This is one of (hopefully) several guest blogs by my sister Louise.
Mindful of recent headlines and health warnings about the time bomb of obesity and diabetes, she has decided to embark on a sugar detox.
So, for the next 10 days (starting on July 8), she’ll be sharing her experiences here, for good and for bad.
Feel free, as usual, to share your own thoughts below.
I don’t think any of us can have escaped the latest screaming headlines on the obesity epidemic facing us all. Sugar has replaced fat as the font of all evil and how could we not have known?
Maybe something to do with Big Food over the last 40 years and governments colluding with them in servicing ever-cheaper crops, shovelling what appears to be a whole bunch of shit into our foodstuffs and then telling us we had never had it so good.
There exists a term known as “the bliss point”, which food scientists and large food conglomerates strive for in their products. This is the perfect amount of salt, fat or sugar which makes our brains reward centre release endorphins and make us feel good in a similar way to cocaine, heroin and other supermarket staples.
Check out this little lovely from Indiana University. Food for thought indeed.
I digress. I’m 41, not obese, quite active and a single mum to two young girls. As I’d like to see them grow up to become fit and healthy adults, what I put into my body, as well as theirs, is extremely important.
Lately, despite spinning three times a week and cooking from scratch almost every day (sometimes we get pizza), I’m feeling sluggish.
My hips do not lie. However, what do you do? 5:2? Atkins? South Beach? Blood type diet? There are more diets out there but increasing obesity. It is a very confusing and profitable world out there.
So I decided on a sugar detox. It’s not just cutting out sweets and chocolate. For the next 10 days, I will not be allowed dairy, wheat, gluten, caffeine, alcohol, sugar in any form including artificial, beans and legumes, vegetable oils, processed foods and grains.
This is, according to Dr Mark Hyman, how to reset our bodies and stop sugar addiction. The above list sounds and is prohibitive, but I can eat all vegetables (except potatoes), chicken, eggs, fish, nuts, avocados, extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil and certain berries and seeds for protein breakfast smoothies.
All natural and without preservatives. Along with some very pricey supplements and Epsom salts with lavender oil for a big old bath every night to reward myself.
Right, off we pop.
In the book, you are advised to take two days to prep yourself and detox your kitchen before embarking on this diet.
Bollocks. The girls and I took off for Whole Foods in Giffnock armed with a long list of stuff and me jonesing for a coffee. I resisted.
A woman in the mind-bogglingly comprehensive nutrition section smelt my fear and fetched me what I needed. After my two selfish children begged for cupcakes in the face of my impending austerity plan, it was a quick stop at the checkout for an assistant in a Dick Turpin mask to come and relieve me of a small fortune.
In case of emergency, take two ibuprofen. I took three. The headache continued all night, as did my two-year-old.
I decided to use my prep day just to ease myself into things. Organic almond butter? Actually rather lovely. Black sesame seeds scattered over a crunchy chicken salad? Delish. Caffeine-free Earl Grey? A bit pish.
All was going quite swimmimgly until about 6 pm when a dull headache started. Have more Vitamin C, the book said. I did. Breathe deeply for five minutes. I did. In case of emergency, take two ibuprofen. I took three. It continued all night, as did my two-year-old.
I didn’t get the uninterrupted seven or eight hours you’re supposed to. I didn’t get up this morning and do a sun salutation either. But I woke, had hot water with lots of lemon and got through the morning with no coffee.
All in all, despite the headache, I certainly didn’t feel hungry and I did make spin class this morning. So far, so good.