Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Sugar Dump Week 1: 9g/day... Fail?

One week of NO SUGAR (well, refined sugars to be specific) down ...aaannnd... How'd I do?

Excellent...yet failed miserably at the same time!
As promised, I have been keeping record of what I'm eating each day to track my sugar intake. I've kind of categorized things in 3 ways:
     - Naturally occurring sugars (like those in fruit)
     - Natural sweeteners (like honey, agave)
     - Refined Sugars (sugar, high fructose corn syrup)

With the first two, it's hard to track my sugar intake unless they are being used within another food that I bought at a store and the nutritional info is listed. For example, I've eaten a lot of grapes and pineapple this week... NO idea the sugar on those so they are not included in my totals; I simply mark them on my sheet to denote I DID get sugar from them. (Although I'm sure I could research online and get the info easy enough.) On the other hand, I bought a bag of apples and they had nutritional info.... 16g of sugar per (what they considered a) small apple! Perfect example of why there is absolutely NO reason to ever add sugar to your diet!

And I'll tell you one thing I've already learned... What's the fastest way to get me to refill the honey pot? Tell me I can't have sugar!! Our squeeze bear and our honey pot have both been empty for a couple of months now... We have VERY limited honey left from what we extracted two years ago (plus it's a sticky mess to refill), so both Mingus and I have put off refilling either... But, let me tell you, two days into no sugar you can bet I was digging out what honey we had left!

But, the point is, I did consume honey last week... in multiple things... I can't really track that one either, assuming it brings some type of sugar into my system. 

So total, for what I could track--of good and bad sugars--I consumed 233g last week, averaging 33g a day. How much was refined sugar? 63g... 27% of it. I averaged 9g of refined sugar a day even when I was cutting out everything to the best I could!! Now just imagine how much sugar I have been getting on a daily basis when I WASN'T cutting it out? When I was enjoying bagels, instant oatmeal, ice cream, chocolate...

So here's where my refined sugar came from:
  • Pasta Sauce: It's REALLY hard to find it without sugar... And we figured we didn't want to throw out what we already had open so this was definitely our biggest downfall. The Ragu we had contained 12g in 1/2 a cup of sauce!!
  • Ketchup: We LOVE our Brook's ketchup... Bad news... It has high fructose corn syrup :( But, again, we didn't want to waste what we already have open, but it has 5g/2T!
  • Store-bought breads: hotdog and burger buns plus any bread. I guess I need to get back to making my own and not just bumming a loaf a week off of my mom! These breads had 3g/serving... And sugar was actually listed as an ingredient. I'm sure our bread has sugar, but in the natural way and from the honey.
  • Balsamic Vinegrette Dressing: It's open in our fridge and for the little bit that is in there I have gone ahead and used it on the salads I made this week.... 4g/2T...
  • Ritz Crackers: For the record, I only ate a few... Because the packet was already open and would go bad if they sat for 40 days!
So, you can see, it's not like I was consuming the obvious sugar-loaded foods. In fact... most of the things we ate that had refined sugar were very minor amounts (in comparison to most sugar foods), but it adds up so quickly! Again, if I'm getting 9g/day and really trying to keep the stuff out... just imagine the overload we all get when we're not paying attention?

Has it been hard? Yes and no. 

Ironically, the hardest and most tempting place I've been has been church! Darn the good people and their delicious baked goods!! Both on Ash Wednesday and after Sunday mass there was food in the basement. I know I gave myself the "cheat once a week" rule and I was SO tempted to use it this past Sunday, but I opted out... I knew if I just got out of there I wouldn't regret not touching any of those donuts or pastries... 

The other hard part is breakfast... Not so much at home. I have been fixing oatmeal, but last Friday I headed out early. There was absolutely nowhere I could stop and grab something to eat, particularly because, in combination with the no sugar, as a Catholic I don't eat meat on Fridays... so no breakfast sandwiches either. At least I thought of my limited options before I left the house and I grabbed an apple... (16g of sugar right there--but natural!)

I did make a trip to Whole Foods to shop for items we needed (spaghetti sauce) and items I could use for snacking throughout the day. (This breastfeeding thing keeps me hungry constantly!) While I did not find teriyaki sauce or pasta sauce with zero sugar... I did find it with either organic cane sugar, cane syrup or agave syrup instead. In fact, everything I got at whole foods that had some amount of sugar content, I was able to get with one of those natural, organic sugars/sweeteners.

How did the shopping trip turned out?

Having new, safe, healthier snack options in the house has saved me big time! It's kind of funny when I think about it... I thoroughly enjoy snacking on what my options have been this week: grapes, pineapple, apples, sesame sticks, dried fruit and nuts, rice crackers, sweet potato chips, peanut butter... I think my past problem has been two fold: (a) I have bad sweets available in the house (b) As long as those sweet treats are there, the 'healthy' snacks don't appeal.

Mingus has been happy with his decision to nix the sugar as well. While we don't keep soda on hand, he typically drinks it for lunch and cutting it is definitely helping him. We've enjoyed a lot of popcorn for our late night snack (no microwave of course). 

Oh... And I have found my ice cream substitute: plain organic yogurt with honey and a drop of vanilla... Yum!!

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