This year will mark the 6th year of being refined sugar free. After being diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes I radically changed my diet and lifestyle, and eliminated refined sugar, highly processed foods, along with gluten, dairy and animal products (in the last couple of years). I went cold turkey initially, and I can say that this option is probably not the best for most, but it worked for me at the time.
I implemented rigid ‘rules’ concerning my diet and deciphered what I could and would not eat. I did my research (extensively) and made personal decisions according to how I felt and what effect certain foods had on me and my body. These days, however, I am not as ‘strict’ as I used to be and have tilted towards a more kinder approach to my diet and the foods I eat.
Kinder towards myself meaning I don’t allow my inner critic, which always has ‘something’ to say, to rule my choices. I still do not consume refined sugar, but for example have introduced low GI natural sweeteners, when I feel that sweet tooth kick in.
Helpful Points to Staying Refined Sugar Free
There are certain points that I feel have helped me considerably when it comes to staying away from refined sugar, and those are what I’d like to share with you today.
- Learn to Read Labels – Learning to read food labels and actually understanding them has been such a vital part in steering clear of refined sugar. Getting to know the ingredients in the products I pick up off the shelves, and what their sugar content is has been so beneficial. Not only does it help you keep away from those laden with sugar and artificial crap (I DO NOT EAT NUMBERS!!!), it also opens you’re eyes to what your ‘food’ actually consists of, as well as recommended serving sizes which could surprise you! This post and this post can really assist you in learning how to read food labels.
- Mindset Change – I have learnt to change the way I think about ‘not eating sugar’ and rather seeing it not as deprivation, but to focus more on all the healthy delicious sweet option I can have and add to my diet. These days there are so many refined sugar meals and treats all over the place, with cafes and restaurants offering more an option for this too. If you can’t find any raw refined sugar free treats near you, then rest assured that Google has your back, and shares a wealth of recipes (including mine) from all over the globe from wonderful people making amazing healthy treats that’ll leave you wondering why you ever needed refined sugar in the first place.
- Awareness – Get back in touch with your body, and taking note of how you feel after eating something that’s laden with refined sugar. That amazing sugar high and that God awful sugar crash! Once we begin to be more aware of how the food we eat affects us, we tend to lean towards foods that sustain our energy and make us feel amazing while still ticking the ‘treat box’ at the same time.
- Release the Need – Once you are open to healthy sweet alternatives, the need for that chocolate bar or bag of sweeties begins to diminish. You’ll eventually not even think of them anymore and those thoughts will be replaced with ones that support and nourish your body. It’s just how this shift in lifestyle goes, you release the need for that crappy food and become excited for delicious, healthy foods and treats.
- Education – When you begin to learn more about the harmful effects sugar has on the body, you’re choices should be impacted. This article explains the effects of sugar in the body, and is quite an eye opener. ” Sugar, or fructose, has no nutrients. It only contains calories that can create a host of health problems from your head to your toes. This includes all added sugars, whether processed, refined, or natural. People of all ages should reduce their intake of added sugar from all sources.”
- Notice the Change – You’ll begin to notice the change in your skin and how your body feels. You’re brain fog disappears and is replaced with energy. You’re no longer fighting your body for that sugar fix, but nourishing it contently with goodness. You won’t want to revert to old habits once you’ve seen the difference a change in diet can do.
- Be Kind to Yourself – Always come back to the fact that you are trying the best you can to do the best for you and your body, so if you do slip up, accept it and move forward. Don’t beat yourself up, be kind to yourself and your body. Everything takes time and ultimately health is a journey and not a destination.
- Have Fun – I’m such an advocate in making eating healthy fun. Gone are the days of conventional thinking and now is a time to shift to a new mindset of what being healthy actually is. We don’t see it as a chore, but have the most fun everyday with it. Always learning and finding out new exciting things, experimenting, getting inspired and playing around with creative food ideas, and just enjoying it. That’s the way it should be, and for me, that’s the way it is. I aspire to inspire everyone to find the fun in being healthy and ultimately happy.
If you’d like to listen to me discuss this post, I’ve left a recording below. It’s un-edited, just me, speaking my mind and my truth. Hope you enjoy!