Monday, August 18, 2014

I Quit Sugar - 8 Week Wrap Up

I'm embarrassed to say how long this post has taken me to write. I pretty much went off the blog grid post Ragnar…life has been super busy with some changes (cryptic I know…I will share eventually) ahead so blogging just didn't enter my mind. BUT, I really wanted to get this recap up before I forgot about it all!

I Quit Sugar
Week 1
Week 2
Reading Food Labels - SUGAR 
Week 3
Week 4 
Week 5

Yeah yeah I know I didn't do a week 6, 7 or even 8 week recap, but they would have all been the same and really it was about slowly adding back in low sugar fruits and adjusting to a new normal way of eating for me and it went really well!

In our week 8 weekend read we got a little recap of the program so I thought I would summarize that and my thoughts on each week to bring everything together:

Week One - This was all about identifying fructose and why it is bad for us.  I had a pretty good handle on this before starting this program but it was good to hear everything again and be given more resources to read when I wanted.  I summarized why fructose is bad in my I Quit Sugar post.

Favorite recipe: Paleo veggie bread (still make this ALL the time) with avocado-feta smash
Not so favorite recipe: Berry omelet…eggs and fruit…didn't work for me :)

Week Two - The beginning of quitting ALL sugar for a few weeks to reset our bodies and remove the addictive nature of sugar from the brain essentially.  The message for week two was to eat more FAT. I have no problem doing this and instead of dessert after dinner now I usually have a few pieces of cheese. 

Favorite recipe: Sweet Potato Shepherds Pie
Not so favorite recipe: The cauliflower fried rice, EWW and unfortunately most of this went in the trash.

Week Three - Still no sugar of any kind and we learned how to read labels.  What ever you got out of this process was really up to you and I really used this time to educate myself on the effects of sugar and how quitting for life would be a new lifestyle for me.  Seeing the amount of sugar in products I used to consume on a daily basis (uh…Luna Bars and Picky Bars) was pretty eye opening, but now I just no longer eat them, simple!

Favorite recipe: Quinoa porridge
Not so favorite recipe: NONE really, I really enjoyed everything I ate in week 3.

Week Four - This was clean week meaning no alcohol, caffeine or gluten for just 5 days. Since I knew quitting caffeine would just make me a crazy person I decided to not cut that out, especially since it was just 5 days.  I did pretty well this week and didn't think it was too different from the other weeks since the program is pretty gluten-free as it is and I'm not a big drinker anyways.

Favorite recipe: Sweet potato salmon cakes
Not so favorite recipe: I can't remember anything I didn't like this week either!

Week Five - The last week of absolutely no sweeteners or sugar! During week 5 we were given some tactics to deal with the skeptics we may come along when describing the program.  Really I don't have a problem saying it's pure science people…your body cannot and does not process fructose in a way that is healthy.  If you want to eat mass quantities of it be my guest, but it's not for me anymore. If you want to discuss more happy to do so, just no judging please :).

Yumm yumm granola!

Favorite recipe: My take on Cocco-nutty granola that takes out the nuts and adds oats.  I still make this every other week…sooo delicious!
Not so favorite recipe: Not a recipe but stuffing my face with fried food and beer while on a mini vaca…it was my first taste of what my body does when it doesn't like what I put it into it after being on this program, lesson learned!

Week's 6-8 - The last three weeks of the program were about introducing small amounts of sugar and non-fructose sweeteners (brown rice syrup and stevia) into our diets. The goal is to ALWAYS stay under about 25 grams of sugar per day and this is something I plan on continuing for life.  I used these weeks try making my own meal plans, eating out, and just finding the right balance.

Recent eats have included the best birthday lunch ever of kale salad with garbanzo beans and parmesan cheese with a side of kombucha, sweet potato post with chicken and green beans, and mac and cheese with chicken jalapeño sausage and sautéed mushrooms and spinach (grown up mac as I like to call it).

So what sugar do I eat? I have to admit, happily, my sweet tooth is literally gone so I don't crave it much anymore.  However, low fructose fruits like raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries have been making a regular occurrence in yogurt or just as a snack.  A co-worker has been bringing in bags of blueberries from his garden and my work campus is overloaded with blackberries!  Aside from berries I've been enjoying a few squares of dark (85% cacao or higher) chocolate on occasion and not stressing as much about the sugar content of bread or other condiments with I'm out to eat.

How to I feel after all of this? In a nutshell I feel NORMAL again.  I don't think I even remembered what normal felt like as I've been dealing with stomach issues since I was literally a small kid…just ask my parents…they have stories :).  I didn't loose any weight, but my weight remained CONSTANT, I never felt bloated or run down, and things just moved through my system in a normal way…if you know what I'm saying ;).

The I Quit Sugar program has truly opened my eyes to how much sugar we eat, where sugar is hiding and how great you can feel if you just don't eat it.  I've been able to eat as much gluten and dairy as I want (something I didn't think I could do before) without feeling sick and can still enjoy a glass of wine (or 2 or 3) and chocolate when I want as well.

Join me for the next 8- week program!

I CANNOT recommend this program enough. For the roughly $150 bucks you get amazing meal plans, amazing support on the forums and access to experts and information in a very easy to digest and understand format.  I was lucky enough to be asked back to be an ambassador for their next 8-week program beginning on September 25 so if you sign up I'll be in the forums to help you out.

If you have any questions about the program just ask! If you sign up be sure to let me know…it's always more fun to go through programs like these with someone.