avoid is fructose. Yes this is the “good” sugar found in fruit. Sadly it is not so good. If you want to understand why then invest in “Sweet Poison” by David Gillespie. Etched in my memory is that our addiction to sugar is worse than heroin. The more we ate, the more we wanted to eat. I started with Sarah Wilson’s book “I Quit Sugar: Your Complete 8-Week Detox Program and Cookbook“. It was a long, long time ago but I remember there is a time when you even cut out ALL fruit and then slowly introduced it.
So how did I cope?
Discovered “legal” food I absolutely loved – Sarah’s Granola, which is featured in this book, was a favourite then and still is. I usually have a small amount over full fat yoghurt. Banana’s – despite it being high in sugar (up to 3 teaspoons per banana) I was not going to live without them. The health benefits are too high to eliminate them from my diet. They became my very guilty (daily) pleasure. Especially when topped with Whole Earth’s chunky peanut butter.
Educated myself. I found loads of websites would help you discover the sugar content of almost anything – this one gives you the number of teaspoons of sugar in fruit. There is the Sugar Free Shoppers Guide and I became obsessed with labels. I found sugar free products and started a list on pinterest. However, don’t get complacent, ingredients change. Be vigilant.
Eliminate. Yup no more cakes, sweets, fruit juice, dried fruit, baking, puddings, ice cream, pasta, white bread and a lot of processed food. The list was endless but I just eliminated it all and found alternatives.
Find alternatives. Dark chocolate, every now and again, is another guilty pleasure – very dark 80% and above. Brown rice nectar and cinnamon are great for adding some warm sweetness. Stevia is my “go to” alternative to sugar if I’m baking or just want a teaspoon of something sweet – I don’t use it often. Prosecco is apparently the lowest in sugar alcohol – tough life! Not that I drink much but when I do it is either wine or Prosecco.
Make your own. I made my own Granola – which was a fab success. Tomato sauce, which was not. Nutella which was never quite like the original and Josh never quite got into the no sugar thing. Ultimately these days there are tons of recipes to encourage you to make your own. Just remember I was giving up fructose so the recipes with honey or agave where never appropriate.
Get the tools. These days there are little apps that will do this for you. My latest favourite is the “Change4Life Sugar Smart”. This tells you just how many cubes of sugar are in a product. No more guessing. Some of my best alternatives which I’d been deluded about, yes even I fall off the wagon (albeit unknowingly) every now and again.
Know the signs. If I start craving food, any food then it’s an immediate red flag that somehow my sugar intake has increased and I start to take stock, fast!