February 2014 April 2014
As many of you may have known… or maybe not many, but… back to the topic at hand. I decided to restrict my diet even further then it already is for the 40 days of Lent. I decided to remove all forms of processed and refined sugars from my diet which means I’d be relying on natural sugars from fruits and eating a lot more vegetables, salads, and proteins. I was a little nervous with this decision because I am not the biggest vegetable eater… as a matter of fact I tend to stray far far away from eating anything that is remotely green. I have a giant sweet tooth and thought I’d be going into severe withdrawal. I didn’t have a game plan and kind of just jumped right into it (right after Valentines Day… and yes ALL of my Valentine’s day chocolates are still here uneaten… poor timing on my part)
The first few days were torturous as my forty days sugar free began in the middle of the week and with my lack of preparation and food shopping I had no idea what I would be eating at home or at work since most of my lunches consisted of popcorn, Goldfish, and Ritz Crackers (I’m not the best eater on the planet I must shamefully admit). So by the time the weekend came I was miserable and ready to head to my nearest supermarket to stock up on healthier sugar free items. To my surprise… it wouldn’t be as easy as I thought. You see… I wasn’t aware just how many things had sugar in it. This frustrated me and I ended up buying maybe four things before I walked out of the supermarket depressed. Usually I hit up two places for my weekly snacks and meals (local supermarket, and Trader Joes) I was used to spending no more than 30 dollars a week which fit amazingly in my student loan filled budget.
I drove off to Trader Joes hopeful that I would be able to find more options to eat during these forty days and I did… it just wasn’t 30 dollars. More frustrated with an expanded grocery list I decided to open my mind up to more options and possibilities to make this process a little easier (I don’t like to quit what I’ve started… but I must admit I was really close to quitting this). I left Trader Joes with some things that would get me through another week but I was still unsatisfied. When I got home I hopped on the computer and did some research on how people got through these changes in diets and stuck to them! I asked friends, co workers, and relied on recipes that Google links directed me to.
By the third week of my 40 day sugar free lifestyle I had gotten into a groove that I was comfortable with. Though it was still more than 30 dollars a week, I realized that was an unrealistic weekly budget for what I was trying to do. I spent on average 50 dollars a week buying up more fruits and vegetables rather than snacking items though I did have an increased love affair with Trader Joes white cheddar popcorn to get me through cravings. Preparation was key to offsetting dwindling off track or craving unhealthier snacks/foods.
I started juicing (yes… Green smoothies got me through a lot of this process… go figure!) and replaced breakfast with a healthy green smoothie mixed with spinach and other fruits of my choice for the day. For lunch I switched it up between fruit salads, grilled chicken caesar salads (no dressing… I hate all dressing), and Trader Joes brown rice/quinoa Fusilli pasta (with home made sauces, or on occasion Trader Joes bought sauces without sugar) Again you’d be surprised what consists of sugar when you dont even think about it. I had no idea that regular store bought pasta sauces consisted of sugar as an ingredient… but my was I surprised. For snacks when I got home I often had sliced apples with natural unsalted Peanut Butter from Trade Joes (yes… regular peanut butter also has sugar in it… SURPRISED again!), whole grain popcorn, or other fruits I had lying around the house. I also began infusing my water with different fruits to create different flavors. My favorite so far has been the strawberry lemon mix (the colors are beautiful and it tastes amazing) Dinner was the hardest meal of the day… and I’m not going to lie sometimes I would skip it because I didn’t know what to do/or eat. Often times I’d go with Trader Joes whole grain, whole wheat corn flakes without sugar… which by the way is very much so an acquired taste.. especially when you can’t add sugar to it. Other times I’d have some brown rice with whatever particular protein was around.
Though it did get a little boring at times I was happy with what I was choosing to do for myself and for my body. Going out took a little more preparation because I had to consider would I be hungry when I was out, where would I go eat…etc. It can become a bit frustrating for you and for whoever you are out with. But again like I said a little preparation goes a long way… and you start to appreciate salads a lot more in these types of situations. I ended up losing a total of 8lbs and two inches off of my waist which brought me down to my highest high school weight of 115 lbs. I didn’t set up to lose weight during the process but I guess that should’ve been anticipated with my workout regimen.
So… what did I miss the most during this process? Well… obviously my three favorite foods in the whole world pizza, chocolate, and wine (white wine is loaded with sugars)! After these forty days come to a close… will I jump directly back into full blown sugar… not necessarily. For starters I like the weight I’ve lost and would like to keep it off well… at least until summer time is over. However I’m considering one of two things. To be less restrictive and just limit my sugar intake (which is really great for hair growth as well ladies) or to remain as restrictive as I was for the 40 days and just have one cheat day out of the week where I have the opportunity to have a glass of wine with a slice of pizza for dinner. Whatever I decide I will keep you posted! Feel free to ask any questions about recipes or things I tried, or offer your different diets!!!