It has been four
months since I purchased a regular chocolate bar or packet of sweets. This is nothing
short of a miracle and a record in my adult life. I haven’t cheated by eating other people’s
sweets either. And do you know what, I don’t crave or miss them. 100% chocolate
is tempting, but too expensive to buy on a regular basis for the amount you get. With recent publicity about the amount of
hidden sugar in our food I felt it was time to start reducing my intake. If I had the time to dedicate to food
preparation it wouldn’t be so difficult to eliminate refined sugar at all. Of course I still consume other naturally
found sugars such as those found in milk, fruit and honey, which, according to
my estimation, provides me with a daily intake that still exceeds the
recommended daily intake of sugars, so it’s a bit of a mine field. In cutting out too much food containing sugar, one runs the
risk of missing out on other essential nutrients needed for the body, and sugar
isn’t all bad for you.

I recently had a
birthday. During the week that followed I comsumed more cake than I would
normally eat combined from the remaining 51 weeks of the year. It has become something of a
tradition at my work place to eat cake when someone has a birthday. I
could say no thank you, but feel that would be rude since someone has gone to
the effort of providing it. The same dilemma
occurs on visiting people in their home or eating out. Is it too rude to ask your host or the chef
how much sugar has been used in the cooking? What does that say about me to
other people, too picky, too awkward? I don’t want other people to go to any
trouble just for me. It brings to mind the phrase, ‘a little of what you fancy
does you good’. (Note to self: Not everything
in cake is bad for you).

So, what about the alternatives? I admit to going over the top at bit at the
beginning and found myself going out of my way to replace the chocolate. I’ve
calmed down now. I purchased a book on
going sugar free, and trawled the internet for sugar free recipes. There are a lot of good things out there, and not just the naughty treats. Fresh fruits blitzed with yoghurt and frozen into ice lollies are
great. Look out for fruit loops and fruit and nut bars that contain no added sugar, found in all
good supermarkets and health food stores (more fruit I’m afraid). Eat nuts for desert, and fruit of
course. Change to unleavened bread which does not contain sugar. (I recently bought a bread maker, so will be
experimenting with non-sugar recipe loaves of bread). Eat foods that leave you
feeling fuller for longer to lessen your craving for those snacking foods we
reach for. Look at the ingredients before buying a product. It’s not all bad, some foods you think might
have added sugar in don’t. Stop buying
those ready-made pasta sauces and make your own, even down to making your own
baked beans. All of you die-hard cooks out there may be laughing and saying, ‘I
already make my own sauces, what’s the big deal’. Well, it’s just not that easy
for everyone. And if you truly do treat your body like a temple, then
I’m proud of you. Discipline and dedication are key.

For me at least I
think this much is true, everything in
moderation. I don’t have an especially sweet tooth but cannot eliminate
refined sugar completely from my diet, at least for now.

Remember, If you must snack, snack responsibly.