The one-week quest against sugar

After starting to feel the benefits of porridge, I was convinced that better eating habits could change a lot of things for the better in my life. So I asked Alice (my new nutrition coach) recommendations about what I could improve.

She gave me a fun challenge for the week to come: try and reduce my sugar consumption, banishing pretty much all industrial products containing sugar. She also asked me to do my own research about the benefits of avoiding refined sugar in favour of brown sugar. By doing this research I not only acquired some useful knowledge, but it also taught me how to do my own research about nutrition, something that I didn’t even consider doing before.

Without trying to be scientifically exhaustive, I discovered that:

  • Sugar is quite rare in the natural state (mostly fruits), but it’s fundamental for the brain and body. So thanks to Darwin we sapiens developed a very special taste for sweet things, to incite us to go deeper in the forests and look for more berries. This craving for sugar is now exploited by the food industry to sell more products.
  • Refined sugar is basically sugar with many useful nutrients removed from it.
  • Consuming too much sugar can potentially causes all sorts of health issues.

Alice told me to try and find new sugar sources by eating fruits, maple syrup, honey or dried fruit (I went all-in on dried cranberries as a snack during that week). She also suggested to try out a few recipes to treat myself from time to time, such as an avocado-based chocolate mousse, banana ice-creams and energy bars. I tried two of them so far:

The chocolate mousse was a success!
The energy bars were’t that bad either but there was a bit too much honey and it melted very easily. Need to retry this once I find a blender.

That week fighting against my crave for sugar was quite fun and it wasn’t as difficult as expected. Alice had warned me and said to take it easy if the crave was too strong. But I didn’t feel any specific lack of sugar (maybe the cranberries helped). But more importantly, I experienced a few positive things:

  • My sense of smell improved. For example, walking past the bakery brought all kinds of new images in my mind (OK, that might have been a consequence of a lack of sugar…).
  • I started to eat a lot more fruits.
  • I was able to better appreciate the sweet taste of fruits.
  • I started to feel when things were ‘too sweet’.
  • If I remember well I started to sleep better around this period as well.

Another major positive point is that I realised that I could keep learning about nutrition by myself and try out new recipes. I became actively interested in the subject of food, cooking and nutrition.

The next step in my nutrition adventure came from reading a book called In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto. I will share the main ideas and the consequences it had on my eating habits in the next post.

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