A Month Without Sugar

PNW
PNW

July has come and gone, can you believe it? That went by so fast. We are are already on the latter part of the year, with a mere five months to go. The summer months here in the Pacific Northwest are a treasured time. We spend quite a few months under the clouds and rain and summers are magical.  I mean, look at this photo I took last weekend from my hike up McClellam Butte off the I-90 corridor!  I find I am happiest when I'm completely surrounded by touring trees, the clean smell of sweet pine sented air and the feel of my legs burning as I climb these magical hills. TI feel at home in the trees. I feel most comfortable in my skin here. I also accomplished a great feet this past month. If you've been reading along this summer you saw that back at the beginning of July I announced that I was quitting sugar for the whole month. You can read more about that here.

July has come and gone and I wanted to share my experiences with you about going sugar free, how I felt, and my learnings and takeaways.

As you know, I followed my friend Alison's program, Sweet Liberation: 30 Days to Kick Sugar to the Curb. I want to begin by saying that this program is it. Alison really knows her stuff.

Alison has been sugar-free for well over 1095 days and counting. Back in 2006, Alison became seriously ill and was later diagnosed with Lyme disease, an inflammatory disease that left Alison spending the last eight years doing everything to take back her health. Here story is incredibly inspiring and as I've grown to know Alison more, this women is full of beauty, grace and has a powerful and heart-centered mission to help others reclaim their own health. You can read more about her story here

One of the ways that she has regained her freedom is by going sugar-free. This program is not only for those with debilitating illness but rather it's for everyone. It demonstrates to all of us that sugar is a huge contributor to increased inflammation and illness in our bodies and something we should reduce if not eliminate completely. 

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WHAT I LEARNED

First and foremost, I want to be as transparent as possible. I don't typically eat a tremendous amount of sugar however I do tend to eat more of the 'natural' forms like maple syrup, honey, dates and anything else along those lines. My main motivation going sugar-free was the fact that I just wasn't sleeping well and dealing with more anxiety then normal. A lot of this, I'm sure, has to do with my divorce and the huge life transition I'm in the midst of but I wasn't 100% convinced that sugar wasn't playing a role either. I have also been suffering from an onset of adult acne again and was curious if sugar was a possible culprit.

Back in September of 2009 I was diagnosed with Candida and when I removed sugar from my diet as part of the protocol to heal my body,  my skin began to glow in ways I've never experienced and my adult acne went away. I was very curious if that was happening again. 

As someone that loves to test my body, the only way for me to be sure was to say bye-bye to the stuff. I also want to say that I cut out everything except alcohol so I was still getting some sugar from that. However, I would recommend cutting out alcohol as well to get the full affects of going sugar free.

In the beginning few days I found myself wanting to reach for a little bit of chocolate after meals. This was normal for me. To finish dinner off with a piece of dark chocolate however, it didn't take too long for that to dissipate. I was actually really surprised at how little I thought about sweets after the initial first few days. I think this was because the Sweet Liberation program is gentle and easy to follow. It starts slow and builds from there and incorporates sugar-free sweet alternatives which are amazingly satisfying so you don't feel deprived.

Sweet Liberation was created brilliantly and you never feel alone on the journey because Alison is popping into your inbox with with daily tips and inspiration to help keep you motivated. This is full of information to help you slowly eliminate sugar and learn healthier alternatives plus recipes to keep you full of energy.

I also have become super aware of how much sugar is in everything, especially prepared foods. I typically don't eat much of them but as I browsed the grocery store aisles I started looking on the back of packaging and was blown away by what is actually in a lot of it for preservation and taste.

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HOW I FEEL/RESULTS

Upon completing the thirty days I felt great. One of the big noticeable results was that I leaned out a lot which wasn't my intention at all. This showed me that sugar actually has more to do with bloating, inflammation and weight gain then I think people truly realize. And it's in EVERYTHING! I think a huge possibility with me leaning out has more to do with the inflammation sugar causes in the body then actual weight loss however. 

I didn't notice too much with my skin and this leads me to believe it is more hormonal and stress related then anything. I also started to do Far-Infared Sauna sessions which detoxes the body by about 17% more then regular saunas so my body could be doing a serious purge from that.

My sleep wasn't affected much either and I now recognize that this has more to do with deeper subconscious stuff then what I'm eating. However, I do believe when you have a diet that is excessive in sugar it CAN affect your sleep. One night when the program was over I decided to try a piece of dark chocolate while my brother, sister-in-law and I watched a movie. Within ten minutes of eating it my heart started beating faster and I had a little kick in my energy which  contributed to me having a harder time falling asleep.

Overall, I just felt lighter and cleaner from the inside out. Anyone that has eaten a super clean diet knows exactly what that feels like.

Alison has truly put together a program that for one, is based on her own personal success story and is also totally realistic and doable for anyone, no matter how much sugar you have in your diet.

You can find out more about Alison's program, Sweet Liberation: 30 Days to Kick Sugar to the Curb here.

I'd love to know: what are your experiences with sugar? When do you tend to turn to the stuff, how do you think it affects your body and what challenges do you face eliminating it from your diet?

What I'm Quitting and Why

quitting

I'm quitting sugar. Yep, I'm quitting the sweet stuff for the whole month of July and to be honest, I'm a little nervous if I don't say so myself.You may be wondering why I've decided to make this huge commitment, especially in the middle of summer when decadent libations and foods are all around us, so let me tell you. Over the last few months I've been reading a lot of my favorite bloggers talking about how they are taking a break from sugar to see how it affects their bodies and it got me thinking and observing how much sugar I am consuming on a regular basis.

I'm going to be honest though. It's evokes a lot of fear within me and to me, this is a sign that I'm on the right path. I don't like being drastic in my diet because of my past issues with food, emotional eating, deprivation and labeling foods as 'bad.' I know what you may be thinking, but you were a vegan? Isn't that as depriving as you can get? 

Actually, no. Eating a predominately plant-based diet is about eating in a way that feels connected to my values and ethical beliefs. However, when my body was telling me I needed to start eating certain things again, I listened and that was an extremely empowering act of self-love and care for me. 

With that being said, I'm a huge advocate for ditching the diet dogmas and learning to eat intuitively and I've been so resistant to eliminating something that I already feel like I don't eat much of to begin with. However, upon more reflection, observation, and digging into more of the effects sugar actually has  our body, I'm ready for this adventure. 

And that is exactly how I am looking at it. I hesitate to label it as a challenge because it automatically puts a negative connotation to it. I believe that any time we do something positive for our lives and bodies, it helps to look at it through adventourous eyes and with great curiosity. And that is what I'm doing. 

So what is this going to look like? Glad you asked!

I'm doing this with the support of my lovely friend Alison Smith's new program, Sweet Liberation: 30 Days to Kick Sugar to the Curb. Although I know that I already have all the tools to do this on my own, what I'm most excited about is the accountability I will get from Alison and her first hand knowledge of living a sugar-free life. I highly recommend you read Alison's story here

Sweet-Liberation-Program-Ad-1024x809
Sweet-Liberation-Program-Ad-1024x809

This means that starting today and for the the whole month of July I won't be eating any forms of sugar.

Most importantly, this isn't about deprivation or restricting sugar to lose weight. That is not my goal. This is about taking an honest look at how sugar may be affecting my body, my sleep, stress levels and my overall energy.

I also have an autoimmune disorder, hypothyroidism and the beginning of Hashimoto's. I want to see how sugar may be affecting this because I've had an increase in symptoms such as fatigue, dry skin, foggy brain and energy issues lately. 

Really, it all comes back to becoming more mindful of what exactly I am putting in my body and why.

It's going to be a little experiment. Like science class!

So, here is my question for you: are you up for a adventure too? Who's willing to do this with me? To participate in this 30 day sugar free challenge all you have to do is sign up for Alison's program, Sweet Liberation: 30 Days to Kick Sugar to the Curb.

What will you get?

» 2 one-on-one coaching sessions on Skype or phone (each session is 45-minutes) » The Sweet Liberation video training series (4 video lectures in total) » The Sweet Liberation Program Guide » The Sweet Liberation Tips & Tricks Video Series (17 videos delivered straight to your inbox throughout the program) » Sugar-Free recipe ideas » Unlimited email support

I will also be writing about my experience going sugar-free so make sure to check back here. In the meantime, leave a comment below if you are interested in joining in on the fun!

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