Two months ago I declared war on sugar, on Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Gobstoppers, on orange juice and molasses-sweetened bread. In the comments section of that post, you generously shared with me tips and tricks from your own battles with sugar, many of which I’ve called upon over the last several weeks.
So did I win? Did I vanquish sugar for life?
Here’s a dispatch from the field:
1. I’m eating far fewer cracker-y treats than I used to. Instead of swiping my kids’ Goldfish or Annie’s bunnies mid-afternoon, I’ve been following Lisa‘s advice to grab something with protein instead. I love nuts – I’m downright nuts for them! – and a handful of nuts or trail mix has become my go-to snack. I’ve also been mindful of eating some protein at breakfast, usually some cheese or a spoonful of peanut butter. (Have I mentioned I really like nuts?) This seems to help keep my sugar cravings at bay.
2. I’ve realized the fundamental truth of Milka‘s comment, linking lack of quality sleep to sugar cravings and encouraging me to focus on sleeping better if I want to reduce my yen for sugar. Over the past two months, I have seen strong evidence this connection. I make much better eating choices on days when I’ve slept well the night before. On days after I’ve, say, stayed up way too late watching not one but TWO UConn basketball teams bring home national championships and then all of the post-game interviews that followed, I’ve been far more likely to succumb to sugar’s siren song.
3. Taking a page from Andrea‘s book, I’ve become more of a “dessert snob.” I’ve tried to be very mindful of not eating sweets that I don’t even like (hey, Peeps up there, I’m looking at you) just because they’ve come home in a goody bag from a child’s birthday party. I’m still eating desserts, but trying hard not to consume what Michael Pollan would call “edible foodlike substances.”
4. I’m also working to eliminate artificial sweeteners, and with pretty good success so far. I’ve been reading more about the way that sugar substitutes trick our brains into not associating sweetness with calories, often making us crave more sweetness to scratch that sugar itch, and have been phasing them out in order to help reset my palate.
As for my beloved Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups? They’re still around.
Are they the world’s healthiest treat? Not by a long shot, but, as far as processed food goes, they’re not the worst offenders either. And I really, really like them. So I’ve decided that they can stay. For now at least.
Whether your week brings you Easter candy, Passover macaroons, or none of the above, may all of your days be sweet ones.