Day 24 of no sugar, refined carbs or alcohol, and still alive and kicking! It’s got to be said, I would be singularly appreciative of a beer right now. And being as I started the no alcohol part of this month a few days early, I am seriously considering breaking that aspect of the fast a bit early! I shall see how virtuous I am feeling tomorrow…
So how has it been for me, without sugar or ready carbs? To be honest, I have enjoyed having a reason to cut these out of my diet. You know when you know that you probably don’t really digest bread well, but it slips into your diet, because it is convenient? Stating to myself that I am not eating bread this month meant that I just cut out that convenience, and found alternatives or just did without.
And did I really not have sugar or carbs? I have to admit – during the month, I helped escort my daughter’s school to an excursion to Melbourne on a 38degree day. So when the principal offered everyone, including myself, an icy pole, did I take one? Hell yes! There are days, there are reasons and there are exceptions to every rule. That was definitely one… And when my husband brought home iced donuts, right in the middle of my fast, I didn’t take a bite, I took a photo!
On the whole, I have avoided sugar and carbs without a problem. I did allow some fruit, and I am aware that there are sugars in foods such as baked beans, nuts and natural yoghurt, but my concept was no added sugar, other than what is in food. And on the whole, I stuck to my plan. I got very accustomed to drinking soda water or plain mineral water with a squeeze of lemon, and probably drank more water than usual because of this.
We all eat too much sugar, whether in ignorance, preference or laziness. As with most things, once you realise that you are doing this, you have a choice in how you go ahead. Is sugar bad? Not necessarily, but large amounts of sugar can be. The World Health Organisation (WHO) sets our healthy daily intake at 30g sugar per day – 6 teaspoons. This will be in our every day fruit and vegetables without a single lolly, biscuit, soft drink, or piece of bread. Research is showing that by eating sugar laden breakfast cereal, biscuits, soft drinks, juice and lollies, 76% of children are eating far in excess of their recommended limit. By eating too much sugar, this is creating diseases not previously seen in children, such as type 2 diabetes and fatty liver disease, both usually associated with alcohol intake. If you care about your health, or that of your family, consider cutting back your sugar intake.
I did have one day when I realised I craved a beer – I was setting up my new Naturopathic clinic, and there comes a time in the middle of putting together the 3rd of four flatpack cupboards, that a girl knows that a beer would really help make an onerous task a little easier… I didn’t have one, but I recognise that there are times in life when frustrations go smoother with something to take the edge off. Or you can just take a deep breath, walk away for a minute or two, and come back and know that every frustration is just a perception which changes with a different view.
And did it have any effect on me? I will weigh and measure again, but at this stage, I lost a little over a kilo in weight, and a few cm on the hips. Nothing groundbreaking, but I was not doing this to lose weight, I was changing my way of eating to reduce intake of unnecessary sugar. I did notice more looseness on my abdomen, which initially I thought was increased mass, but which I realised was actually loss of fat, which left more loose skin – mmm, nice… This is a short term issue which I suspect I can resolve over time.
What I have particularly enjoyed is feeling more clear in the mornings, both from having no alcohol and from less allergies, which I tend to suffer in response to drinking alcohol. This, in some ways, is enough to make me consider reducing my general alcohol and sugar consumption, if it helps to control my allergies.
So to anyone else who has embarked upon FebFast, or any other variation of this break month, well done! It’s nearly over, and it has allowed those of us who chose to make this break, to see an alternative way of eating for improved health. And just because the month of fasting is over, does not mean that we have to go back to our old ways. Choose to understand the difference between eating what is easy and what is healthy, and allow your body to flourish by making choices which benefit the body, not slow it down.