Today I'm picking up where I left off in my updated health post regarding my sugar/cacao free diet plan for the next month, and how I am making it possible. Ideally I should be off sugar completely for a few years, as a result of all the damage I've done overdosing on sugar over the years. Instead, my goal is to take it one step at a time.
After going completely off cacao for 3 1/2 months, I proved to myself that I AM capable of going without, and I've vowed to take breaks every so often from now on. Some people can easily eat cacao occasionally (for many women it's during their time of the month) - not me. It's just like the person who cannot eat just one cracker or chip - funny, I AM someone who can eat just one cracker. But I have never been able to eat only a small piece of chocolate, or just a few bites of dessert.
On December 26, I went off sugar and cacao completely. For a while I will not even be having stevia or berries, but will reintroduce low glycemic sweeteners in a few weeks. Leading up to Christmas, I knew I had to take the step - but it was only on Christmas day that I actually decided to go for it.
Here's how I did it:
- The important thing for me was to tell myself that I WILL eat and enjoy these foods again. If I thought it had to be this way for the rest of my life, I never would have started, in fear of the deprivation.
- I have a willingness to do what is necessary for my health and mental emotional well being - this is big and what I believe to be a huge factor in avoiding self sabotage. From what I know, sometimes we don't think we deserve true health or happiness, or there is a long standing negative belief that is standing in the way of achieving health goals (or any goal, for that matter). I have done a lot of work with a spiritual therapist named Ria Caro (email me if you'd like her #) over the years to get to the bottom of why I use sugar, and it has helped tremendously.
- On a physical level, I have been giving my body lots of great fuel - specific low glycemic foods. Denyse has me on a high protein diet containing a lot of high quality animal products (much like a Paleo diet, and the meat/fish I eat is wild). While I know this appears scary to some people, I attribute the animal protein to my success. For the first time since becoming a vegetarian at the age of 14, I feel truly satisfied after a meal. I feel GOOD, and much more balanced eating this way. To me, this is a true test. Of course it's not for everyone - I know people who thrive on a raw vegan diet, and I did well for a while too. (I'll go more into my diet tomorrow).
- I eat small meals every few hours throughout the day to prevent energy crashes and cravings.
- I've dropped the idea of "eat light until afternoon". Despite the fact I did it for 13 years (juice, smoothie, or fruit), I don't think it worked very well for me, because I would often overeat at dinner, or would end up craving/eating sugary things most of the day (fresh/dried fruit, raw desserts, cacao). I now eat something substantial in the morning. Usually I have a salad with wild moose meat, or eggs and veggies.
Recap - My strategy for going off sugar:
1. I told myself it would only be for a while - that way my mind doesn't freak out and feel deprived.
2. A willingness to take the action required for my health.
3. Eating a high protein diet which includes animal products.
4. Eating every few hours.
5. I start off with a solid, low glycemic meal in the morning.
There you have it. A few steps and voila. It's been the most effortless thing and I'm still a bit in shock because I've tried to cut out sugar before and I never lasted. I was plagued with cravings and "no willpower" - but now I see that it's nothing to do with will power. I think that my body is getting what it needs, so it doesn't need to search out anything else.