I’m already one week into my no-sugar-added March challenge. I thought I would share some thoughts and feelings from the first week, because as some people have mentioned when chatting about these challenges, the first few days are the toughest. My first week during this challenge was uber successful and I’ve majorly found that it’s all about breaking habits.
This timely little article is interesting too, the side effects of a mother putting her family on a no-sugar diet. Her daughter was more calm, more energized to do things instead of watching TV, and more!
Shopping for sugar-free foods: So, it turns out, I eat pretty healthy and relatively “sugar-free” already. There were certainly things that I had to double check and a few things that had to be kicked out of my cart but my weekly grocery shops are 70% vegetables and fruit, so it wasn’t all that hard to grocery shop for this challenge. Major staples in my diet like oats, nuts, vegetables, sweet potatoes, eggs, coffee, fruit, hummus, and cheeses all do not (typically) contain added sugar, so it felt like I was shopping normally. There were a few things I had to remove: coconut greek yogurt, black bean and garlic tortilla chips, cranberry goat cheese, dark chocolate, and rye bread. In replace of those, I was able to find options like plain greek yogurt, plain goat cheese, and Silver Hills bread.
Cravings and withdrawals? I don’t think I ate enough sugary foods to feel a complete withdrawal this past week. There were times when I would finish dinner and go to grab a couple of dark chocolate squares for dessert before remembering the challenge. It was more habit than anything. Once you remove those habits from your day you realize you don’t actually need that hit of sugar, it just became something you did. I have left fruit in this challenge, based on the natural sugar and fiber that comes from it, so my sweet tooth is moderately satisfied.
Meal prep and eating out: I have been doing A LOT of meal prep. Just this past Sunday I hard-boiled a dozen eggs, chopped a bunch of veggies, prepped quinoa, kale and avocado salads for lunches, and event pre-peeled blood oranges to have for breakfasts. It’s super easy to follow a food challenge during the week when you est yourself up for success. When I traveled to Calgary on the weekend I brought both breakfasts and lunches, as well as Lara bars and apples for snacks. The only meal I ate out was at Greek Kitchen, where I chose what I hope was a sugar-free orzo, zucchini, pepper, and tomato dish. I wouldn’t be surprised if the homemade tomato sauce had a teaspoon of sugar in it, but I’m not going to stress about it.
The biggest temptation: It was Friday last week, and my branch had a morning coffee chat meeting, where one of our staff MADE PANCAKES. She literally brought her pancake griddle to a meeting room and set up shop, making dozens of pancakes for everyone. Additionally, people brought fresh donuts, monkey bread, rum balls, and a ton of treats. I sat and sipped my coffee while coworkers asked, “How can you resist this?” and, “Aren’t you having any?” It was tempting but I stayed strong and was so happy that I did.
A typical day of eating: The following few photos are a typical day this week of eats. Starting with a yogurt bowl filled with plain 2% greek yogurt, tons of fruit, and sunflower seeds and walnuts. Lunch was a kale and quinoa salad with goat cheese, avocado, and lots of chopped vegetables. I had a snack of a Lara bar and a banana, plus an extra cup of coffee from Burrow in downtown Edmonton. For dinner I had carrots and hummus, brie, and a couple of hard-boiled eggs. I finished my evening with rice cakes with peanut butter after spin class.
The first week wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. It’s been more about breaking habits than anything and I was happily surprised at a few foods that I thought for sure would have sugar and don’t (PC black bean and corn salsa… YUM). Until next time, stay strong sugar-lovers.