I strictly avoided all sweeteners for 2 months & here are my thoughts from the torture
One of the items in the photo above doesn’t belong. Guess which one!
I did a #sweetenershun on Instagram for two months. I didn’t promote it on the blog or any of my several Facebook pages. I wanted to keep it for IG only, so if you don’t follow me on there, you’ve been missing all the fun! From January 1 through February 29, for a total of sixty days, I gave all sweeteners the cold shoulder. My goal was to avoid white sugar, coconut sugar, honey, maple syrup, agave syrup, and any other sweetener that can raise your blood sugar. I did allow soy-free vegan mayo (contains brown rice syrup) — that was my one exception.
About thirteen years ago, I gave up all sweeteners 100% specifically to help heal my interstitial cystitis through diet. I religiously avoided most sweeteners for several years. I barely, if ever, ate sweeteners. I’m not exaggerating this. I regularly turned down all kinds of sweets, and thirteen years ago, would have gasped at how much ice cream I ate last summer.
Because I’m not OCD about avoiding sweeteners like I used to be, I sometimes find myself desiring to go back to that level of long term extreme restriction. There’s a part of me that loves restrictions. But I need to be careful that I’m motivated by a desire to be well vs. an unhealthy need to be perfect (perfectionism loves restrictions).
There are other foods I have to be OCD about because they cause immediate discomfort or pain. I strictly avoid gluten, eggs, soy, tapioca, and tree nuts. As a result, I don’t have a lot of options for a quick protein source. Protein bars are out of the question, since most of them contain something from this list (have you seen how many protein bars contain tapioca syrup?!). I actually did find a protein bar I could eat in terms of my food restrictions and I was willing to flex on the amount of brown rice syrup it had in it, but it gave me a little blood sugar problem. Goodbye GoMacro peanut butter protein bars!
Those turkey snack sticks you see in the picture are a lifesaver for grabbing protein on the go. I’ve taken them on all of my out-of-town trips, eaten them for breakfast on soccer Mom days, and used them for a work lunch when I’ve run out of food in the house. I couldn’t have them on the #sweetenershun because they have 1 gram of “raw sugar” per snack stick. Natural meat snacks are my only option for a quick protein source that doesn’t require refrigeration, so eliminating them during the #sweetenershun was very difficult for me.
The main ways I get sugar, if I’m not eating ice cream from Molly Moon’s or lavender lattes from Caffe Ladro, are in the things you see in the above picture. I can easily live without Wellshire Farms natural pepperoni, but it is something I eat from time to time and it does have raw sugar in it. However, it was really hard living without that organic chicken breakfast sausage, and let me tell you, I’m not going to make homemade organic chicken sausage just so it can be free of 1 gram of sugar for three links. That would be crazy-making. I don’t eat plain chocolate chips, but during the #sweetenershun, I was especially craving my White Bean Chocolate Chip cookies which obviously contain chocolate chips. By the way, that recipe is not on the blog yet, and I am dying to share it with you.
What I learned during my two month #sweetenershun is that I go for salty carbs more than I would go for something sweet. I don’t really crave sweet foods. The #sweetenershun showed me that my biggest junk food weakness occurs when I am tired on a Friday afternoon, and left alone with some corn based salty junk the Wendy’s Eating Husband smuggled into the house. My most recent problem has been Trader Joe’s white cheddar corn puffs. Please send the WEH the memo to stop buying them.
Oh, and that salad dressing you see in the picture — I don’t eat it regularly, but we had it in the house during the #sweetenershun and I wanted it so badly. It’s not ideal because it has 2 grams of sugar per Tablespoon (!!!!!), but I could easily eat a pound of broccoli in 1 sitting with that as a dip. I buy it every now and then from Azure Standard. I could live without it.
And, I’m totally joking about the Skittles. I’d rather have sugar in my salad dressing.