I’m just a couple of days into this sugar challenge and I already have some thoughts to share. I woke up on day 1 thinking about the big bag of Hershey Kisses that’s residing in our freezer. I hadn’t thought about them in days. As I made tea (rather than coffee) and nibbled at some leftovers from Gravy (eggs and hash browns), I wondered how this would go. My mind kept wandering back to desserts and Gravy’s hot chocolate (it’s amazing), which I had the day before day 1. So I ate a pear and it was wonderful.
At a Winterhawks game later that day, I had an interesting encounter with a Rose Garden staff member. I had brought along a
few almonds and a Larabar in case I needed to snack during the game. We’ve been to the Rose Garden a time or two and I was confident that any bread product there would contain at least one refined sweetener (figuring that Subway bread is comparable [PDF]). I wanted to spare myself the temptation of a hot dog or pizza, so I brought my own snacks. As the guy was looking in my bag, he nudged the Larabar and said “what’s this?” Foiled. While I looked up and raised my eyebrows up to my hairline I considered telling him that I’m gluten-intolerant and what did he expect me to do? I didn’t, and he asked me to just leave the snacks in my purse. Good thing I didn’t bring my own applesauce.
I did as he asked and ended up eating a couple of nachos with cheese dip. It occurred to me that the dip could contain sweeteners, so I stopped eating. After looking up some queso dip online, I found an ingredient list that includes maltodextrin—which isn’t exactly a sweetener—and MSG. That was a bigger surprise to me than the lack of corn syrup. Lesson learned: if you’re trying to eat a healthy diet without rogue ingredients floating around, sporting events are not the best places to get a meal. But really, we all knew that already, didn’t we?
Yesterday I made black bean cookies with toasted hazelnuts and dried unsweetened pineapple instead of chocolate pieces and sweetened cherries. I also whipped up “icing” from coconut milk and creamed honey. They’re delicious and I went a bit overboard because they’re “guilt-free.” I think once they’re gone, I need to try not having dessert per se. Bring on the fruit. By keeping this challenge limited to sugar, I’ve made a lot of processed, unhealthy food acceptable for the week. This has me wondering if I could do a more comprehensive challenge. Maybe something like a vegan challenge (but nothing like Oprah’s—which included mass amounts of highly processed foodstuffs), or a 100% whole food challenge. I think the whole food idea gets more to the point of having a healthy diet.
To sum up, it’s going well. Honestly, it isn’t that hard to avoid added sugars if you’re not typically dependent on packaged or fast foods. We also generally don’t go to casual dining restaurants, where all kinds of added sugar, salt and fat are lurking. All these things make it easier to know exactly what I’m eating.