Sugar, sugar

Where I live, March is nutrition month in schools. We talk about the four food groups, portion sizes, basically, how to have healthy eating habits. Since my students spend three years with me, I don’t do the same activities each year.

This year, the focus is on sugar. Where it comes from, how it’s transformed, what kind of sugar your body needs, what foods contain sugar. My theory is, the more kids know about their food and what it does for their body, good or bad, the better equipped they’ll be to make healthy choices.

I wanted them to understand exactly how much sugar most people eat without even realizing it, so we read the nutritional labels from their snacks and wheighed it out. They were amazed at how much sugar is in such small snacks.

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I also included some images of high-sugar drinks and foods, like soda and chocolate, so they would understand why they’re told “you can’t eat that, it has too much sugar.”

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I did this activity for the kid’s benefit, but it got me thinking. I try to eat well. I’ve cut most gluten out of my diet, I eat a lot of fruits and vegetables (although not a huge variety), I drink plenty of water, I don’t drink coffee. But. I like sweet things. Cake, cookies, chocolate, ice cream, soda. I eat more than I should.

So I’ve decided to cut out sugar. I don’t know for how long, but for now, it needs to be done.

I did have a piece of birthday cake this weekend and that’s ok. Baby steps. However, I had an apple as a snack after school, instead of a pre-packaged caramel rice cake snack. When I went to Starbucks, I checked, and yes, my usual drink did indeed contain sugar! The barista suggested something similar, but without sugar, and it tasted delicious. I’m going to do my best, but ultimately, the goal is not necessarily to cut out sugar forever, just to reduce my intake to a healthy level.

I know some fruit contains a lot of natural sugar, but eating an orange is so much better than eating an entire bag of mini eggs (not that I do that kind of thing), so I’m not going to worry about that right now.

Does anyone have any tips? I’m open to anything that will keep me from reaching for the oreos…

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11 thoughts on “Sugar, sugar

  1. Annie says:

    well, oreos have gluten, so you should have cut those out by now 😉 haha.

    I think you should redefine your challenge to say ‘I will not eat PROCESSED sugar. (or even added sugar)’ because many foods have sugars like you said. Fruit and grains for example. They either have sugar or turn into sugar or whatever.

    and since I cut gluten out — I’ve needed so little sugar it’s mind boggling for me (because of how gluten was affecting ME specifically which was in a major way.) I go days without ANY SUGAR ADDED TO ANYTHING. On average I think I eat about 1tsp of natural sugars (honey/maple syrup) a day – but maybe 5 days out of the week? not even sure. seriously. for me, who has always had a HUGE sweet tooth — this is mind boggling.

    and I think there should always be room for birthday cake. honestly 🙂

    enjoy your challenge! and what a fabulous visual you’ve given the students!

    oh — what was your sugar free drink at starbucks? just curious! I only have coffee now when I go out for coffee — on the rare occasion — but mostly because it’s cheaper 🙂 I say that but I used to always get a chai — so maybe it’s also because I don’t need/crave the sugar anymore. who knows!

    ps the anal part of me would love to see every month be nutrition month in schools…!

    • The Bliss Project says:

      Haha! I used oreos as an example of all those things I shouldn’t eat, I never actually buy them!

      And yes, no processed sugar is what I meant. Or, no added sugar. Eventually, I’ll add honey or maple syrup, but for now, I’m trying not to eat any. It’s hard. I made applesauce muffins and they’re ok, but not like real muffins.

      My Starbucks drink is usually a chai latte, but the girl told me there’s sugar in the chai concentrate, but she could make it with a tea bag. It was just as good!

      And, although every month is not nutrition month at school, I’m happy to report that a few parents have said that their kids are now pulling stuff off the shelves to read nutritional labels! One mom told me her son gave his dad a lecture on how bad pepsi is for him! Yay, they get it!

      • Annie says:

        oh my goodness — that just reminded me of sophie putting pop’s cigarettes in the garbage when we were little!!! haha.

  2. The Edmonton Tourist says:

    There is a part of your brain that registers pleasure, sugar triggers it. When I cut out aspartame, I didn’t crave sugar like I once did. Aspartame fools your brain into thinking you are ingesting sugar and that triggers a desire for more. So be careful on what you substitute. I don’t crave it anymore and have now stopped white food too. It’s hard but I feel so much better! The first month is the hardest, but then the occasional sugary treat is just that- and it doesn’t end up tasting as good as you remember 🙂

    • The Bliss Project says:

      I’ve cut out aspertame as well. It would be so much easier to cut out sugar if I was eating artificial sweetener, but it’s no good for you either, so right now I’m getting my sweet fix from fruit (as I write this, I’m eating raspberries like they were skittles). It is very hard, but I’m determined to stick it out!

  3. hellbentforpleather says:

    Honestly, I had to completely give it up. It’s amazing how addictive it is for me. If I have one vegan donut or cupcake, I am off and running. It alters my mood, makes me cranky and depressed and in a state of constant craving. And it seems to make me stiffer, which is no bueno for the yoga. I ate more fruit to compensate at first. I’ve also found that supplementing L-Glutamine helps me a lot, as does eating a LOT of dark leafy greens. In Ayurveda, bitter tastes are supposed to help. More protein seems to help, too. Whatever you decide to do, I wish you the best of luck with the sugar!

    • The Bliss Project says:

      It’s interesting that you mentioned how sugar makes your body stiff for yoga. My yoga teacher once asked me “Don’t you feel it in your joints when you eat sugar? I definitely feel it.” Honestly, I didn’t feel it, because it was a part of my regular diet. I’m looking forward to seeing the effects of no-sugar on my practice.

      Thanks for the tips, I need all the help I can get if I want to make this work!

  4. Queen Gen says:

    I had to cut back on sugar when I learned that I am insulin resistant, about a year ago. For me it wasn’t too difficult to do because I’m actually not that big a fan of sweets anyway. But my first tip is to find substitute snacks and make sure you actually have them available – if you’re already peckish and haven’t got something on hand, you’re more likely to grab something you know you shouldn’t have.

    Also try to find substitutes with similar qualities to what you like. I personally love the crunch of a lot of savoury treats, like potato chips, or crackers. So now I often cut up carrot sticks for a snack, because they’re still crunchy, so they satisfy that need.

    As for chocolate, go dark. The darker the chocolate, the less sugar it has, and the more delicious it is. 🙂

    I found it wasn’t actually very long at all before I got used to the reduced sugar, and I started to dislike sweet things even more. I used to enjoy Coca Cola as a mixer for my Scotch, but I can’t handle it anymore – WAY too much sugar. And as a side effect of my having to be on a diet, Brad ended up reducing his sugar intake too, and he’s said the same thing – he doesn’t even want sugar anymore.

    • The Bliss Project says:

      I have a huge sweet tooth, so it’s hard to stay away from desserts. It’s the hardest after dinner, because that’s when I usually had a piece of cake or some cookies. I’ve been eating a lot more fruit, and I’ve realized that I enjoy oranges and raspberries almost as much as a cookie! Almost.

      I haven’t been feeling tired lately, so I guess my body is responding to this. It’s encouraging. I’m hopeful I’ll get to the point where I don’t crave sweets anymore!

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