Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Delving head first into Lent: SUGAR FREE

its me
I've got a sweet face and a sweet personality and a sweet tooth. But since moving to Spain last October its evolved into a small addiction to sugar. I went from never having snacks in the house to hoarding chocolate and eating it for lunch...eating spoonfuls of Nocilla from the tub with reckless abandon and more and more cakes a day. I ate so much sugar my teeth hurt and I think I almost turned into a giant iced bun. And so for lent I've given up naughty treats and added sugar including: chocolates, cakes, ice cream, fizzy drinks, honey, jams and sugar in tea/coffee/porridge.

In order to prepare myself I googled "Foods that make you happy" and tried to plan my meals around these foods. Apparently there are a lot of different vitamins and stuff that help make you happier. My thought process was that I usually indulge in sweet treats if I've had a stressful day, I feel down or homesick. Chocolate is an instant pick me up, but what we all want is really a way to feel happier long-term. Apparently, cashew nuts, salmon and spinach are the answer. (predictably they're also the most expensive things to buy,,,). I also got lots of vegetables and fruits. Some people who cut out sugar completely stop eating fruit and most carbs, which are all sugary and delightful. But I decided fruits have important vitamins and help digestion, so to transition to a lifestyle with LESS sugar it wouldn't be too problematic to keep eating fruit for now.

So far its gone fine, though I did want a waffle at carnival but it feels really good to exercise my self control. When I was still in school and still had a bright future and a really extensive list of extra-curricular activities, I used to be quite a self-controlled young lady. I could actually save money and deny myself cream cakes. But at university I became more relaxed. I forgot I actually had any willpower. Incredible however its been a whole WEEK and I've been doing really well. Only 33 days to go!!!!
The hardest part is breakfast...

What to have for breakfast when you're cutting out sugar

Porridge: I can't eat plain porridge so I've been mashing up a banana while my porridge cooks and then mixing it in. This tastes AMAZING! I read on the internet you can also add a spoonful of peanut butter, which I did this morning and will NEVER do again.
I also tried grating an apple and mixing that in with the porridge as it cooks, with some cinnamon. This is also nice but not as good as banana.

Toast: At work there is always a wonderful array of jams for breakfast. Instead I've had slices banana on butter, just plain butter or stewed apple.

Overnight oats: These are wonderful and creamy and great if you like cold breakfast.
Take a jar/tupperware and put in a carton of yoghurt. Half fill the empty carton with oats and add to the put, then add one yoghurt pot of milk/almond milk. Then add whatever you want, I like mashed banana (that you can microwave for 10/20 seconds which makes it sweeter..), raisins, coconut, stewed apple, dates etcetc. Leave in the fridge overnight and eat on the bus to work!!
This isn't a good one if you don't like dairy.

Sugar-free snacks/desserts
To snack I've been having...
Cashew nuts
Sugar free greek yoghurt (either plain or with stewed apple, dates, banana etc - its best with dates. Its AMAZING with dates, but I found out that's because the dates were covered in syrup hehe)
Stewed apple (its so good)
A glass of fruit jucie mixed with water.
That's it really. I mean if you can't think of anything sugar free to have as a snack, just have a meal.

What to drink if you're cutting out sugar
So I went to carnival last weekend and you have to take your own drinks. As I said I'm still eating fruit and fruit juices, although they're very sugary, so this isn't really a "sugar-free" option but its basically a wonderful alternative to rum and coke.

Pineapple, apple and grape juice (they sell this in Dia in Spain. You can pick any juice, just make sure its juice and not a juice drink/syrup)
Fizzy/carbonated water (not tonic water as this has added sugar)

I mixed this together in  bottles and took it with me. It tasted like Pina Coladas but less sickly!

I've had to replace my sugary intake with more savoury foods and fruits. So I'm not sure if I'm being more healthy or not, but I feel like I am as my fruit intake is definitely higher. Its not been too hard, but then again, its only been seven days!

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