Life Without Sugar - 10 Month Update | Tanvii.com - Indian Fashion, Lifestyle and Travel Blog

Life Without Sugar - 10 Month Update

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Low and behold, life without ‘added sugar’ is possible. (Click here to read what kinds of sugar I have eliminated). It has been ten months and life has been just fine (almost). To be honest, it was a learning curve. I had to educate myself. I had to change my mindset. I had to find alternatives. There are many options in market that I had no idea about. Also, I have started experimenting with recipes which use ripe bananas and dates instead of ‘added sugar’.

The struggle is real though - especially when it comes to Indian desserts (like gulab jamun). I do get tempted when I see pictures on social media or visit home where sweets are readily available at every nook and corner. But try and channel some discipline and I brave through it ... mostly because I have been able to acknowledge that I was (am?) addicted to sugar. I cannot just have just one piece of anything (chocolate, cookie, gulab jamun) and having a little bit leads me to spiral down and have the whole bag. And then repeat the whole process to trying moderation and failing the next day. Sugar fuels every cell in the brain. Your brain also sees sugar as a reward, which makes you keep wanting more of it. If you often eat a lot of sugar, you're reinforcing that reward, which can make it tough to break the habit. Hence, had to completely remove it from my diet.

Now time to answer some questions. Some I had already answered in my post here ... and others I have answered below to the best of my ability: 

Are you still living sugar-free lifestyle?
Yes, I am. So far, so good. 

Why sugar-free lifestyle?

I read a book (this!) and it resonated with me.

What is the hardest thing?

To maintain the lifestyle while traveling and while visiting family in India.

What is the biggest change?

No mood swings. Minimal anxiety. Healthy skin.

Do you think it is doable and sustainable?

Yes, but with a LOT of planning and discipline. I have had to do a lot of research, plan and learn to make desserts. In my already busy life now I have to make time to bake, especially before my periods when the sugar cravings are intense. I have to constantly read labels and find alternatives.

Have you been eating 100% sugar free meals for last 10 months?

No, it is actually not possible if you eat out or travel. I can control what I make and buy but I cannot control food prepared at restaurants, etc. I don’t consume anything which I know has sugar such as the baked goods, desserts, cookies etc.. However, there is sugar in sauces, and drinks and other cooking ingredients and and is hard to avoid while eating out. While I do my best to pick items from the menu which are least likely to have any added sugar I can never be 100% sure.


Gulab jamun

<gulab jamun> 

Why do you get a rush when you eat a midday candy bar? 
The sugar in it -- called a simple carbohydrate -- is quickly turned into glucose in your bloodstream. Your blood sugar levels spike. Simple carbs are also found in fruits, veggies, and dairy products. But these have fiber and protein that slow the process. Syrup, soda, candy, and table sugar don't.

Think you don't have a sweet tooth, but crave bagels, chips, or french fries?

These starchy foods are complex carbs that the body breaks down into simple sugars. Eaten without better foods, starches can make blood sugar surge and crash like sugar. White rice and white flour do this. Highly refined starches like white bread, pretzels, crackers, and pasta are worst.

Can you beat your sugar habit by quitting cold turkey? 

In my experience, the answer is - No! I started reducing my sugar intake for several months, before completely eliminating it. The idea is to purge your system of sugar. Quitting cold turkey would be too drastic to keep up. Changes that you can do only for the short term mean you'll fall back to your old habits.

You don't need sugar as much as you think you do. In fact, you can train your taste buds to enjoy things that aren't as sweet. Try cutting out one sweet food from your diet each week. For example, pass on dessert after dinner. Start putting less sugar in your coffee or cereal. Over time, you will lose your need for that sugar taste.

What is the alternative? How do you make the lifestyle work long term?
You don't have to give up sweetness. Just get it from other sources. Try fresh berries or pureed fruit on oatmeal instead of sugar. Explore fruit that's dried, frozen, or canned (without too much added sugar).

1. If you make small, simple changes to your diet, it's easy to keep them up. Start by eating more fruits and vegetables. Drink extra water. Check food labels, and pick those that don't have a lot of sugar. Cut out a little bit of sugar each week. After a few weeks, you'll be surprised at how little you miss it.

2. Eating protein is an easy way to curb sugar cravings. High-protein foods digest more slowly, keeping you feeling full for longer. Protein doesn't make your blood sugar spike the way refined carbs and sugars do. Pick proteins like lean chicken, low-fat yogurt, eggs, nuts, or beans.

3. Fiber helps fight a sugar itch in many ways. First, it keeps you full. High-fiber foods also give you more energy. Because they don't raise your blood sugar, there's no hungry crash after. Choose fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Or smear some peanut butter on an apple for a protein/fiber combo.


4. Exercise can help wipe out those sugar cravings and change the way you eat in general. You start to feel better and want healthier foods. Do what you like, such as walking, riding your bike, or swimming. Start out slow, and work toward at least 30 minutes at a time, 5 days a week.

5. Some studies suggest artificial sweeteners may leave you craving more sugar. That could make it harder to control your weight. The problem is, some experts say, that artificial sweeteners don't help you break your taste for sweets. Pay attention to your body. Are sweeteners making you crave even more sugar? If so, look elsewhere for that sweet taste.

6. Honey, brown sugar, and cane juice may sound healthy. But sugar is sugar. Whether it comes from bees or sugar cane, it can cause your blood sugar to rise. Honey and unrefined sugars are slightly higher in nutrients, but their calories still count.

If you're like most people in the U.S., you eat 19 teaspoons or more of added sugar a day. That adds up to 285 calories, which health experts say is way too much. How much sugar should you be eating? According to the American heart Association, no more than 6 teaspoons daily for women. That's about 100 calories. Men should get a max of 9 teaspoons. That's about 150 calories.


That's all I know. I will continue to update about my sugar-free lifestyle here again in 18 months or so. In the meantime you can keep up with me on InstaStories. I share about my daily routine and meals there regularly.


Do you have any tips or recipes for me? I would love to hear them. 

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30 comments

  1. First of all, I give you applause! That is amazing you made this commitment that I don't think many people would. I also really like how realistic you are when it comes to eating out or traveling!

    www.rdsobsessions.com

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  2. You go girl! I can’t imagine going without sugar!

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  3. I have TERRIBLE mood swings .. never thought it could be related to sugar .. I should try this!!

    -Morgan
    How 2 Wear It [] http://how2wearit.com

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  4. This is so amazing that you have cut out sugar. I have a huge sweet tooth so this would be SO difficult for me!

    xoxo,
    Kim

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  5. Great that you're staying strong with this! I do eat sugar, but I try when I'm cooking at home to avoid it. I love using dates to sweeten recipes!

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  6. This is such a great idea! It's really hard to stay away from sugar, I'm appealed when I see it used in pasta sauces etc. I love that you are doing this, I need to try it too!!

    XOXO
    Cathy

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  7. Congratulations on your continued success! Staying away from sugar is sooo hard. I have an especially hard time when the holidays roll around.

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  8. Ohhh I am so impressed you have done this! I think I'd have the hardest time with coffee.

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  9. This is really interesting! I have thought about going without sugar before but I just don't know if I could really do it.

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  10. I applaud you for cutting out sugar and sticking to it! I think this would be so hard for me to do!

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  11. This is so interesting! I am really impressed at your dedication. This is something that has always interested me, but I must confess - my self control is shocking!!

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  12. Way to go on not eating added sugar!! I’m wildly impressed!!!!

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  13. I have been avoiding sugar for almost three years now, the best decision ever! Thank you so much for your post, it is great!

    Chad
    www.mosaicslab.com

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  14. Well done, that is some achievement, I am trying to eat less sugar but its hard as so much stuff has it added to it

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  15. This is something I'd really like to try! It takes a lot of dedication though - I love the occasional dessert haha

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  16. Wow this is amazing! Sugar is seriously so hard to avoid so kuddos to you for achieving this :) I wish I could be better at this!

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  17. I've been very careful with my sugar for years. Great on your achievements!

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  18. Wow that really is an achievement. I think I'd go insane if not for a little bit of sugar! Try to intake less too however. xo, Suzanne

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  19. What a great feat you have accomplished! I have such a problem with breads and starches. I know I need to cut back but it seems like those are the quickest foods to grab when you are in a hurry and feel like you are starving. I know that is a lame excuse, but it's true.

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  20. That's amazing that you've gone 10 months - what an accomplishment! I am so impressed by your discipline!

    xx Mollie

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  21. I definitely admire your discipline! That's awesome that you could completely change your mindset and quit added sugar, Tanvi!

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  22. Ah I've always wanted to try this but I have zero self control! YGG

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  23. Wow I should cut some sugar out. My skin needs help and so do my moods!!

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  24. That is such an inspiration.. I need to try cutting down sugar

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  25. Congrats to you, its not an easy task to do but you have done it for the last 10 months, I think I need to start this as well for a more healthy lifestyle and for better skin

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  26. That is so amazing that you've been sugar free for 10 months! I agree that if you start small you can definitely cut or do anything!

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  27. I am trying but I have a sugar weakness. I need to try a little harder

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  28. Love it! you're convincing me to do this again!

    xo Laura Leigh
    http://louellareese.com

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  29. I have been trying really hard to cut back on sugar!!! It’s so bad for you, but ughhh why does it have to taste so good lol

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  30. I always try to cut back on salt and sugar. It's not easy but possible.

    Xx, Nailil
    thirtyminusone.com

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