Monday, August 11, 2014

Sugar Sensitivity!


You know how sometimes you just have to let go on a good habit and live a little?  Well, I overdid it a little with sugar this past weekend.


One of the most surprising discoveries I made after I switched to a more Paleo lifestyle this past March is how much sugar affects me.  Up until this year, I hadn't really thought too much about how what I ate affected me; I had just focused on the general advice to try and eat a diet with lot of fruits and vegetables and minimize intake of processed foods.  I figured if I was cooking more of my food or eating freshly made food at restaurants, then I was on the right track.

Although it took me a good 6-8 weeks to give up my addiction to sugar, I did it, and I no longer eat much processed sugar.  I've cut most sugar out of my daily diet.  I used to have the biggest sweet tooth, and could not go an evening without a piece of dark chocolate or a dessert (think brownie, luscious slice of tiramisu, chocolate chip cookie).  I now treat sweets the way I imagine they used to back before cane sugar was readily available: I'll generally have a tiny amount of dessert at a birthday or during the holidays, but even then, I really hold back compared to how I used to enjoy sweets.

There ARE days -- outside of holidays and special events -- when I make poor food choices, and when I do, I quickly remember why I no longer eat those foods.  This weekend was one of those times.  I wasn't paying attention to the sugar in what I was eating, and guess what, I ate too much sugar.  Here are some of the sugar indulgences I partook in on Saturday -- all but one of them made me feel awful afterwards.  In some cases, it was a worthwhile indulgence, but in most of the cases, I realized I am better off without processed sugar in my life!

Hot chocolate - I used to be a big mocha drinker (hello Starbucks!) but now I drink my coffee with just a splash of whole milk.  I only had half of my hot chocolate during brunch and before we even left the restaurant, I had a headache from the sugar in my drink, and then an energy slump afterwards.

Pulled pork sandwich - we went to the local county fair on Saturday and the pulled pork sandwich just sounded too good to pass up.  I tend to forget that most pulled pork is often cooked with or topped with barbecue sauce.  Most barbecue sauces are made with sugar.  The question is, how much sugar.  Apparently, this sandwich had a barbecue sauce with way too much sugar, because I had another energy slump after having the sandwich.

Caramel pecan cheesecake - every once in a while, I have a hankering for cheesecake.  I can make a slice of cheesecake last a surprisingly long time.  I ate a third of my caramel pecan cheesecake ever so slowly.  It was delicious.  Every.  Single.  Bite.  I don't know if it's the fat-sugar ratio or the fact that I ate so little of it, but I did not feel awful afterwards.

Fruit smoothie - this one I should have known better.  It was late afternoon and I was thirsty.  I figured I'd order the smallest size possible -- and then here was the worst part -- I poured a third of it into a separate cup for my son to have (he loves smoothies).  I didn't even finish the remaining two-thirds that were mine, when I realized -- again -- the sugar was too much.

I spent the rest of Saturday drinking lots and lots of water to "flush" out my system.  Then I spent Sunday making good Paleo choices and avoiding all sugar -- including fruit.  By Sunday night I was feeling energetic and happy again.

Do you have a sweet tooth?  What is your relationship with sugar?

8 comments:

  1. I have the WORST sweet tooth. I've been making horrible food choices lately (not specifically sugar, but not good!)... pizza, chips, taco bell! Too much processed crap and not enough REAL food. I was just thinking today I need to get serious about my eating. I feel so much better when I eat clean... but it's like once I have that ONE cheat meal I'm all off track. I should look into paleo more.

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    1. Making choices about what kind of food we should eat is challenging. The first week I went paleo wasn't too bad -- the hardest part was coming up with lots of options on what was OK to eat. The second week was worse because that's when I wanted to return to all the foods I could no longer have. And that's where the sugar cravings were the hardest to battle out.

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  2. Good for you on realizing how sugar negatively affects you. I am with you on the huge sweet tooth. Bad things happen when I get a taste of sugar... MUST EAT ALL THE THINGS. I hate how I feel after that. I've been fighting the sweet tooth since having some fruit lately, but I'm trying to mostly stick to lower sugar stuff like berries for the most part. Gotta have a peach or banana every now & then though. ;)

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    1. I'm "lucky" in that sugar has such a negative effect on me, that I am repelled by the horiffic-ness of the headaches I get when I eat sugar. I can't say that sugar causes me to want to eat all things. It just puts me in such a state of zombieness that I have to lay down and wait for recovery.

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  3. Ohhh I so wrote a comments to this post but apparently my computer keeps eating comments lately. It was long, too. Attempt number two:

    I'm glad you were feeling better on Sunday and got back to eating more paleo :) However, your eats still sound delicious even if they weren't paleo friendly. Cheesecake ooohh yumm!

    My sweet tooth? It's just ridiculous. I could easily eat cake for every meal. or brownies. Or anything with chocolate, but I try to resist giving into my cravings most of the time. I do eat a lot of fruit though.

    Oh, to answer a question you left on my blog - according to my research, white potatoes are now allowed on whole 30. A few of the 'rules' don't make too much sense to me, so I'll see whether or not I'll stick with each and every single restriction.

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    1. The eats were delicious at the time, but then regretted afterwards. My husband has gained quite a bit of weight since he ran his marathon in April. He wants to embrace Paleo as much as possible, as an effort to get rid of the weight. All because he saw how it worked for me.

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  4. I love cheesecake and that is truly one treat I savor and enjoy every now and again. Sugar is funny with me now, I am done with menopause and I have to say for me it took away the natural cycle of cravings I used to get. You know the salty, the sweet...hardly ever happens now. A real craving now seems to be more related to a hard work out or a longer run. I do get the sugar crash if I eat something useless like jelly beans on an empty tummy, but if I've had a meal I don't notice the low feeling as much. I have noticed though because I eat so little bread now, that hot rolls in multiplies (OCharley's for dinner) will leave me needing a nap for sure...even though they taste amazing!

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    1. I always suspected that our hormones had something to do with how we react to food. I noticed that in the first twelve weeks of my pregnancy, my sensitivity to sugar "dipped" but now that I'm past the first trimester, it's like I'm back to "normal". My hormones are less out of whack, I suppose.

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