On October 12 I stopped eating all refined sugar and flour. I went cold turkey, which for me is usually pretty easy. I just set my mind and say ‘from this day forward’… and then I do it. But I was not prepared for how difficult this would be.
What precipitated my decision was the evening of October 11 I ate 4 cookes while reading a book. Within 5 minutes and while sitting up I took a mini-nap and woke up 10 or 15 minutes later feeling totally wired. Like almost a buzzing sensation. Besides that I noticed for awhile I could easily take 10 naps a day. If I sat down, or laid down to watch TV, I could take a power nap no problem. At least I thought they were power naps. Also for many years I thought I was hypo-glycemic. If I got hungry I would soon feel sweaty and shaky and feel my blood sugar plummet until I ate something.
Anyway, it seemed to me falling asleep immediately after eating sugar was not normal. My internet searches confirmed this, in fact many people with diabetes have this problem. Like mini-diabetic comas.
So I made the goal to quit sugar and refined flour for a week and see what happened. But then I began having some pretty major sugar withdrawal symptoms – nausea, night sweats, tiredness, tingling hands, flu-ish symptoms, and worst of all really bad sugar cravings. This all lasted about 2 weeks, with the sugar cravings lasting another 2 or so weeks after that. Also I noticed these last couple weeks some mood swings as my body rid itself of the sugar and got back to normal. I know for sure I have lost some weight, which was definitely not one of my goals.
Since I began this I read someplace on the internet that sugar should be considered a drug. It is manufactured, you get addicted to it, when you try to quit you have withdrawal symptoms, and it takes more and more of it to feel the sugar buzz. Eventually it can kill you if you develop diabetes and leave it untreated. They say the withdrawal symptoms are exactly the same as someone withdrawing from a drug addiction, although to a much less degree.
One of the more difficult aspects was figuring out what to eat. I used to eat a lot of granola bars (candy bars in disguise), and even things like sweetened yogurt are loaded with sugar. Then there’s chocolate milk, sweetened soy milk, and ice cream – all of these have a ton of sugar. So besides all the withdrawal symptoms you have to retrain your food choices. This also is pretty tough.
Now that I’m through the whole process there are many benefits. When I’m hungry I’m just hungry. I can be hungry for quite awhile and I have no hypoglycemic effects. My energy level stays constant throughout the day. I don’t need naps anymore. I awake feeling more refreshed. Normal food has a lot more flavor and sweetness all to itself – did you know lettuce is sweet? I think way back somebody knew this which is why the French (and probably other countries) eat their salads at the end of the meal.
Anyway, this was a really tough journey. So much harder than I thought it would be. But I feel so much better now I am going to continue to limit my sugar and refined flour intake.