Starting from Friday the 5th May to Friday the 12th of May

So, I have a German housemate who is very competitive, and we decided to challenge each other to a 1 week go without something that you require kind of competition.

For me, it’s sugar.  For her, it’s coffee.
Anyone that knows me, knows that I love sugar, I only drink coffee and tea because I can have milk and sugar with it.
The strong tastes of these comes through as my preferred light taste instead.
I will throughout a day have 4 coffees (these light kind of cappuccinos or latte macchiato kind of coffees throughout a day, just because its something to do.  I will sit down and just munch on chocolate, or chips to relax… why not?  It tastes amazing..
or add a shitload of ice-cream to a banana thick shake….which of course has sugar in it.

So for me, reducing sugar will obviously lead to a healthier body, considering just how much I consume.
And cutting out sugar entirely, even if it’s just for 1 week is going to be pretty damn difficult.

For Mareen (the German housemate) she drinks around 5 full coffees a day.
I actually didn’t think that was that bad… but apparently other people do.
I think it’s just the amount of caffeine that you consume gets to you, and you become dependent on it.

I actually found out, from being in the Netherlands that I was addicted to caffeine.  In Beijing I wasn’t because I just didn’t drink coffee, or only very occasionally.  But I would drink those milky coffee things since arriving in the Netherlands and they had a shitload of caffeine in them.  Plus of course all the red bull, and energy drink things.

If you don’t have your caffeine fix (not necessarily coffee, just caffeine) then you start getting headaches.
Apparently this is because when you have caffeine, it thins the blood a little, and when your body gets used to that, and then you suddenly don’t have it, the blood ‘expands’ and puts pressure on your veins that is carry the blood, especially around your head and neck, and thus you get headaches.

An easy ‘cure’ for that is just to drink some coffee.

I realised that’s the reason I had so many headaches as a kid.
I would drink the de-caf coffee… which is not zero-caffeine, its just decreased caffeine.
And whenever I didn’t have enough, I would get a headache…
That actually explains a lot.

So anyway.  You can see the benefit of cutting down on caffeine/ coffee as well as sugar.  It’s not good to be dependent on anything other than the essentials.

We started Friday…. And as I’m writing this, it is only Sunday.. so this is the 3rd day.  I got to say, this is way more difficult that I thought it’d be.

Mareen by the way, decided that as I wouldn’t be drinking coffee either (because I only drink it with sugar), then she wouldn’t consume any sugar either.

It was decided that fruits would be acceptable, because even though it has sugar, it is natural sugar, rather than processed, and it is feasible that you would naturally eat some sort of fruit to get vitamins and what-not.

However we are not allowed to drink fruit juices.
1. Obviously the non-‘just squeezed’ stuff is off limits because that often includes added sugar,
but 2. The just squeezed stuff is like 7 oranges to make small sized bottle of orange juice, and it’s unreasonable that you’d eat 7 oranges in 1 day.

Oh and what are the stakes other than a personal sense of failure and loss of pride that another person beat you?

2 things,  1.  The loser (person who breaks 1st) will have to buy the other a full case of beer.   (yeah ironically not something healthy)

& 2. The loser will have to shave off Bob’s beard (another house mate) when he’s sleeping.    [Bob, obviously doesn’t know about this 2nd point…which makes it all the more devious]

Pretty high-stakes… but neither of us intend to lose, so we took it.

I guess if no one fails, we can just roll this onto future challenges.

Since starting Friday, what have I found?

I’ve found out just how much sugar is in everything.  Sugar is added to sauces to give it that nice taste, it’s in most cereal, when selecting lunch at work, I’m looking at all the packages to see if there’s sugar in it or not.  If it’s got any kind of sauce.. because of the added sugar, I have to give it a pass.

For lunch on Friday at work, I ate a hamburger without any of the sauces… and even though it was filling… it definitely wasn’t as nice as it should have been.

All the obvious stuff is out, chocolate, coffee… every time I walk past the coffee machine, I have to just go for a water instead.
Tea tastes terrible in my opinion without any sugar, to the point that I’m not going to drink that again.

I am NOT looking forward to Monday, simply because it creates boredom.  Normally I’ll happily sip on a coffee as I’m reading the emails.   Now what have I got?  Water.   Awesome.

Shopping takes a lot longer, and most of the things in the shop, most of the good things are not available to you anymore.

-I found out that peanut butter doesn’t have any sugar. (I will be trying to eat this for breakfast)

-Philadelphia cheese also doesn’t have any sugar.  (I can just graze on this with crackers in the afternoon)

– Most bags of nuts, which you would think the ingredients just = nuts.   Actually have added sugars.

Mareen from her 1st day without coffee already had a headache.  She’s combatting this by drinking lots of water and trying to sleep it off.

She’s aware that she can just take some headache medicine and get over it, but she wants to do it naturally.

She has found out that indeed de-caf coffee does have caffeine in it, just less. And I think she’s feeling the cravings pretty badly.

For myself-  I am constantly hungry.  It’s really strange.  I get the feeling that sugar must have taken up the space of 2 meals or something.

I would normally just snack throughout the day, but now because I know that most snacks have sugar… I can’t do that.

Contrary to what you might assume, I feel more alert, more aware.  I would have thought without the sugar I would be more sleepy.  Which on Saturday I did take a long nap, however I sometimes would do that anyway.  But I still have quite a bit of energy.  I even played squash Friday evening.

I wonder though, if its just that I’ve consumed so much sugar in my life that I have reserves of sugar to burn.

I know that my stomach has been losing shape… I used to have a 6-pack and it slowly turned into a 5 pack (4 pack with 1 across the bottom)  and then a very less defined 4 pack.

I’m positive that my body has just reached a point where it doesn’t require anywhere near that amount of sugar, especially with the amount / lack of exercise I’m doing.  So when I add more sugar it just maintains that dodgy stomach shape.

So I’m hoping to see an improvement there.

I managed to find all the ingredients for, and cook a Thai green chicken curry last night that has zero sugar in it.  And whilst being pretty spicy, was also pretty good.

I know this is do-able but… it’s a huge wake up call for me.

I will update this article again, perhaps when we finish the challenge, and tell you all the results.. but so far I feel it’s going well.

I hope to take more of these healthy challenges with the house mates in the future.  I’m not just doing it because it’s a challenge, it has to be sensible as well.   So let’s not get ridiculous and go  ‘let’s all become vegan for a week’   That just sounds terrible.

Will update soon.

Update-  I read a great article

About a woman giving up sugar for 30 days.  It’s a very interesting read.