No Sugar #1 – The Slow Home Experiment

No Sugar #1 - Slow Home Experiment

Today marks the beginning of the Great Slow Living Experiments Experiment on the podcast! In case you missed it, Ben and I have given our bodies and brains to science* in the name of testing a variety of slow living approaches.

Part of the reason we’re tackling these experiments is to simply share our experiences in trying to adopt more slow living into our day-to-day. We’ve been so inspired by the guests on the podcast over the past 9 months and are excited to pull some of their actions and behaviours into our daily lives.

The other reason is a simple one of mindfulness. It’s so easy to slip into a place of mindless living (the exact opposite of mindful living) and actively engaging these changes every month means we’re paying attention, challenging our assumptions and expanding ourselves. And there’s nothing more intentional than that!

So every month we choose one experiment to focus our attention on, and each Monday we release a podcast where we talk about our experience to date. And today is the very first one!

February sees us giving up processed sugar, in an attempt to become more mindful of what we’re eating.

Both of us have been guilty, regularly, of slipping in to boredom/emotional/habitual eating and the conversations I’ve had with various guests on the podcast have inspired us to get back to mindful eating in a very big way. It made sense to cut out sugar first, as that’s one of the biggest drivers for my personal mindless eating (give me all the chocolate in the house right now pleasethankyouverymuch) and one that’s currently very popular.

So a few days ago we began. And it wasn’t pretty…

*Not really science. Just us.

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Show Notes

The Rules of the No Sugar Experiment:

  • No processed sugar at all (soft drinks, biscuits, chocolate, white breads etc)
  • No alcohol – even though some are low fructose, we’re going the whole hog here
  • Cutting back on fruit but not eliminating it completely. We plan on having  a small amount of blueberries or half a banana in green smoothie.

Coping strategies (possibly effective, possibly not):

  • Drink lots of water
  • Be prepared with sugar-free snack options like carrot sticks and hummus
  • Recognise when I’m bored or stressed and do something else, like slacklining or some deep breathing.

Why we might find it easy:

  • We don’t drink soft drinks
  • We don’t eat much chocolate, cake or biscuits (because I don’t buy it. If I buy it, I eat it.)
  • I’ve been cutting back on sugar over the past couple of weeks so it should be a gentler entry into No Sugar Town.
  • We both drink our tea and coffee unsweetened with no milk
  • When we drink alcohol, it’s usually red wine or vodka and soda, and beer for Ben. None of these are particularly sugar-y so that might help?

Why we might find it hard:

  • One of my favourite snacks is a piece of cheese with a dried date. Dried fruits are out this month. ARGH.
  • When I get emotional/hormonal I tend to go for sweet things. Our kids start school this week so I might be a little emotional…
  • I snack when I’m bored or procrastinating. PROCRASTISNACKING.
  • Tasty, savoury sauces and condiments, like mayo and sriracha are usually packed with sugar so we’ll need to find alternatives.

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9 Responses to No Sugar #1 – The Slow Home Experiment

  1. You’re so encouraging! I’m not Catholic, but I tend to give something up for Lent because I like the nice, round number and defined period. Last year I gave up soda. This year, I think I’ll give up sugar! I’m preparing myself mentally to do it and comforting myself with the fact that Easter falls on my birthday this year, so a sugar detoxed body, or the ability to eat sweets again, is going to be an awesome birthday present!

  2. Thanks guys, so interesting to hear your day 3. We have quit sugar before and have done the 10 week paleo plan, and now eat mostly grain, dairy and sugar free but it’s amazing where it creeps in! Your talking about preparation totally hits home with me, its totally the key to staying on track, all the nibbly carrot sticks etc, and try eating lots of good fats – people say you won’t be craving sugar if you’re full with fat. Avocado is good, coconut oil (if you can stomach it, some people take a whole spoonful at a time – personally I can’t quite get there). Years ago my husband and I did the Liver Cleansing Diet, and in retrospect it is funny how unprepared we were, leaving us walking around in a hypoglycaemic, aching, delirious, starving haze! We knew what we couldn’t eat, but not what we could! Preparation for what you CAN eat is key.
    Happy sugar free February, and thanks for the podcasts, love listening to them

    :)

  3. Hi Brooke,
    You might like to read up on Whole 30 if you’re really wanting to eat more mindfully. There are two books and a website with loads of info. See http://Www.whole30.com for more info. I’m just finishing my second Whole 30 and you’d be amazed at how healthy and well it makes you feel to just eat real food. Good luck in your No sugar challenge. It’s a great start.

    I’ve been in your Facebook group for Declutter Challenge for 2 years now and admire all you’ve done.

  4. I did a similar No Sugar challenge in September but I wasn’t strict about limiting fruit. That time of year I usually eat 1.5 cups of cantaloupe for breakfast and snack on an apple later in the day. Maybe a banana a few times a week.

    It was an interesting experiment. I didn’t think I was eating all that much sugar before but I discovered how often I would automatically reach for something sweet. A piece of chocolate added to my grocery store purchase, a Cliff Z Bar for the mid morning blood sugar crash, etc.. What I found interesting was how much peanut butter I found myself eating. Not a crazy unhealthy amount but it really satisfied my cravings.

    I also became much more aware of how much sugar my kids were eating which wasn’t much compared to the SAD but I did cut back on things. I put much less sugar in the bake oatmeal they eat every other weekday and they now get only peanut butter sandwiches. No jelly. They’ve mostly been okay with the changes. Especially since my 9 y/o’s teacher did a lesson on added sugar and he’s been on board with cutting back.

    What was interesting is to note that my core food issues (life long struggle with weight, finally got to a healthy weight three years ago) aren’t necessarily sugar related. Even though it is a food I have to manage carefully. I have gone back to allowing some in my diet but not nearly as much as I was eating before. The holidays are always challenging but this year I didn’t go off the rails nearly as much.

  5. Hi Brooke, I understand your no sugar challenge is an experiment, and I can agree to it only as an experiment. But I refuse to accept it as a mindful eating. I definitely feel that everyone should reduce their sugar intake and avoid added sugars. But cutting down on all forms of sugar, like fruits, dairy, nuts etc will leave you with little other than meat and fats to eat, which is not a healthy option at all. I wish you luck with your experiment but I hope you return to mindful eating instead of sticking to the extremities.

    • Thats OK, Kamala, you don’t need to agree with it. :) Since beginning the experiment two weeks ago I have found a huge increase in my mindfulness in regards to food, so I absolutely see this as a practice in mindful eating. I’m thinking clearly about what I put in my mouth, how it will make me feel and the nutrition I receive from the food I choose to eat. We’re still eating dairy, nuts and some fruit so there’s no need to be concerned about our diet – in fact I think it’s more well-rounded than it was pre-experiment and is certainly not an extreme diet.

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