"Sugar-free" is a misnomer as applied to Elizabeth and I, because we aren't actually going "sugar-free". The term "fructose-free" better describes our goal here. According to our research (which is largely based on information provided by www.sarahwilson.com/au and www.21daysugardetox.com), its all about how your body processes the different kinds of the sweet stuff that matters. And, the human body just doesn't do all that well with fructose. I'm not going to list all the negative effects that fructose has on the body . . . not today. But, what you need to know is
You probably don't care all that much about the sciencey stuff, anyway. If you are reading this, you probably just want to skip ahead to the part where I talk about how whacked out and emotionally unstable the lack of sugar is making me or how deprivation resulted in me accidentally putting my cat in the oven . . . but I'm not there yet. Stay tuned though. Things may change.
As I was researching, two facts kept jumping out at me:
- When we eat, our bodies generate appetite suppressing hormones that tell us when we are full. This makes us higher beings than, say, the horse that will eat itself to death. However, when we eat sugar, our bodies do not operate this way and do not tell us that we are full. This explains why, even when my cheeks are still full of cakeballs, my hand reflexively extends and grabs another one for my pocket . . . and another one for my purse. It also explains why I
can'tdon't supress the urge to immediately shove those little balls of wonder in my cake hole, and I end up eating them faster than my eight year old can say, "A moment on the lips is forever on the hips." [And, yes, I recognize that he may need therapy one day to deprogram him but I figure that his dad and I are giving him plenty of reasons to seek therapy. He might as well get his money's worth.]
- The body's reaction to fructose is to convert it directly to fat. This is true even for "natural" and "healthy" sugars such as those found in honey and maple syrup.
Well, crap on a cracker, I thought. It may just be that the fruit that I choose over donuts and the honey that I choose over jelly may be the culprit for my muffin top.
There are probably hundreds of programs for quitting sugar. Both Sarah Wilson and the 21-Day Sugar Detox have their own. I find Sarah White's program to be a lot less rigid and less whiplash inducing. I like that she emphasizes that this should be treated as "an experiment," and that it doesn't have to last forever unless you want it to. Additionally, she doesn't completely outlaw all complex carbs (rice and whole grain crackers, whole grain bread, brown rice, etc.), and she encourages dairy. Because I dig her stuff so much and because she looks like this,
I'm going to refer to her as the Sugar Goddess, which I recognize is also a misnomer since sugar never passes her perfectly-shaped, goddess-like lips.
In contrast, even the beginner's version of the 21-Day Sugar Detox prohibits all refined carbs, a lengthy list of vegetables, legumes, and beans. That is why I will refer to them as the Sugar Nazis. In all honest, their program looks great, but I can't imagine doing it for more than 21 days. Lent is something like 40 days long. If I give all that up, I'm going to be completely unbearable to live with. Ask my family, and they'll tell you that I'm not always that much fun anyway. Just tonight, my husband (who thought it would be cool to be given a nickname on here and will be referred to as the Grouch) told me, "You need to stop coming at me. I'm a nice guy." Imagine what a sweetheart I would be if I gave up all carbs that aren't green and leafy. And chickpeas. I can't give up chickpeas.
So, what exactly does a person have to give up when going fructose free? This is what I pulled out of my cabinets and refrigerator: