In 2019 June I decided to quit sugar & sweets. So, for 1 year I didn't eat any cake, ice-cream, chocolate, candies, biscuits, waffles ..... and I avoided to eat anything that contained sugar or any type of sweetener (no stevia, agave syrup, maple syrup, coconut sugar) also I didn't eat any dried fruit. The sweetest thing that I ate in this year was raw fruit like bananas, apples, oranges, mangoes, strawberries, grapes and so on.
So, after one year I decided to do a 10 Day Challenge to eat again sugar & sweets to see how I feel and how they will affect my body, mind, emotions and generally my life.
This is what happened:
Date 12 June 2020
1. A raw vegan cheesecake, with chocolate and pistachio
2. Banana bread with maple syrup and macadamia nuts
I had the first sweet after one year, a raw cheesecake. It felt very familiar and I felt the intensity of the ingredients on the taste buds. I felt the cacao, the nuts, mint, the sweetener, it was amazing, it was an experience. When I had my sugar addiction I even didn’t leave some space in be
tween the bites to feel enjoy the flavours. Plus, I believe that my taste buds weren’t sensitive at all, actually they were tired, so I couldn’t feel too much the flavours in the foods or sweets. But not eating sweets & sugar for one year, my taste buds had time to rest and rejuvenate.
After I had about half of the vegan cheesecake, for about 5 minutes I thought to have the other half, and after that, I forgot about it. No cravings.
The banana bread was excellent, homemade freshly baked. I had a ‘’fair’’ slice and because of the oats, it felt a bit heavy in the stomach.
BUT NO CRAVINGS, not at all. Not what I expected.
13 June 2020
1. A vegan salted caramel ice-cream
2. Vegan slice (raw cake) with chocolate
The ice-cream was strong, the crust was very sweet, it was intense and pleasurable, after 3 bites I felt that I wanted more. It triggered a tiny craving. After I finished it, I kept thinking about having more, even if I knew that I don’t need more and I felt that to have even another bite would have been too much.
Going back to work on the computer it was a bit harder to focus because of the craving, which lasted for around 2 hours, but it was very subtle. The process of making decisions was a bit harder, I needed to make a decision but it was hard to focus and think about it as I was thinking about having something sweet.
The vegan slice (raw cake) was nice and sweet, pleasurable and intense. I took some bites rushing ‘’unconsciously’’, I didn’t pay too much attention, I was too excited to have another bite.
So far I noticed that they affect me in a very subtle way, especially in terms of focus, before I ate these sweets my mind was not focusing at all on buying, eating and after eating the sweets thinking about having more of it 😊.
14 June 2020
1. A 88 grams chocolate 66% cocoa
2. Raw vegan chocolate cheesecake
Eating the chocolate, I realised that I don’t need any sweets. There is some pleasure in having sweet things, but it is not a need. After I finished the chocolate (in around 30 minutes) I started to feel ups and downs in my emotions, which wasn’t pleasurable. It wasn’t bad, but I didn’t feel like this since I used to eat sweets a year ago.
The vegan cheesecake was too intense, too much cacao, and my body communicated that it is not something that I need, somehow, I felt that the body rejected it. I couldn’t eat it all in one go, and I remembered how before I quit sweets I used to eat 2 cakes like that in 5-10 minutes + a box of ice cream as a dessert to my dessert! 😊 Now after a few bites, my body rejected it.
After this experience, I wanted to stop the 10 days challenge, but I want to see what other things I would discover.
I had some spikes in hunger, I felt sharply hungry and after a few moments disappeared, like a kind of craving, very weird, and I don’t remember having this kind of feeling for a long time.
To summarize, my body doesn’t need sweets to feel good, I feel good without them, I don’t depend on them to feel good. The sweets or the refined sugars/sweeteners won’t make my life better, and having sweets & sugar consistently can affect the emotions & mind most of the time in a negative way.
There was a time when I used to say ‘’I eat chocolate or something sweet because they make me feel good’’, but it was just a temporary pleasure that covered something, now I can feel good without sweets. I feel better consistently because I don’t get any spikes in my emotions and my daily energy.
During this year without sugar and sweets the body and mind learned to function and feel good without sweets. Eating sweets after one year I felt that I was pouring more water into a cup that was already full.
15 June 2020
1. Vegan Brownie
2. Vegan Lamington
3. Vegan Carrot Cupcake
In the morning I felt weird, it was a hard morning. The raw cheesecake from the previous day was too intense. I had a ‘’sugar hangover’’.
In the morning I had a brownie which was ok, but I didn’t feel like eating it. But still, there was some pleasure in eating it.
In the afternoon around 2-3 pm I felt some cravings for a Vegan Slice Caramel & Chocolate, and I didn’t find any, but I bought a vegan Lamington, which was amazing. Because it wasn’t too sweet. I didn’t eat it all, I left a quarter of it, and put it in the fridge. Something that gave me even more confidence that I have good discipline. When I had the sugar addiction, I don’t remember ever leaving something for the next day unless I was extremely full.
Around 7 pm I went to the shop and I saw a Vegan Carrot Cupcake, which looked amazing. The desire to have it was so big, that I bought one. At the same time, the fear of FOMO was big as well, I had a thought that if I don’t have it now, I will miss an opportunity. The cupcake was very small & tasty.
The craving was real and I went with it, I noticed how the addiction or the need for sweets was building up.
To summarize, addictions COST MONEY and TIME. And time is one of the most valuable things in life because the time that has passed, we cannot get back. Money is important as well because it takes time, energy, work, effort and so on to make the money.
But more than that, addiction affects the mind, body and spirit, and not in a positive way.
It is too expensive to afford any addiction because we pay it with extremely valuable things.
16 June 2020
1. Vegan Snickers
2. Oats Vegan slice
3. Vegan Ice-cream
Since I started this 10 day challenge I noticed that I sleep more in the morning. I think that the sweets pump the energy and it brings it down and that tires the body. I also feel a bit of sweetness in my throat area in the morning.
Cravings? Not much, in the morning I was excited to try the Vegan Snickers because it looked fantastic. But when I ate it, I felt that I don’t have time for this kind of thing, I have more important things to spend my time one then eating something sweet which is not important for me anymore. There is a bit of conflict in my mind.
After that, I had some cravings every now and then and I was very hungry when I went shopping. I bought an oats vegan slice and on the way home I ate half of it and the other half at home.
Later in the day I had an ice cream which was nice because it wasn’t too sweet.
It is hard to believe that I am that person who says ‘’I like something because it wasn’t too sweet or I couldn’t eat more because it was too sweet’’. I remember when I had the sugar addiction hearing people saying this ‘’ I can’t eat so much chocolate or other sweets, because they are too sweet’’ and back then it was hard for me to understand them, that how can someone say NO to sweets?
For me when I saw someone taking two bites of a chocolate and put it back in a cupboard, I used to be amazed and not understand them, how could they not have it all, plus buy more.
But now I was in that position, I said that was too sweet for me.
Another thing that I noticed that cravings are tricky and try to negotiate with me to make me eat more sweets. But here it comes the decision-making process and keeping my word towards myself, a YES is a YES and a NO is a NO.
If I would stop this challenge today, I would say that the biggest lesson on how to quit something is TO KEEP YOUR WORD TOWARDS YOURSELF. If you say YES then DO the YES if you say NO than DO the NO.
17 June 2020
1. Homemade Baklava
2. ½ Pecan Cheesecake
3. Magnum Almond Ice cream on a stick
4. 1x Vego Chocolate bar 150 gr
This morning I woke up as usual at 5:00 am after a few days of waking up around 7am. When I meditated it wasn’t very easy to focus.
In the morning I bought a Baklava with sugar and glucose and it was too sweet. Maybe this was for the first time when I had so much white sugar & glucose in about 4 years. After I had the Baklava, I felt a bit pumped in my energy from the sugar and in the afternoon my energy went down.
Every now and then I felt some cravings, but not too strong. I am in control, and I know for sure that eating many sweets is not for me anymore, I prefer to put my focus on better things.
If I am right, it was the first time when I had a Vego Chocolate and it was amazing to my taste buds, but again it is a temporary pleasure, which I don’t need.
To summarize, a sugar/sweets addiction or even as a habit it is costly, time, money, mental energy to buy it, the sugar intake, the spikes in energy ups and downs, it takes focus & energy plus there are many other disadvantages.
18 June 2020
1. Homemade Baklava around 6-7 pieces
2. 1 scoop of ice cream
3. 1 vegan Snickers bar
4. 2 bites of pistachio halva
The baklava was so good, it was homemade. It was sweetened with Agave syrup so it wasn’t too sweet, like the one I bought yesterday from the shop.
I noticed that these days I am more aware than before, I am not sure of the reason but I think that might be because I pay lots of attention to my mind and body to see how they react to sweets.
Anyway, the reaction of the mind and body is not what I expected, because I don’t have such intense cravings as I had when I had the sugar addiction. I feel that my body and my mind are cleaner and stronger, the craving cannot take over and control me, I can say NO at any time.
In a way, I am excited to finish this challenge because it takes time & focus to do it, but at the same time, I am aware that I am learning a lot about myself.
It is amazing that 1-2 years ago I COULDN’T SAY NO to a bar of chocolate, and now IT IS HARD TO SAY YES to it.
Since I quit sugar and sweets my values have changed, I believe that because I have a stronger purpose in life than just eating sweets, that purpose is pulling me to do better things and not focus on “where is my chocolate’’ as I used to do.
I feel that going through this experience, that when I finish I will gain more confidence in myself because of the things I learned and I saw that I can control myself.
19 June 2020
wrote on 20th June 09:12am
1. Strawberry jam on toast
2. Homemade Baklava
3. Vego Chocolate 150 gr
4. A few bites of halva
Eating sweet things is not something that supports focus. It is playing with the emotions, gives energy and takes it back, there are peaks and valleys in the energy. And this is noticeable in the emotional states. I felt that it took a lot of energy and I was not feeling too inspired to do what I want to do.
I know that once I get out of this challenge I will see even clearer what happened and get more lessons out of it.
The awareness of the mind was slightly lowered like I am not so aware of my thoughts. Sometimes the cravings are taking space in my mind, and it is not productive.
I know that many people will disagree with this, but sugar can be very dangerous, and many people are not even aware of how eating sugar is affecting them because sometimes it can be very subtle.
Everything is useful until is not useful anymore.
We don’t need sugar to feel good, because it is such a temporary thing, and it can negatively affect the mind, body and emotions.
I believe that to feel good consistently, we need to depend less on external/material things. I feel good doing this 10 day experiment, but it has too sharp peaks and valleys in my emotional state.
Before this, I felt consistently good, without being interrupted by the sugar withdrawals.
I know that the number of sweets I ate these days it is not the average intake for a person unless they love too much the sweet stuff.
20 June 2020
1. Strawberry jam on toast
2. A few bites of halva
3. 1 X stick ice cream
4. A few Apricot & Coconut balls
5. Romanian homemade sweet bread with walnuts & cacao (cozonac)
I woke up later than usual after 7 am. In the morning I didn’t have much motivation to do work, my mind felt numbed, without much inspiration.
My brain was in a party mode, scrolling on Facebook and watching videos. I remember doing this before I quit sugar, after I got the sugar kick, I was not keen to be productive. I got more dopamine from scrolling all day on Facebook or watching YouTube videos.
Of course, this comes from fair quantities of sweets, and it is not hard to fall into that trap. In just a few days I got into some habits that I use to have when I had the sugar addiction.
This can lead to overeating, which I was aware of, and I said that I must STOP if I caught myself wanting to do that.
Eating more sweets than ‘’normal’’ (I don’t know what’s normal) it is already overeating, but when I said above “and I said stop that I must stop if I caught myself wanting to do that” I referred to overeating normal foods, which is a NO-NO for me.
Anyway, these kinds of habits don’t have a place in my life anymore. They were useful until they weren’t useful anymore.
21 June 2020
1. Romanian homemade sweet bread with walnuts & cacao (cozonac)
2. 1 X stick ice-cream
3. 1 X sandwich ice-cream
4. 1 x chocolate mousse
Last day of the challenge, it was all good. I did the work I wanted, today I was productive despite the sugar eating. I remember that when I had the sugar addiction and I started eating sugar in the day, my productivity went down, something that happened yesterday as well.
It was hard to start doing something, I had no motivation. But I just needed to start to do something and the interest grew in working and I felt that was stronger than eating sweets.
So, I think that for most of the people who have a sugar addiction, and many different addictions, finding a purpose can be healing. When people find something they love to do the focus is so powerful that they can get immersed into doing and everything else becomes secondary.
I am very happy that I had the power, to do what I wanted to do despite not wanting to do it, or not being in a mood of doing it. No excuses.
Another great thing that I learned these days was to make better decisions. When I said that I will have just this quantity of sweets I kept my word, which wasn’t easy.
So, I didn’t eat anything else until I told myself that ‘’now I can have something else’’, I gave myself a break in between eating sweets, not eating mindlessly. I say this because 1-2 years ago, once I had a bite of something sweet, I couldn’t stop for hours and maybe days from eating sweets.
Buying bags of sweets and smashing them, I used to lose myself in eating sweets and waking up after hours or days, thinking of how much money I spent and how many sweets I have eaten.
But now, I ate mindfully and even when the mindless eating wanted to take over, I was able to take a breath, stop myself and say no if I needed to say NO.
Making decisions firmly is a great take away from this experience, a NO is a NO, without any negotiation.
TOP 5 lessons from 10 days EATING sweets challenge:
1. I don’t need sweets to feel good, as I thought some years ago.
2. It is too expensive in terms of time, money, mental & emotional energy to have a sugar addiction or a strong habit of eating sweets
3. Once you feel good with yourself, you rely less on the external things to feel good. Relying on the external can be dangerous because we have to keep consuming that substance to feel good and that is not consistent and it can be damaging. Good feelings can come from the internal world, which is lasting and fulfilling.
I don’t say that we don’t need any external thing to feel good, I am saying that we can feel good with less external things, by learning how to fulfil ourselves. And many times, fulfilment comes when we stop relying on the external.
4. Fear + Scarcity = Craving - a definition for craving
There are many other reasons for having a craving, but these two are very common in my experience.
These 10 days something I felt that fear that I can’t have it later, or I won’t have it ever again, instant gratification kicked in and the vision about the future shortened.
Scarcity is that there is not enough and I must have it now, and as much as possible.
But none of them is true, because they are only in our minds. Have you ever been in a position that you wanted to eat fast something because you thought it won’t be enough for you? And the person next to you didn’t even think to eat or had only a bit of that food. It is because of our thinking.
We forgot that there is no scarcity because you can go to the shop and if you have the money you can buy 1000 chocolates. So, fear and scarcity are only in the mind, not in the shops.
5. A craving tends to rush me: I want it now, NOW! And I put lots of focus to get to the shop and smash a sweet, but this is not only with sugar, but this is also with all the addictions. We don’t think anymore, we rush, we react.
Every human is different and everyone will have a different relationship with sweets and sugar. But these days we see more and more people’s relationship with sweets and sugar is an addiction.
Take a moment and ask yourself: how is my relationship with sugar, is it making my life better or it’s making it worse?
When it comes to eating and addictions, the difference in between a craving or feeling hungry is that a craving most of the time is for something specific, intense & repetitive: I want that bar of chocolate NOW!
And hunger is looking to nourish, and of course not to feel hungry anymore.
So, anytime you crave for something sweet ask yourself before buying it or going to open the cupboard in the kitchen:
1. Why do I want to eat this? Is this craving or am I hungry?
2. Do I really need this?
3. If I keep eating like this for the next 5 -10 years how my life will be?
Thank you for reading!